Another Park Central Appeal: Planning Board v. Zoning Board of Appeals (Updated)

by beth on September 14, 2016

Earlier today, I wrote about an appeal filed against the Park Central project. That complaint was lodged by neighboring residents. This afternoon, the Planning Board officially jumped into the mix. They filed an appeal of their own.

The appeal states that the Planning Board challenges the ZBA’s authority to grant specific waivers related to the 40A project and to give a “blanket grant of any waivers the applicant may deem necessary or convenient in the future.”

The appeal also cites Southborough code as proving that the board didn’t meet quorum requirements on the decision:

Four members may hold a hearing and act on the matter before the Board, provided that the interested parties assent thereto before the hearing opens.

The Use Variance decision in May 2015 was voted on by five board members. But the decision was linked to and effective only after approval of the 40B project. The 40B decision was made by three ZBA members. Over time, when other members resigned or conflicted out, Chair Leo Bartolini chose not to replace them on the ongoing hearings.*

The Planning Board held a pre-posted closed Executive Session this week to discuss a possible suit. The agenda was posted prior to last Friday’s meeting, when selectmen voted 2-1 against allowing the board to retain special counsel to advise them on their rights to file suit. 

On Friday, Chair Don Morris told selectmen that the period for appeal would close this week. On Monday night, Board of Selectman Chair Brian Shea said he was willing to reconsider the vote at an October 4th meeting. He claimed that the deadline only applied to the 40B project, which Planning said it couldn’t appeal.

But the 40B decision included elements related to the earlier 40A decision. And the Planning Board is required to make a decision on the development’s Site Plan Review by September 23rd, unless the applicant requests an extension. (Which he already made clear he didn’t intend to do.)

The board may have decided to file their appeal without aid from special counsel. The complaint filed by the board is signed by all four members and no representing attorney is listed.

Click here to open a pdf of the document.

*I don’t have a full record of who dropped off the ZBA’s Park Central hearings and when, since the earliest minutes posted are from November 2015. By then, only the three board members were sitting on the decision. I do know that in the summer of 2014, former member Thomas Bhistikul recused himself due to a conflict. And in spring 2015, Lisa Capello – who I believe was also sitting on the decision – resigned when she moved out of town.

Updated (9/15/16 7:55): I had accidentally written the Planning Board Site Plan Review deadline as August 23. The application deadline is September 23rd. (Their next meeting on it is scheduled for 9/19 for those of you that were confused by the date. But the application actually gives them until the 23rd to make a decision.)

1 YY September 14, 2016 at 6:50 PM

Aug. 23rd? Shouldn’t that be Sept. 19th? I just double-checked posted agenda of Planning Board’s scheduled meeting for that date…

2 beth September 15, 2016 at 7:52 AM

Whoops – I meant September 23rd. The meeting is scheduled for 9/19. Planning could potentially continue hearings and make a decision after 9/19. But without an extension, The application deadline is 9/23.

3 mark dassoni September 15, 2016 at 9:42 AM

thank you beth for catching yourself on that,mark dassoni.

4 mark dassoni September 14, 2016 at 7:19 PM

You go planning board about time the dog bites back and takes home a treat your board truly deserves, you making Southborough voters proud that they voted your board in, mark dassoni

5 Todd September 15, 2016 at 6:35 AM

I’m glad the neighbors and planning board are taking action. We should all be supportive.

6 mark dassoni September 15, 2016 at 9:47 AM

I am,even though I live in Ashland I am supporting residents and planning board to fight this for the right issues theirs not developers,mark dassoni

7 Publius September 15, 2016 at 1:41 PM

Delaying the inevitable is just going to cost the town a bundle of money. The developer is not going to back down. This is a good project.

8 Rob September 16, 2016 at 6:34 AM

You clearly haven’t been involved in any of this. The actions of the ZBA and further more BOS have been inexcusable if not down right illegal. This needs to be looked into by outside counsel. Why does town counsel not represent the planning board? Just keeps getting worse.

9 Creed B. September 16, 2016 at 9:22 AM

Hey Rob please explain what exactly is “illegal” here? Thanks.

10 mark dassoni September 16, 2016 at 11:27 AM

Creed: to find out illegal need to go to Selectmen website and and look up under documents and click on meeting minutes, Rob that goes for you too.mark dassoni.

11 mark dassoni September 16, 2016 at 10:34 AM

Rob: remember selectmen were voted ZBA appointed by them, illegal to a extent ,inexcusable yes as outsiders like me and you see it, difference is I go get information to understand better to be knowledgeable, i been to many capital development ZBA, planning, conservation, open space, on site inspections, followed deliberations in Southborough long enough to know ZBA has over step their own board ways of moving on to get developer a step up so citizens will be put in background, citizens and now planning board with legal help is fighting back, so to say I not been involve ,involvement to help others to get right information is what I do, mark dassoni.

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