In early March, the Board of Selectmen announced the impending resolution of disputes with the Gulbankian family over zoning.
This week, the Town of Southborough and the Gulbankian family explained the solution in a joint statement. The terms of agreement focus on resolving neighbor complaints about the bus lot.
Mediated terms included a fine, which has been paid, of $12,610 (just under 10% of the fine issued last summer.)
The family also agreed to stop parking buses on the lot by July 1, 2016.
Until that date, the impact of the buses on neighbors will be diminished by:
- keeping them in the western portion of the site
- arranging parking to minimize early morning back up and warning sounds;
- limiting buses to one-way entering and exiting;
- continuing a program of source control to prevent dripping or release of fluids from stored buses; and
- filling gaps in the landscaped hedgerow on the site (soon after Memorial Day).
This deal is contingent on Annual Town Meeting voters approving the article to rezone the property from Residential-A to Industrial. The zoning change is supported by the town as it is:
in keeping with the long-standing use of the Gulbankian property, and consistent with the other Industrial District parcels that surround the Gulbankian property.
Under the rezoning, the family will be allowed to establish a legal permit for the machine shop.
In previous statements, the Zoning Board of Appeals and town counsel had stated that a permit issued to the machine shop could be easily overturned in court by neighbor appeal. Avoiding that appeal is why they attached restrictions that would resolve neighborhood complaints.
The restrictions included paving the lot and installing a drainage system. After getting an estimate for $200,000 to complete that work, the family appealed the decision. Since then, the town and family have been in continued legal disputes culminating in a court imposed fine of $300 per day.
Last summer, the town issued a letter enforcing the accumulated fine of $126,600. Subsequently, the family filed another court appeal. That was scheduled to to be heard in January.
According to The Metrowest Daily News, Selectman John Rooney reached out to the family to request mediation. The family agreed, and mediation took place in February.
The Town Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 16, though likely to continue to Thursday, April 17.
The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the zoning article this Monday, April 7, 7:00 pm in the Town House Hearing Room.
To read the full joint statement from the town and the Gulbankians, click here.