JPNC lawsuit is dismissed

June 7, 2013
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The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s (JPNC) controversial lawsuit against the 161 S. Huntington Ave. apartment project was dismissed last month.

In dismissing the lawsuit, Superior Court Justice Linda Giles demolished the JPNC controversial claim to be a government body.

The JPNC is now considering whether to appeal, according to JPNC member and attorney Jeffrey Wiesner.

JPNC Chair Benjamin Day, on behalf of the council, late last year sued developer Boston Residential Group and the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The JPNC alleged that necessary zoning approvals for the apartment project at the former Home for Little Wanderers complex were improperly granted.

The JPNC claimed it could sue because it is a government body, which the defendants denied. That claim drew a lot of attention both in JP and in Charlestown, where some residents are also suing a neighborhood council.

Giles ruled that the JPNC only has the “right to review” projects and not the “duty to review” them, one of several reasons it is not a government body. Among the evidence she cited in her May 16 opinion was a recent Gazette interview with former Mayor Raymond Flynn, who created the neighborhood council system.

The issue in the dismissal was “standing,” or the right to sue, and only if standing were established would the judge have decided the actual zoning approval dispute.

The 161 S. Huntington project has been on hold due to the lawsuit. If the JPNC files an appeal, that likely would put the project on hold again.

None of the parties were notified of the dismissial until May 30 due to an apparent court error, according to Wiesner.