The “jury-waived trial” against Southborough’s Zoning Board of Appeals and the Park Central developer resumed this morning. The case is an appeal of a decision to allow a 180 unit condominium 40B development be built off of Flagg Road. (The project is also linked with a Townhouse development approved for the site.)
Proceedings today (and future scheduled days) will continue to use the same zoom link I initially shared.
At the end of February 18th’s proceedings, attorneys discussed scheduling with the Worcester Superior Court judge. Plaintiffs’ attorneys planned to question more of their clients today and a traffic engineer (Kenneth Cram). The trial resumed today, February 25th at 9:00 am. A break is now scheduled for 10:00 am due to the court’s schedule conflict.
Plaintiffs’ testimony will continue along with one other witness on March 9th.
Attorneys agreed that Town witnesses (officials and former officials) won’t be called on until the week of March 22nd.
So far, a lot of the trial has focused on whether or not the Zoning Board of Appeals took seriously potential dangers of increasing the number of drivers using Flagg Road. Defendants have argued that a commissioned traffic study indicated there wasn’t an issue. That report projected that most drivers would turn right out of the development towards Route 9.
Many vocal area residents have argued that drivers coming from the Park Central project would find accessing Route 9 from Flagg Road problematic. They would ultimately turn left to find alternate routes. One of those potential routes would be down Lover’s Lane. Some argued that another study, including looking at Lover’s Lane, was warranted.
On the 18th, two plaintiffs testified: Benjamin Keyes of L’Abri Fellowship and Linda Perkins of Tara Road.
Keyes asserted that he is in favor of Affordable Housing projects and his objection to the development wasn’t a Not in My Backyard reaction. He noted that he wouldn’t be able to afford to live in town if he wasn’t provided housing by his employer. He clarified that he finds the project problematic due to it’s size and access points. He opined that it would add a dangerous level of traffic to back roads. He assured that he would have objected to the project even if it was across town from him.
Perkins testified about her concerns over traffic. She answered questions about her experiences navigating area roads with other drivers given visibility issues.
Keyes’ testimony also gave a hint where future questions of one former Town official may be directed.
He took photos at the construction site for “Maynard Crossing” (begun in 2018). The photos indicated the project was being developed by the same developer, Capital Group Properties. Multiple Eagle Leasing trailers were shown on site.
The ZBA decision was completed late the night prior to member David Eagle signing papers to sell his Southborough residence in 2016. Eagle was one of the three remaining ZBA members who ruled on the application. Eagle is a Vice President of Eagle Leasing. (In a 2013 Metrowest Daily News article, he was described as a co-owner of the family owned business.)
In opening arguments and reinforced through questioning, defendants’ attorneys have taken the position that the matter was heard by the ZBA for a longer period of time than usual and no further review or information was necessary before making a decision.
Updated (2/25/21 9:30 am): Added detail to clarify that the Maynard Crossing development was after the Park Central decision was made.