Town government news: BOS meeting tonight and news story roundup

Southborough’s town boards and department heads made headlines in The Metrowest Daily News this morning. Both stories relate to the town’s handling of developments proposed by Capital Group Properties.

Since I’m covering town news, I’ll also throw in a heads up that a Board of Selectmen meeting is scheduled for tonight. (It wasn’t on the schedule when I wrote up the week’s list over the weekend.)

The meeting will take place at 6:30 pm in the Hearing Room at the Town House. Agenda highlights are discussion of Special Town Meeting, appointment of Open Space Review Committee members, and review of FY15 budget directive. On the consent agenda, Chief Mauro hopes to apply for a grant to replace portable radios. The meeting will end with a closed Executive Session.

Now to the articles: One story features residents angered by what they view as a town cover up. The other highlights the developer’s frustration over the town’s approval process.

Inaction by Southborough leads to 40B controversy – from MWDN:
A proposed affordable housing project on Rte. 9 that neighbors have decried as unsafe might have been avoided if the town properly filed paperwork with the state back in January.

“I think it’s horrible that this could have happened,” Bantry Road resident Wendy DeMichaelis said of an apparent mistake by the former town planner that she said the town hid from neighbors for months. “Totally egregious.”. . .

Because [Madison Place] apartments were approved, Southborough could have been qualified for “safe harbor” from the state Department of Housing and Community Development – a designation that would have enabled it to reject any 40B until June 2014.

DHCD spokesman Matthew Sheaff confirmed the state reached out to former Town Planner Eric Denoncourt “numerous times” and told him he needed to send the agency a letter signed by the town’s “chief executive officer” by Jan. 10.

The state didn’t receive the letter until Jan. 30.

“The request for certification is denied,” DHCD Associate Director Leveret Wing wrote in a Feb. 19 letter to the town, noting that the units had been eligible for certification since June 28, 2012. (read more)

Developer unhappy with delayed vote in Southborough – from MWDN:
Much to the chagrin of the developer pitching the project, the Planning Board Monday delayed voting on a contested proposed senior housing project on Oregon Road.

Chairman Don Morris, noting that two Oregon Road residents last week filed an appeal of a Zoning Board of Appeals approval of the project, said he’d like to hear from the town’s attorney before a vote.

“I believe that when a lawsuit is involved that we should be advised by counsel if that has anything to do with our moving ahead, and if so, how we should be guided,” Morris said. “I want to make sure that we protect the developer and we protect the neighbors by proceeding cautiously.” . . .

In addition to the legal questions, Morris said he wants to weigh neighbor Meme Luttrell’s request that Depietri not cut down some mature trees near her property.

Capital Group says the trees must come down in order to build the project, but Luttrell argues that taking down the trees goes against town bylaw. (read more)

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