MWDN: Gulbankians lawyer claims Southborough’s ticketing process illegal

by Beth Melo on December 6, 2013

[Note: I know that many readers are very interested in this legal battle. But, aside from a delayed hearing, I didn’t see much new in this news. So, I was waiting to include in a “roundup”.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough news this week to warrant a roundup! So by popular (or at least small, passionate) demand, here’s the story on its own.]

As reported in August, the Gulbankian family is appealing the $126,000 fine levied against the property owners. The hearing was originally scheduled for October, but has been pushed to January.

The appeal was originally based on the premise that the additional permitting the town claimed necessary isn’t required. Recently, family’s attorney has amended their appeal with an additional claim.

According to The Metrowest Daily news, attorney Sandy Matathia argues the ticket violates state law.

In an amended Land Court complaint filed Oct. 29, Matathia further argues that the town’s issuance of the ticket itself was based on illegal practice.

Matathia said the zoning enforcement officer issued the ticket based on a town bylaw that allows business to be fined for violating a permit or condition of a permit.

But state law does not allow towns to issue tickets for such a reason, Matathia said, making the bylaw and its application illegal.

If the town wanted to pursue enforcement, it should have filed a lawsuit, Matathia said. He called the fine an “obscene” attempt to “club the family into submission.”

Town Counsil, Aldo Cipriano, denies the claim:

Cipriano said Wednesday that the zoning enforcement officer’s decision to issue fines was based off the superior court injunction.

“It continues to be the town’s position that this was properly adjudicated in the superior court,” he said.

For the full MWDN story, click here.

For past coverage of this ongoing legal battle, click here.

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