SHREWSBURY – Several residents have filed an appeal with the Land Court seeking to annul the Planning Board’s approval of the Beal Commons project slated for 1-7 Maple Avenue, the former site of Maj. Howard W. Beal School.
The Planning Board approved Beal Commons by a 4-1 vote during a special meeting on April 13. The project seeks to build 53 apartments with 7,000 square feet of retail space.
The appeal lists seven plaintiffs – Julie Ross, Barry Pulster, James Kavanagh, Elizabeth Kavanagh, David Moyer, Karin Holovnia and Lynda Camarra – all of whom live on nearby Hascall Street or Wesleyan Street. The group is represented by Henry Lane of Whitinsville-based law firm Lane and Hamer P.C.
The five members of the Planning Board at the time – Steven Boulay, Stephan Rodolakis, Timothy Jarry, Joseph Thomas Jr., and Purnachander Rao – are listed as defendants. The developer Shrewsbury Hascall MM, LLC is also listed as a defendant in the case.
The plaintiffs’ five-page complaint contains multiple allegations, including that the project would not suit the town center.
“The Board’s decision failed to adequately consider the appropriateness of the proposed location of the development,” the court documents read, alleging the board failed to properly consider the parking space allocation, and the “adverse effect the proposed development would otherwise have on the neighborhood.”
The appeal claims that the Planning Board’s findings were “not based on the weight of credible evidence presented at the hearings.”
The complaint also contains several architectural objections.
“The development of a vertical mixed-use building… does not meet the type of… development permitted in the Town Center Zoning District,” the document says, and that the “decision failed to maintain a consistently high level of design quality in terms of physical design, scale and visual characteristics.”
The plaintiffs’ complaint concludes by stating that “the [Planning] Board’s decision granting the special permits was contrary to law, arbitrary and capricious and exceeded the authority of the board, and the plaintiffs are aggrieved thereby.”
The court paperwork also includes the 17-page Planning Board decision, which outlines all the materials the board reviewed in the application process, and includes the board’s full rationale behind the decision.
A case management conference is scheduled for June 13, and will be heard by Hon. Jennifer S.D. Roberts, an associate justice with the Land Court.