Park Central appeal filed by abutters

by beth on September 14, 2016

Post image for Park Central appeal filed by abutters

Above: At Monday night’s forum, residents spoke about dangers on Flagg Road, including parked landscaping trucks that impact site lines. Many of that night’s commenters are now listed as plaintiffs on an appeal against approval of a development project for 319 condos and townhouses off of Flagg Road. (image cropped from Google maps)

Yesterday, an appeal was filed against the Zoning Board of Appeals’ approval of the Park Central 40B. Owners of 20 nearby properties are asking the court to annul the August 24th decision.

There has been strong neighborhood opposition to the combined development project for 319 units off of Flagg Road*. Plaintiffs in the suit are claiming the board acted improperly. Much of the claim against the 40B decision is based on the linked Use Variance for townhouses granted in May 2015.

Normally, a Use Variance lapses one year after granted, unless the applicant files for and receives an extension. Residents pointed out to the ZBA this summer that more than a year had passed, and no application for extension had been filed. But the ZBA’s Use Variance decision defined the approval as taking effect upon approval of the 40B, after appeals have expired.

The appeal claims that the Use Variance “expired by operation of law on May 27, 2016” and that the original decision’s effective date:

clearly represents an attempt to improperly circumvent the statutory one year time period

Earlier this summer, Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano answered questions for the Planning Board on the linked projects. At their request, he also answered some questions from residents in the audience.

Prior to the meeting, many believed that the Planning Board’s hands were being tied by 40B regulations. In that meeting, Cipriano explained that most of the limitations to the Planning Board’s authority over the linked developments were based on the Use Variance decision. He also explained to neighbors that the appeal period for that passed 20 days after it was filed the previous summer.

Some residents were angered by their purported inability to appeal the Use Variance. They said that they didn’t have enough information at that time to know if they should appeal. They had been waiting on the information that came out during the linked 40B application. 

Cipriano was asked about the expiration of the Use Variance. He said that he had provided his opinion on that to Town officials, and couldn’t answer that in public.  (Earlier, he warned he couldn’t answer questions that would give an advantage against the Town. He seemed to indicate that included either the applicant before the Planning Board or residents opposing a Town decision.)

Yesterday’s appeal points to more than the Use Variance effective date as improper. It also claims:

  • The Use Variance allowing construction of 158 townhouses* next to the 180 40B project, and integrating the projects, greatly increased impacts, including project egress and traffic related concerns, “without any supposed corresponding public benefit”
  • The 40B decision “is arbitrary and capricious and fails to protect the health and safety of the prospective occupants of the proposed housing, abutters to the project and other residents”
  • The ZBA failed to comply with procedural requirements and “acted in a grossly negligent and careless fashion”
  • The ZBA “has exceeded its authority”

During public hearings on the 40B, the ZBA frequently referred to some details as based on agreement worked out with the neighbors. That agreement was written into the Use Variance conditions. It included the ability for the project to access Flagg Road in both directions.

The agreement was between the developer and owners of six abutting properties. It was a deal that some neighbors negotiated after developer Bill Depietri threatened to use a right of way through the Bantry Road cul-de-sac as a main point of access for the development.

The appeal filed yesterday lists as plaintiffs owners of 14 other abutting properties and five individual residents from Flagg Road, Deerfoot Road, Clifford Road, and Lover’s Lane.

The ZBA’s David Eagle, overseeing the final hearing and decision, told the public an appeal was likely. Justifying that night’s decision, he said it was time to act and “let the chips fall where they fall.” Eagle moved out of town the next morning, and resigned from the board. He is one of three defendents listed on the appeal, along with deciding members former Chair Leo Bartolini and Paul Drepanos.

Southborough Wicked Local reports that Depietri plans to fight the appeal.

* The 40B is for 180 condos. The linked Use Variance project allows and additional 158 townhouses on abutting land. In filing updated plans, Depietri has revised that to 139 townhouses.

Updated (9/14/16 4:56): I originally wrote that owners of five properties negotiated the agreement included in the Use Variance decision. The decision lists easements on five properties, but refers to six property owners.

1 mark dassoni September 14, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Knew Depietri would fight no surprise, it is now to appeal to land court,plus start a roll call petition to remove ZBA member under conduct and town codes violation, citizen voters need to be heard louder and stronger to feel listened to do a voter revolt on this latst issues Monday night, mark dassoni.

2 Townie September 14, 2016 at 4:50 PM

For someone who resides in Ashland, you have a lot of input into Southborough issues.

3 mark dassoni September 14, 2016 at 7:06 PM

yes and proud to help others in another town, i for others never for myself, mark dassoni.

