By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Westborough – The Board of Selectmen voted at their June 13 meeting to waive the site plan review for two parking areas at the soccer fields at the former State Hospital. However, it was not unanimous. A spirited discussion ensued between selectmen Leigh Emery and George Barrette.
Absent from last night’s meeting, Town Manager Jim Malloy stated in a memo, “I do not believe that site plan review needs to be undertaken and that this type of parking lot development at a town recreation field is not what site plan review is intended for…”
Assistant Town Manager Kristi Williams spoke on Malloy’s behalf regarding this issue, explaining that these parking areas require additional review by the Conservation Commission which is a separate review.
Malloy had notified Building Commissioner Tin Htway of his recommendation. Htway, however, had determined that site review was necessary by the Board of Selectmen based on the town’s Zoning Bylaws.
Selectman Leigh Emery said, “I think this is shortcutting the process and I really don’t feel comfortable with it. I feel it’s appropriate for the board to weigh in on this and discharge our duties.”
She then asked Htway to provide his input to the board.
“I’m not against the waiver but it is a process and procedure and I recommend going through my office before going ahead with the waiver,” Htway said. “I don’t know if Jim (Malloy) went through my office, he just gave an FYI, ‘we’re doing this.’”
He was not involved with this process.
Emery reiterated her belief that the board should not waive its rights for review.
“It’s a slippery slope,” she said, adding that it shouldn’t be delegated to the town manager.
Selectman Ian Johnson asked what the implications would be if they did not waive the site review and he was told it was fairly simple to get the site review done and it shouldn’t take but a few days.
Barrette expressed his displeasure that this issue was coming before the board in the first place.
“This should have been handled outside this board,” he said. “I’m in favor of doing this. We need this and it’s gorgeous up there. I’m going to vote for this but when Jim Malloy gets back you [Htway] and he need to sit down and figure this out.”
The motion passed, three to two.