The Revere Planning Board held a public hearing as part of its regular meeting on Tuesday March 1st.
Present for the hearing and meeting were President Louis Ciarlone and Members Anthony DelVecchio, John DeSimone, Sal Amico and new Member Megan Simmons-Herrling, as well as City Planner Frank Stringi.
The public hearing aspect of the hearing was a re-examination by the board of directors of a case that had been brought by Enterprise Rent a Car last September in which Enterprise was seeking to change zoning ordinances to allow an “office of car/truck rental and storage”. the business must be operated in a Highway Business District (HB) by special permit.
The types of businesses currently permitted to operate as of right in an HB district include retail, restaurants, and offices.
Rental car businesses are currently permitted to operate in Revere (with special permit) only within a Technology Business District (TED).
Enterprise specifically wants to open a car rental office at 85 Squire Rd., which is the site of a Verizon Wireless store.
Ultimately, it would be up to the city council whether or not to change the zoning ordinance and then grant special permits in accordance with the new ordinance. The role of the town planning council is strictly advisory to the municipal council.
Attorney Nicholas J. Zozula of the Boston law firm McDemott, Quilty and Miller presented the proposal to the board. Zozula had already appeared before the board in the fall and got a favorable recommendation from the board, but with suggestions from board members that it might be a good idea to limit the scope of the amendment.
The case went to the city council, which unanimously rejected the amendment, meaning that Enterprise had to come back to the planning board with its newly revised amendment to the ordinance.
Zozula told council that the new amendment took into account all of the concerns expressed by members of the Planning Board in the fall: the minimum lot size for such a venture has been increased to 25,000 square feet; there must be a limit of 50 vehicles on the site; and the maximum weight of a rental vehicle cannot exceed 8,000 pounds, which Zozula says is about the size of a Ford F-150 pickup.
“There will be no heavy trucks of any kind on site,” said Zozula, who also noted that there would only be cosmetic changes to the exterior of Verizon’s current building.
Additionally, Zozula said vehicles will not be repaired at the site, there will be no stacking of vehicles, and Enterprise will install pads and screens around the facility.
Former councilman Anthony Zambuto, who voted against the zoning amendment when he served on council in the fall, was the sole opponent of the proposal.
“We had a different vision for Squire Rd. other than what ends up being a place where cars are parked there,” Zambuto said. “Once you offer that to Enterprise, you open up other plots to turn into parking lots. That’s not the vision I or the rest of the board had for Squire Rd.”
Zozula responded by listing some of the various businesses that currently operate on Squire Rd. and asked, “How does a rental car business that won’t have more than 50 cars on the lot at any one time change the impact of Squire Rd’s vision.”
Zozula also pointed out that since most cars are usually rented, there will normally only be a handful of vehicles parked on the premises at any given time.
Doug Baleri, who is believed to be the owner of the Enterprise operation, informed the board “there will be approximately 300 registered cars in Revere which will generate approximately $400,000 in excise taxes for the city.”
Zambuto briefly addressed the issue, saying he was “skeptical” of the excise tax figure because when he rented vehicles in the past from rental companies he usually got cars with license plates. out of state registration.
Following the close of the public hearing, counsel briefly discussed the matter.
“I have respect for former councilor Zambuto,” Ciarlone said, “but we considered him in September and recommended him favorably. We only recommend to the city council. If they want to reject our recommendation, it is their responsibility. I favored this in September and I am doing it now. It will be up to the town hall to do it.”
The board then voted unanimously (Amico abstained because it does business with Enterprise at Logan Airport) in favor of the revised HB District zoning ordinance amendment, which will now be submitted to the city council.
In its other business of the evening, the board voted for its office for the coming year: Ciarlone was re-elected president, Amico was elected vice-president and Juan Pablo Jaramillo (who was not present) was elected. Secretary.