A business seen as bringing parking and traffic issues to a residential neighborhood will cause concern among neighbors, even when that business is well respected within the city.
During last Monday night’s meeting, the City Council opened a public hearing on a proposal by Vertuccio & Smith Home for Funerals – currently on Broadway – to construct a new funeral home at 9 Mountain Ave. In addition, the owners of the funeral home have also purchased the adjacent property at 100 School St. to build a parking lot for the proposed funeral home.
Attorney Chris Cridler, representing the funeral home, said the business is being asked to leave its current location on Broadway and has been looking for a new location for the business. “We’ve been able to find the property at 9 Mountain Ave.,” said Cridler. “We intend to raze the current structure at 9 Mountain Ave. – it’s a nonconforming residential structure – and build a beautiful new funeral home for Vertuccio & Smith Funeral Home. Mr. Vertuccio and Mr. Smith have already purchased the 100 School St. property so that we are able to provide adequate parking.” Cridler said the property will be converted to a parking lot with 28 spaces.
While the proposal will move to the council’s Zoning Subcommittee for further detailed discussion before a vote on approval, a number of residents voiced their concerns about the proposal on Monday night. Almost everyone who spoke said they respected the longtime Revere business, but said moving the funeral home to a residential district that already faces traffic and parking issues from the nearby high school would cause hardships in the neighborhood.
“I’ve lived here all my life, and I finally built my dream home 31 years ago diagonally across from Revere High School,” said School Street resident Marie Shand. “I put up with all kinds of heavily impacted traffic; I don’t feel that I want to put up with any more traffic. The high school – not only does it have the comings and goings of the students and parents – we have voting there; we have COVID shots; we have COVID testing; we have community events; we have sporting events.” Shand said the funeral home would only further impact the traffic situation in the small, residential neighborhood. She also noted that there would be excessive additional noise from the cars coming and going from the proposed parking lot.
Several other School Street and nearby residents echoed Shand’s sentiments that the traffic impact would be too great on the neighborhood. “Mr. Vertuccio, if he has his funerals, you have an abundance of cars, maybe 40 or 50 cars, and everything extra,” said Stephen Jones of Grand Avenue. “If you have the overflow, and they end up parking on Grand Avenue and Emmet Terrace, emergency apparatus could not make that turn from Emmet Terrace to School Street. My family would be against it. My family knows Mr. Vertuccio very well, my mother knows Mr. Vertuccio very well, but I think there would be a better place than 9 Mountain Avenue.”
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe, who chairs the Zoning Subcommittee, said the council will work to make sure there is the best solution possible for both sides. The subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Nov. 22 at 5 p.m.
“The Vertuccio family has been a very well-respected family throughout the city for many years, and the last thing I want to do is hurt a small family business,” said Keefe. “But, I also have to represent the residents of the ward. I would just hope that in zoning and in further developments and conversations that we can have a little bit more of a community conversation. Our job is to try to help everyone come together.
“Now, at the end of the day, the decisions are going to be made, and not everyone is going to be happy, but our job is to try and make the best decision for the whole.”