Zoning Board of Appeals members Lynn Faust and Robert Page, who voted against Brookview Village last week, have both resigned citing the vote and process of reviewing the "friendly 40B" as deciding factors.
"I cannot serve on the ZBA where I receive disrespect in public in return for years of dedication and hard work," said Lynn Faust in a resignation letter to ZBA Chairman James Natale. "You and other ZBA members were ready to vote on this case months ago without the benefit of complete testimony or any unbiased market data."
The two members asked for time to review additional information and have a review of housing needs in the city be completed. The other three board members, including Chair Natale, said they were ready to take a vote and voted the 225 unit apartment complex through in a 3 to 2 decision.
"I feel more than a little disrespected, after spending the past 4 months and a considerable amount of time reading and trying to digest the mountain of paperwork received," said former member Robert Page in his resignation letter. "This is an important project that will have a long term effect on this Cities infrastructure."
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The vote gave the go ahead to 225 apartment units that will be placed off of Ames Street in an area in the middle of industrial and commercial developments that had previously been zoned commercial. It is being developed by the Gutierrez Company.
It was this final vote that clinched the resignation of the two members, Faust on Dec. 5 and Page the following day. They had voiced a desire to have a final presentiation on housing needs in the city be made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council before taking a vote.
"An awful lot of pressure was put on the ZBA to approve this project," said Page. "There was no reason not to have allowed MAPC to finish their report prior to taking a vote."
Faust stated in her resignation letter that members of the board had been pressured to expedite the decision process.
"During, the case, the ZBA members were personally petitioned bythe proponent of the 40B and by the mayor in an effort to win ZBA votes and to expedieo the 40B hearing process," she said explaining that the process for this 40B decision had progressed much faster than any other she had worked on.
The lawyer for the Gutierrez Company, Arthur Bergeron, is also the chairman of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation, which serves to guide economic development in the city.
This "personal intervention" created a difficult environment for board members to take the time to make an informed decision, she said in the letter. She said that the duty of the ZBA is to make an informed decision for what is best for the city.
"By enabling the mayor and the MEDC chairman to influence the 40B case to the degree allowed in this case, the integrity of the ZBA has been put into question," said Faust.
According to Mayor Arthur Vigeant's office, the board has five appointees remaining and will be able to carry on its duties, which include a discussion of the conditions and financial compensation attached to the Brookview Village approval. Mayor Vigeant has wished the two resigning members well, according to communications from his office.
For all the articles relating to the Brookview Village development, head to our Complete Coverage page here.