Former Rowe Funeral Home developers appeal City Council decision

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Former Rowe Funeral Home developers appeal City Council decision
Drone photography shows the former Rowe Funeral Home at 57 Main St. (Photo/Tami White)

MARLBOROUGH – An issue over parking at the proposed development at 57 Main St. has led to an appeal.

On May 23, JW Capital Partners LLC and Marlborough TOTG LLC filed an appeal in Land Court over site plans for the former Rowe Funeral Home approved by the City Council.

“The decision unlawfully conditions the project by deferring a further decision of substance before a building permit may issue and denying the use of off-site parking, which is expressly allowed by right in the Zoning Ordinance such that the project cannot be constructed,” the appeal said.

When the project was originally proposed, the plans called for a mixed-use development with 99 units, commercial and retail space and 28 onsite parking spaces. The developer previously said that tenants and visitors could use off-street parking at nearby lots.

Parking drew concerns from City Council members. When the project was approved by the council in April, the council had several conditions. One of the conditions notes that the applicant has proposed to provide the 28 spaces and make a payment-in-lieu-of-parking for the remaining required 60 spaces in accordance with a section in the zoning ordinance. 

The appeal said the council added a condition that “notwithstanding any of the above, applicant shall provide at a minimum 60 parking spaces on site, payment in lieu to be adjusted accordingly.”

JW Capital Partners argued that this condition was contradictory. 

The appeal claimed that the City Council, in approving the site plans, imposed such conditions that “effectively disapproves of the site plan and requires a complete redesign of the building and site layout to accommodate additional onsite parking spaces…”

The appeal notes a parking study that showed “ample availability in city-owned parking facilities,” including the Bolton Street parking lot.

“The council’s prohibition on the applicant’s use of the Bolton Street lot is arbitrary, capricious and exceeds the authority of the council under the zoning ordinance and site plan review ordinance and further works to effectuate a denial of the site plan as proposed,” the appeal read.

Specifically, JW Capital Partners is seeking that the court annul several of the conditions and award them costs and attorney fees and any additional relief.

The City Council met in executive session on June 5 to discuss the appeal.

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