AG: ZBA violated Open Meeting Law over 3200 Washington St. project

The state Attorney General’s (AG) Office has found that the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) intentionally violated the Open Meeting Law when it approved variances for the 3200 Washington St. project during a Sept. meeting, according to an AG’s Office letter sent to the City.

The AG’s Office imposed a $1,000 fine and ordered that the ZBA members attend an Open Meeting Law training.

Lisa Timberlake, spokesperson for the City’s Inspectional Services Department, which oversees the ZBA, said in an email, “The board is going to adopt the recommendations, pay the fines, and schedule training for the board members.”

The AG’s Office letter states that the ZBA did not post a notice for the meeting with the City Clerk or post a notice to the City Hall bulletin board, as required by the Open Meeting Law. The letter further states that the ZBA was warned by members of an affordable-housing group that it would be violating the Open Meeting Law if it voted on the 3200 Washington St. project, but proceeded to do so nonetheless.

“We find that [the ZBA] discussed a topic during its September 15, 2015 meeting that was not included on the meeting notice. We find that this violation was intentional,” the letter states.

Developers Dan Mangiacotti and Paul Iantosca have plans to build a 76-unit development project at 3200 Washington St. with 18 affordable units. That number of affordable-housing units exceeds the City affordable-housing policy. The development will have three building sections, retail space and a parking garage. The proposal proved controversial during the permitting review process, drawing several protests.

The developers raised the number of affordable housing units to 18 after winning a bidding contest through the City’s Department for Neighborhood Development for 52 Montebello Road. That site will now be part of the 3200 Washington St. project.

The property at 52 Montebello Road has been vacant for several years and drawn complaints for illicit parties and squatters. It has been on JP’s Problem Properties Committee list since mid-2012, when the City’s Inspectional Services Department boarded it up. The 6-unit apartment building was taken over by the City, unit by unit, through foreclosures.

 

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