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ZBA Instructs Lawyers to Start Drafting Decision on 40B

The ZBA has not made a decision on The Parc at Medfield but has instructed its legal consultant to draft a letter of approval with conditions that will serve only as a place to start the decision-making process.

The Board of Appeals on Zoning has instructed its legal consultant to draft an approval letter with conditions for the 40B project proposed off West Street.

The proposed "The Parc at Medfield" would include four buildings of one, two and three-bedroom rental units on 9.22 acres of land near the former Potpourri building between West Street and Route 27, according to the Executive Summary of Gatehouse Group LLC's application filed with the state.

The ZBA closed the public hearing on the project on Monday night.

At its meeting on Thursday, ZBA Chairman Robert Sylvia stressed that the board has not made any decision on the project and its instruction to its lawyers to draft an approval with conditions is only to get a legal decision in front of the board from which to work toward a decision. 

"What we're asking for is a document to start our deliberations and discussions," said ZBA member Russell Hallisey.  

"I can't tell you right now how I'm going to vote on this thing," Sylvia said. "I want extensive findings of fact and we need that because that's how you support whatever the decision you ultimately reach." 

The board discussed whether the draft document should start as an approval or a denial and, while Sylvia said it did not matter either way and counsel could approach it as a denial if he'd prefer, Town Counsel Mark Cerel said it would be best to approach it as an approval.

"I think, in this case, with what you're dealing with and the prospects at the HAC [Housing Authority Court], it would be well-advised to work on a positive approach with conditions and see where that goes," Cerel said. 

"What you have to ask is, 'If this project could be appropriately conditioned, could you vote in favor of it,'" said Adam Costa with Blatman, Bobrowski & Mead, the town's legal consultant on the project. "If the answer is yes, I think you're instructing me and Mark [Bobrowski] to draft an approval with conditions."

Cerel reminded the board that the applicant, Gatehouse Group LLC, has submitted a list of concessions and mitigation to which they would agree if the ZBA approves the project which would avoid going before the Housing Authority Court.

He said that, if the board denies the project and is overturned by the HAC, the town would not get any of those concessions.

"I understand that, if we vote to deny this application, it's a rocky and tough road ahead," Sylvia said. "However, if I think that this is really an absolute disaster and the wrong thing for this town in this place in this time, I will vote to deny but, at this point in time, I just can't tell." 

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