ZBA drafting letter on new rule for town board communications

by Beth Melo on July 31, 2015

In June, the Planning Board was publicly disgruntled with the Zoning Board of Appeal’s handling of a letter from the Town Planner. Town officials have followed up with the ZBA Chair. They have asked him to revise his policy on accepting documents from town boards.

The June incident revolved around a Use Variance permit at the controversial Park Central site.

Town Planner Jennifer Burney submitted a letter on behalf of the Planning Board hours prior to a hearing the application. ZBA Chair Leo Bartolini opted not to read it into the hearing record. He cited a 10 day rule the board had for accepting communications.

(Part of the Planning Board’s dismay was the ZBA’s acceptance of another document purportedly submitted after Burney’s.)

The ZBA closed the Park Central Use Variance hearing that night and called a vote without discussing the other board’s requests regarding a project that will eventually come before them.

This past Wednesday night, Bartolini told fellow board members that the incident prompted Selectmen and the Town Administrator to ask for a policy revision.

TA Mark Purple and Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf spoke with Bartolini, purportedly with backing by Board of Selectmen Chair John Rooney. They asked for consideration for other town boards to allow documents to be submitted closer to the hearing date. 

The ZBA discussed what deadline might be reasonable for other boards and settled on three business days. Since they meet on Wednesdays, they agreed that meant documents must be submitted by Friday. (Presumably by noon, as that is the time Town Hall closes on Fridays.)

They also added the condition that last minute communications could be submitted 24 hours before the meeting. Those would be read into the record and it would then be up to the ZBA’s discretion as to how to proceed from there.

Bartolini plans to work with the board’s assistant on drafting a letter to other boards for the ZBA to approve.

1 Jo August 2, 2015 at 12:38 PM

Bartolini doesn’t care he is going to leave once he gets the most favorable outcome for himself and the park central project before walking away. Let’s not kid ourselves here the size of the buildings/project would never be approved if it was another developer. Simple backyard politics ongoing in southboro for years. Thanks for playing and destroying the community on the way out. Don’t let the door hit you and hope the admin wakes up when hiring the next chair.

2 beth August 2, 2015 at 4:01 PM

The “admin” doesn’t “hire” the chair. The Board of Selectmen appoint ZBA members from the pool of applicants who volunteer for the post. (That pool is usually small and can even be just one candidate per opening.)

The ZBA members then nominate and vote on the Chair for the year. In June, the board again voted to continue Bartolini’s reign for the next year.

3 Alan August 3, 2015 at 12:32 PM

Is there a specific issue that we know about that Mr Bartolini stands to gain some type of money’s from this project? If so he should have removed himself.

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