Mass. Appeals Court Finds in Favor of ZBA on Hillside Gardens
In the second appeals court ruling as many years, the Chelmsford Zoning Board was found not to be "arbitrary and capricious" regarding the affordable housing development along Littleton Road near the Westford border.
Following the second appeals case as many years, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a ruling yesterday indicating that the Chelmsford Zoning Board of Appeals did not act in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner regarding the Hillside Gardens affordable housing development.
The news indicates that an earlier decision ruling in favor of the Planning Board from the Massachusetts Land Court will be upheld.
Although initially dismissed in 2010 for lack of standing, several abutting property owners were able to bring the case back to Land Court in late 2011 following an appeal.
There they argued that granting a comprehensive permit was unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious due to stormwater runoff concerns of neighboring industrial properties and health, safety issues posed by the nearby Chelmsford Crane company, and other concerns having residential and industrial properties immediately next to each other.
However, these concerns were found as speculative according to a memorandum from the court, with the document indicating that stormwater pipes from Hillside Gardens did not enter nearby industrial properties, safety issues from the cranes were not clearly evident, and that precautions had been taken to safeguard residents from other issues that might stem from proximity to industrial properties.
The memorandum also found that the board was within its rights under state law to issue a comprehensive permit for affordable housing as well.