Planning Board seeking advice on appealing Park Central decision

The Planning Board is again asking for permission to hire special counsel. It’s the second time Chair Don Morris has brought the official request to selectmen over the Park Central project. This time around, the request has a ticking clock.

Morris claimed that special counsel is necessary because Town Counsel said he can’t advise Planning on the matter.

The appeal period for the decision related to the 40A project expires September 15th*. Planning needs time to reach out to counsel, get advice, and potentially act on it. He said that a “slow yes” would be better than a “quick no”, but a “slow yes” could also prevent them from acting.

It’s the acting part that caused concern for selectmen. If special counsel advises Planning they have grounds for appeal, one Town board would be looking to sue another.

Morris said he knew that was a “slippery slope”. But his board believes standing by and ignoring potentially inappropriate or overreaching decisions by the ZBA would also be a slippery slope. Planning members believe that as elected officials, they have a duty to look into the matter.

And the Planning chair claimed that the board hopes counsel would tell them there aren’t grounds for appeal.

Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano wasn’t present at last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting. Selectmen were wary of acting without hearing his opinon. 

The last time the Planning made the request, Cipriano said it was his job to represent the Town and all the boards. And the attorney claimed there wasn’t a conflict preventing him from advising Planning.

Morris admitted that Cipriano is against his hiring special counsel. But since Morris purportedly can’t advise them on a potential appeal, he believes selectmen should approve the request.

Counsel would be funded through the Planning Board’s budget. The board has the dollars to spend, but Town bylaws require committees to get selectmen’s approval for consulting Town Counsel or hiring outside counsel.

Selectman Dan Kolenda suggested that granting permission didn’t need to be done by voting in a meeting. He recommended selectmen hear from Town Counsel and then decide.

Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf opted out of the discussion due to appearance of conflict. Selectman John Rooney had conflicted himself out of past Park Central matters and the last decision on hiring counsel for Planning. This time he did take part in the discussion.

*Morris said that their housing project consultant advised that they can’t sue on the 40B project. But, because she isn’t an attorney, she couldn’t advise them on the 40A project.

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Karen Cvitkovich
7 years ago

As a homeowner on Deerfoot and a resident of Sourhboro for more then 18 years, the Park Central project greatly concerns me! What can I do to help this appeal push through?

Chris Mc
7 years ago

I agree with Mr. Morris.Get the proper legal representation. If they are going to put in sidewalks on Flagg Rd., then make it a one way and take the space out of the roadway width. This project has failed for safety reasons since its inception.

mark dassoni
7 years ago

agree, but to make flagg rd. one way with sidewalk close off rte.9 entrance,put a cement barrier there,on rte. 9 post sign saying no off ramp to flagg rd.

Southborough Town Clerk
7 years ago


I’m writing to clarify that the deadline to file an appeal in connection with the recent ZBA Park Central Comprehensive Permit Decision is 3:00 pm on September 14, 2016. I’m posting this information because I have read reports that the deadline is September 15 which is incorrect.

Since the ZBA Decision was filed with the Southborough Town Clerk’s office at 3:00 pm on August 25, 2016, the twenty day appeal notification period will end at 3 pm on September 14, 2016. M.G.L. c. 40A, § 17. defines the appeal process to include “Notice of the action with a copy of the complaint shall be given to such city or town clerk so as to be received within such twenty days.”

Jim Hegarty
Southborough Town Clerk
(508) 485-0710 x 3005

7 years ago
Reply to  Allan Bezanson

I’m sorry Allan, but these pictures taken in present day intending to represent the future is the worst argument.

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