Southborough Wicked Local reports that on Monday night, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted down the permit to build a 40B project at Park Central.
The denial was based on a letter from MassHousing granting Southborough a one-year of “safe harbor”, during which the town can reject 40B projects.
Just two weeks ago, the ZBA told residents to expect months of frequent public hearings on the 40B project proposed at Park Central. Traffic hearings were scheduled to begin April 23rd.
At that meeting a MassHousing consultant for the town advised residents that the permit would be very difficult to deny. He cautioned that a denial would likely be overturned in court. And ZBA members recommended residents reach out to Capital Group Properties’ President, William DePietri to sit down and discuss their concerns.
This week, DePietri is accusing the board and the town of deceiving him while orchestrating MassHousing’s ruling used to deny the permit.
Depietri also claims that the denial is invalid based on the timing of his application. He vows to appeal and to withdraw a planned $540,000 in mitigation funds to the town:
Depietri said he filed his application with the ZBA on Feb. 12, the day before the ZBA filed its approval of the extra 28 apartments at Madison Place [on which MassHousing’s ruling was based] with the Town Clerk.
He said that, under regulations, his project should be grandfathered, and believes he will prevail on appeal.
He also believes the town used “sleight of hand” to deny him in the first place.
According to state rules, the town had to notify Depietri of its intent to invoke “safe harbor” within 15 days of when the public hearing on his project opened.
The public hearing opened on March 26. Under ZBA regulations, it should have been held within 30 days of the filing – by March 14 – but Depietri said he assented to a request from the ZBA to postpone the hearing until a regularly scheduled meeting on March 26.
Depietri said he consented at the time in good faith, but now believes the town was stalling for time to get its safe harbor letter.
Town representatives are claiming there was no deception, just lack of internal communication. ZBA Chair Leo Bartolini told SWL the delay was in order to provide proper notice for a public hearing, and that he was unaware the town was seeking a safe harbor ruling. Town Planner, Jennifer Burney who sought the MassHousing ruling tells SWL that she wasn’t involved in the meeting delay.
For more details, click here to read the SWL story.