4 Jon September 14, 2016 at 8:34 PM

And it’s appreciated! We will be working together to get out and vote to make Southboro safe from improper dealings at town hall!

5 Donna McDaniel September 30, 2016 at 8:19 PM

Just some nitpicking, perhaps, but I’d rather see something less vague than “improper dealings at town hall.”
“Town hall” is a way of referring to our government but I would challenge applying the generalization regarding “improper dealings.” Some people love to get all worked up about blaming “town hall” –might as well just blame it more generally on Southborough or…if you are assigning names and blame… Not fair to bring everyone and every “dealing” into this…there are many many very proper dealings that benefit us all done in that building and in the name of the town.

6 Allan Bezanson September 15, 2016 at 8:14 AM

Right on Mark! Keep up your good work. It’s a pleasure to hear from a well-informed person with a real name.

7 mark dassoni September 15, 2016 at 9:57 AM

thank you,it all for citizens,voters must be treated fairly at all times,mark dassoni

8 Josh September 14, 2016 at 4:25 PM

“…some details as based on agreement worked out with the neighbors.” What agreement and which neighbors? Is that not a public facing document?

9 beth September 14, 2016 at 4:51 PM

The agreement conditions are listed in the Use Variance decision. You can read that here – pages 8-15.

10 Jo September 14, 2016 at 8:36 PM

Watch 5/27/15 on southboro access media. Unbelievably crooked govt at its best!!!

11 Publius September 14, 2016 at 5:10 PM

This fight is over. This project is moving forward. Bets to pursue conditions and concessions by the developer in the future.

12 mark dassoni September 14, 2016 at 7:12 PM

to publius, afraid to use real name, not moving forward without until the breaking ground happens and it hasn”t yet, so fight is still on, conditions and concessions not completely legalized yet, by end of October fight will be by citizens and legal counseling ,mark dassoni.

13 Jo September 14, 2016 at 8:39 PM

We shall see. The Planning Board appealed today too. I guess it’s not a nimby appeal but more of an over reaching and poorly run crooked process by town counsel and ZBA. I think the state will see the links in ethics issues as well.

14 mark dassoni September 15, 2016 at 9:52 AM

residents standby with planning board and stand firmly together,only voices will stopped this when forces have issues documented and appeals wins for all to go use government for the people,mark dassoni.

15 Bill September 14, 2016 at 9:20 PM

Can someone explain why cant the town make Flagg road one way, towards route 9? This way the park central residents would have to exit via route 9.

16 beth September 15, 2016 at 8:06 AM

It would only solve the morning issue. An argument for it is morning could be considered the most treacherous time, since there are kids walking to school during morning rush hour.

But there is a legitimate argument that all returning traffic would all be forced to use Deerfoot (from one direction or the other) to get back to Flagg. Deerfoot Road residents would say that you are pushing the problem onto them instead of solving it.

17 mark dassoni September 15, 2016 at 9:55 AM

plus the whole neighborhood block will be back 3 quarters of the day with extra traffic car,trucks,bikes,snow removal would be a nightmare for dpw crews,year round mess at fault from bad zba decisions for developer.mark dassoni

18 Abutter 2 September 15, 2016 at 12:55 PM

Deerfoot, Parkerville/Clifford would take a big hit for sure.

19 mark dassoni September 15, 2016 at 5:52 PM

yes, bigger hit on Clifford narrow plus rte.9 is right there, Parkerville is open at both ends, Deerfoot is wider more safer hit be there but not as much.mark dassoni.

20 ktp75 September 15, 2016 at 9:50 AM

Agreed, that would not be a viable solution to the problem. Just move it around.

21 Tristen September 26, 2016 at 9:48 AM

I don’t think people are anti development, they just want smart development. There is a big difference. Town boards should focus on smart development not haphazard building that negatively affects the neighborhood.

22 mark dassoni September 26, 2016 at 10:56 AM

Tristen, smart development is way to go, that why the variance code is a must to past in Southborough, Mark Dassoni.

23 Donna McDaniel September 30, 2016 at 8:31 PM

Re Flagg access onto Rte. 9: From the start, at least what I have heard all along, is that the reason the state won’t allow access onto Rte. 9 from Flagg is the accumulation of openings in and out of the highway–so picture this. Starting with two buildings, one Wendy’s, on the north side, comes Flagg, then the entrance to Cumberland Farms with traffic departing onto yet another road…the one going up to the motel. Finally, it’s not very far from that road to the entrance to Rte. 495. That makes six ins or ins/outs in a very short stretch. Not a lot of space for coming and going.
(In my wildest moments I wonder how about a nice tunnel or bridge? Please no replies to tell me all the reasons they won’t work… but wouldn’t it be nice to have an easy and, I know, expensive solution?)

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