UPDATED: Lawsuit Dropped in Mt. Wayte Apartment Project; Next Step Framingham Planning Board

FRAMINGHAM – An October lawsuit filed in Massachusetts Land Court against the Framingham Zoning Board of Appeals, Baystone Development LLC of Weston and Framingham Franklin LLC in Shrewsbury by Stuart Pologe has been dropped.

The suit was dismissed in land court today, November 21, and was filed with the Framingham Town Clerk’s office today, also.

Framingham Selectmen held a closed door meeting about the  law suit last Tuesday. And last night the Framingham Zoning Board of Appeals had a closed door meeting on the law suit, as well.

In September, the Framingham  Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a proposal by Baystone Development for 210 apartments and a restaurant, yet to be named, for the empty plaza at the corner of Mt. Wayte Avenue and Franklin Street.

The law suit was filed on Monday, October 2 by Stuart Pologe, who owns property at 384 Franklin Street. Pologe in his lawsuit states his property “will suffer specific harm from the development.”

With the lawsuit dismissed, the proposed project will now moved forward.

The next step is the Framingham Planning Board.

Framingham Source contacted Roy MacDowell Jr. and Pologe for comment.

“The terms of the settlement are confidential. I wish success to Mr. MacDowell and the best for my Framingham neighbors,” said Pologe to Source.

Nothing has changed with the project from its approval by the Framingham ZBA in September to today.

MacDowell Jr. with Baystone Development first discussed his purchase and redevelopment plans with residents in the neighborhood earlier this spring.

Later, he came before the Framingham Planning Board in late June for a preliminary discussion of his plans to purchase the 6.7 acre site from owner Sam Adams and redevelop it into rental apartments.

MacDowell has said publicly he is under a deadline to finish the deal with Adams for the property, and has already placed a $250,000 deposit. The Zoning Board was required by state law to make a decision within 90 days of the variance filing.

In September, the Framingham Zoning Board approved a variance for residential use in an area currently zoned for light manufacturing. The ZBA also granted a variance for height.

According to the lawsuit, “the project would result in impacts to the neighborhood’s safety and infrastructure, parking, historic character, and environmental and open space resources. The proposed project would also increase noise, increase traffic, increase air pollution, and block natural light to the Plaintiffs property. The Plaintiffs use and enjoyment of his property would be permanently and adversely impacted by the proposed project. The Plaintiff will be particularly and uniquely impacted by the construction of the proposed project.”

Pologe’s lawyer David L. Sterrett of Boston wrote in the suit that the “ZBA’s decision is inconsistent with law, exceeds the authority of the Board, and is otherwise arbitrary, whimsical and capricious.”

The lawsuit states that on “June 30, 2017, the Building Official for the Town of Framingham denied Baystone and Framingham Franklin’s Application for residential structures four (4) stories and fifty-nine feet in height and for a restaurant under Section IV.E.2, Section II.B.1.C, Section II.B.S.J and Section II.B. of the Zoning By-Law.”

On July 14, Baystone and Framingham Franklin filed an Application for a hearing before the Framingham Zoning Board of Appeals with the Town Clerk for the purpose of obtaining variances  for multifamily residential, more than one principal use on a lot, and height.

The ZBA in September approved the variance to allow residential use in the M-1 Zone, to allow for the height of residential structures over three stories and forty feet and to allow more than one use of the property, residential and restaurant.

Originally, MacDowell proposed 240 apartments only. He later added the restaurant to the redevelopment project, on the request of the neighborhood; and then lowered the number of apartment to 210. The ZBA approved the 210 apartments and the restaurant.

The 210 rental apartments would range from studio apartments at 600 square feet to two-floor 3-bedroom townhouses with 1,650 square feet of living space. Price range would be from $1,650 to $3,900, said MacDowell to the Planning Board back in June.

Originally, the proposal included 4-story apartments, but the complex will have one less 4-story building, as approved by the Zoning Board (ZBA) in Sepetmber.

The suit also challenges the property’s condition.

“With respect to soil conditions, shape, or topography of the land or structures, no information is offered by Baystone or Framingham Franklin or cited by the Zoning Board of Appeals with respect to circumstances relating to soil conditions, lot shape or topography,” wrote Sterrett in his filing with the court.

Voting for the variances, submitted by the developer, was Zoning chair Phil Ottaviani and members Steve Meltzer and Joe Norton.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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