Hearing date set for motion to dismiss 64 Allandale St. lawsuit

June 9, 2017
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A hearing date has been set for the City’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit by a group of abutters over the 64 Allandale St. project, according to a court document.

The hearing is slated to take place Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Suffolk County Superior Court before Judge Rosemary Connolly, according to a court document.

The lawsuit is one of two court actions against the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Wonder Group, LLC over the controversial project and the variances that were granted for it. Springhouse Senior Living Community has filed the other lawsuit, which requests that the court declare that the ZBA went beyond its authority in granting the variances and that the zoning relief annulled. Springhouse Senior Living Community abuts the proposed project site.

Springhouse Senior Living Community and the group of abutters have also filed a motion to combine the two lawsuits, according to a court document. A hearing for that motion had not been scheduled at the Gazette deadline.

The City in its motion to dismiss says that the group of abutters, which includes Carl Tremblay, Jacqueline Lees, Stephen P. Bell, Mary Reed, and Elizabeth Bowen Donovan, lack standing as “aggrieved persons” and that their “claims of spot zoning are not cognizable against the issuance of variances,” because such claims can only be brought against zoning amendments or bylaws.

“The Plaintiff Tremblay, Reed, and Donovan, are neither immediate abutters to the Property, nor abutters of abutters to the Property; therefore, said Plaintiffs are not entitled to a presumption of standing. Notwithstanding the presumption, the Plaintiffs, including Lees and Bell, fail to allege any specific harms that are not general to the entire neighborhood,” the motion to dismiss states.

The lawyer for the group of abutters filed a memorandum against the motion to dismiss and requested a hearing. The memo states that the members of the group have standing because the City sent them notices of the ZBA proceedings, as well as other reasons.

The memo also cites a previous case in stating that spot zoning is “an unlawful singling out of land in a zoning district without relation to the furtherance of general objectives of zoning.”

“In this case, the 51 Variances granted by the ZBA not only do not act in furtherance of the general objectives of zoning, but…actively violated the stated zoning objectives,” states the memo.

Jacqueline Nunez of Wonder Group, LLC plans to build an 18-unit development at 64 Allandale St., which is a reduction of two units from the original proposal. The project consists of renovating a farmhouse and building several townhouses on a road snaking down towards Allandale Woods. The proposal would have one affordable-housing unit. The other units would likely cost in the million-dollar range.

The project would abut Allandale Woods, which is an “urban wild” of about 100 acres of City- and private-owned land in Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. The woods is roughly formed by Allandale and Centre streets, the VFW Parkway and Hackensack Road.

The site at 64 Allandale St. is on the border of West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. It is part of the West Roxbury Neighborhood District, as a matter of zoning.

The vast majority of attendees at a meeting last year on the revised proposal spoke out against the project, expressing concerns over density and the affect on Allandale Woods, among other issues. The ZBA granted the project more than 50 variances late last year, a decision Mayor Martin Walsh backed.

 

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