Legal viewpoints on the Town Center proposal

In a collection of posts this weekend, I will provide several pieces of material (click on the highlighted links to read them) that have been shared in the Facebook group, and likely will be discussed at the FINAL Public Hearing on Monday, March 5th (8pm @ the library).

To start, a post from Lynn Stahlberg highlights that the Agenda includes a note about planning for an anticipated lawsuit, and also provides the 4th letter from McGregor & Legere (as funded by the community to look at whether the applicants are breaking any of the zoning by-laws with their proposed development). The ‘SoTC’ group also provided a final letter to the Planning Board, summarizing the position of that group, and the groundswell of support they received from community members.

All materials are in the public record, and most are available on the Town website, but we’ve included a collection of them on our page, for easier reference.

Major turning point in the Town Center saga happened some time yesterday afternoon after the applicants submitted 4 letters of response to the PB: you may have missed it if you didn’t look at the very last bullet on the PB Agenda doc. It reads:

“Executive Session: Pursuant to MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21(a)3, to discuss strategy with respect to the threat of imminent litigation concerning the 700, 750 & 800 Mass. Ave. Site Plan Approval and Stone Wall Alteration application.”

McGregor & Legere sent a fourth and final letter to the PB on Wednesday, summarizing all their legal arguments for a denial of this application and restating what they believe to be the key obstacle: emergency access via Priest Lane. (See applicants’ response)

So, the PB’s decision may come down to this: is Priest Lane access subject to a Special Permit for Alternate Access (as our attorneys argue) or only a permit for Stone Wall Alteration (as the applicants’ attorney argue). McGregor & Legere have found “multiple, independent, free-standing legal grounds, each of which is sufficient to justify an outright disapproval,” but Priest Lane looks like the winner because the PB has full discretion, if there is any ambiguity, to interpret the town’s zoning bylaws! ”


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