No decision on JPNC lawsuit

April 11, 2013
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A Suffolk County Superior Court judge made no decision on a motion to dismiss the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s (JPNC) controversial lawsuit at a hearing yesterday afternoon, according to an attorney involved in the case. The attorney declined to speak on the record about what happened in the hearing.

No further hearings have been scheduled yet in the case, according to the attorney, who the Gazette agreed not to name. The judge is now essentially considering whether to dismiss the case or allow it to proceed to trial.

JPNC Chair Benjamin Day, on behalf of the council, is suing developer Boston Residential Group and the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The JPNC alleges that necessary zoning approvals for a controversial apartment building planned at the former Home for Little Wanderers complex at 161 S. Huntington Ave. were improperly granted.

The JPNC claims it can sue because it is a government body, which the defendants deny. The JPNC and other neighborhood councils around the city were created in the 1980s by Mayor Raymond Flynn to advise City government.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on a number of claims, including that the JPNC is not a government body and that Day has no basis for suing. The current issue is “standing,” or the right to sue, and only if standing is established would a judge move forward with deciding the actual zoning approval dispute.

In the meantime, the 161 S. Huntington project is on hold and likely can proceed as planned only if the defendants win in court.