Friday, May 11, 2007

A road runs through it...

The most expensive lawsuit in the history of the town is, finally, finished. Last week the Supreme Judicial Court denied the application of Leigh F. Andrews for Further Appellate Review of the Appeals Court overturning his expensive, longshot victory against Amherst in Boston Land Court for Spot Zoning.

The good news for Amherst taxpayers is Mr. Andrews separate million-dollar damages lawsuit in Hampshire Superior Court is now moot. The bad news for Amherst taxpayers is that NO property owner is now safe.

If the part-time, do-gooder, too-much-time-on-their-hands Amherst Town Meeting can rezone land that floods after once-in-a-lifetime Hurricane Floyd, they can now “protect from development” almost anything.

With costs like this nobody came out a winner: Amherst taxpayers lost $125,000 in legal bills and Mr. Andrews’s tab, astonishingly, topped $500,000.

This even longer shot of taking it all the way to the Supreme Court (they agreed to review only 2 of 57 cases recently) cost a couple thousand more. But, after you hit the half-million mark, you have nothing to lose.

And Mr. Andrews had powerful allies--known as “Amicus Briefs”-- in this attempt: The Greater Boston Real Estate Board, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and Attorney William Hovey who literally wrote the encyclopedia of Massachusetts Real Estate Law.

With the legalization of FPC Zoning (Flood Prone Conservancy) NIMBY’s now possess the ultimate WMD. Somebody call in the Marines!

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