Monday, July 27, 2015

Death By Delay?

Carriage Shops:  future home of One East Pleasant Street

Basic rule of last resort in the NIMBY handbook:  When all else fails file a lawsuit.

Last week Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard Carey heard a "Motion For Summary Judgement" in the case brought against Archipelago Investments and the Amherst Planning Board.

If the Judge supports the motion filed by the town and the developer, construction on One East Pleasant Street can commence.

Joel Greenbaum, a local property manager with 27 properties in town containing a total of 212 bedrooms filed the suit as an abutter claiming  One East Pleasant Street, with 80 units of housing providing 180 new beds, will cause him unique injury.

Greenbaum asserts that because One East Pleasant Street only provides 36 parking spaces for 180 tenants parking for his nearby units will be negatively impacted.  But the simple counter to that is parking is a general complaint that impacts the entire downtown, thus Mr. Greenbaum is not suffering any unique harm.

Town Attorney Joel Bard told the Judge parking is a policy issue, not a legal concern.

The more specific complaint that one of his properties would suffer harm via a shadow cast by the five story project was shown to be false as part of the "discovery process."

Archipelago's attorney Mark Bobrowski countered the complaint that One East Pleasant Street was a dormitory (not allowed in the downtown district) by pointing out all the units would be leased as apartments and not by the bed.  

Of course the genuine concern for Mr. Greenbaum is that One East Pleasant Street will provide brand new high-end rental units to compete with his tired older offerings.  But land use law does not consider economic injury brought on by all-American competition to be grounds for "special injury."

Even in the unlikely event the Judge turns down the Motion For Summary Judgement and then goes on to rule in favor of Mr. Greenbaum's lawsuit, all it does is neutralize the two Special Permits granted by the Planning Board allowing extra height and lot coverage.

Archipelago would still have "by right" the authority to build a five-story, mixed-use building on that site they already invested $4.6 million acquiring.  And I'm guessing they would.

Bring on the shadow.  


Anonymous said...

I hope the judge sees this for what it is. A spurious attempt by an abutter to torpedo a project that competes with them.

Anonymous said...

A "shadow"? That's a new one.

I'm not sure how a 55 foot tall building could possibly cast a shadow on Greenbaum's property which is 300+ feet to the west, except for the crack of dawn on March 21 or Sept 21. But on Sept. 21, all the trees are casting more significant shadows.

That leaves March 21, crack of dawn, as the only moment that One East Pleasant may be casting a shadow on a Greenbaum property.

Anonymous said...

I'm filing a lawsuit for unique injury because they closed Loose Goose Cafe.

Larry Kelley said...

And you would have a stronger case.

Anonymous said...

Please don't stand so close to me. Your shadow is bothering me.

Anonymous, The Great said...

Bring back Quicksilver! That would solve everything! Joel, you suck blue donuts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Town Manager and Planning Board for turning the downtown into dorms and food court. You can eliminate one parking space because I don't plan on shopping or eating there.

Jackie M'Vemba said...

SweetPie is playing at Quicksilver this Friday. Gee, it's just like 1972 again.

John Galt said...

I'm sure the PB and Town Manager would be happy to take credit, but the zoning comes exclusively from town meeting. And the development $$ comes from the people who actually own the properties downtown.

And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Anonymous said...

OK then thank you town meeting for destroying the town I loved. I've been here 50 years and it is time to go.