Credit: Google Earth

The Planning Board voted Monday not to appeal a court ruling that rejected its actions regarding a planned daycare center at 1688 Central Ave. This gives  developer Needham Enterprises a clearer path to move forward. 

An Aug. 22 ruling by Land Court Judge Jennifer Roberts meant Needham Enterprises was “entitled to apply for a building permit without further action by the Board.” Roberts backed Needham Enterprises’ argument that, under the Dover Amendment, a childcare facility is a “protected use” exempt from the level of review that was ultimately conducted. Needham Enterprises applied for a building permit the day after the decision was rendered.

The Planning Board had a 30-day window to appeal the decision.  The Select Board and Planning Board held a joint meeting Monday to consider whether to file an appeal. The Select Board was involved as it would have needed to authorize funding for any appeal.

The Planning Board voted to hold the discussion in executive session out of concern that discussing strategy in open session “would have a detrimental impact on the Planning Board’s litigation position.” The board subsequently voted not to appeal the Land Court ruling.

This could bring an end to a protracted process that began in April 2020 when Needham Enterprises, owned by former Select Board member Matt Borrelli,  purchased the property.

During the course of the lawsuit, a group of abutters made three separate attempts to intervene in the case, claiming the attorneys for the Planning Board were not representing their interests.

All three attempts to intervene were denied, but the abutters have appealed those denials. It is not clear what the impact would be if their appeal is ultimately successful.

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