“Complaining residents of Medway” said to be basis of 555 Hopping Brook denial Plaintiffs claim Holliston special permit denied due to “vociferous objections” of Medway residents
By Theresa Knapp
Plaintiffs CRG Acquisition, LLC and Jon Delli Priscoli have filed a complaint to appeal the Holliston Planning Board’s July 29, 2021, decision to deny the plaintiffs’ proposed project at 555 Hopping Brook Park.
Defendants named in the complaint are the Town of Holliston plus the Holliston Planning Board and its individual members including Barbara Peatie who joined the board in June and did not act on the matter.
CRG is described as “the purchaser under a purchase and sale agreement of about 72 acres of land” within the 350-acre industrial park; and Jon Delli Priscoli is listed as the “owner of the site and seller purchase and sale agreement…[acting] “as trustee of the New Hopping Brook Realty Trust.”
Plaintiffs claim the “approximately 800,000 square-foot warehouse facility” is “allowed by right” and that the town’s denial is “unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious, based on legally untenable grounds, and exceeds the Planning Board’s authority.”
The complaint says, “The board’s deliberations make clear that its decision to deny CRG’s applications for a special permit and approval of its amended site plan was based overwhelmingly - and improperly - on alleged impacts the project may have on the complaining residents of Medway.”
It further states that the denial, in part, “is based overwhelmingly on the vociferous objections to the project of residents of the adjoining Town of Medway, and alleged impacts of the project on those Medway residents, which as a matter of law is improper and in excess of the Board’s authority.”
Plaintiffs are asking the court to annul the Planning Board’s decision, remand the matter back to the Planning Board “for further proceedings consistent with the court’s decision and judgement,” determine that the proposed warehouse facility is allowed by right and no special permit is required, and award the plaintiffs’ their “reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest.”
In its July denial, the Planning Board laid out a number of arguments in its decision including the following:
• Building dimensions too large for the site
• “Massive earthmoving effort” is required to build the 1291 by 620 square foot building and its associated driveways and parking areas
• Final project elevation would be approximately 60 feet higher than elevation of Hopping Brook Road
• 24/7/365 non-stop noise disturbance of various types “will fundamentally change the quality of life in the adjacent neighborhoods in Medway as well as South Street area residents in Holliston” as well as area wildlife; noise can also lead to sleep deprivation as there is currently very little noise in that area at night
Berm slope design inconsistency and viability
Increased traffic impacts on abutting neighbors, neighborhoods along truck routes, pedestrians, bicyclists, rail trail users, etc.
• Lighting concerns such as glow and potential over-illumination “will be unavoidable and will adversely impact abutters as well as wildlife and birds and the regional night sky, intuitively and scientifically”
• Limited ability by the town to enforce compliance, due to lack of manpower, noting non-compliance is unavoidable
• Use of building unclear; applicant said it would be a warehouse facility but members are concerned it would evolve into a distribution facility, fulfillment center, or more intense use since it is being marketed as “The Cubes at Hopping Brook”
• Wastewater treatment, water demands for domestic and fire protection, water pressure impacts
The decision also stated the project abuts an agricultural-residential zoning district in the Town of Medway to the east, there are approximately 15 residential abutters (single-family homes) within 300 feet of the site, and there are 66 units of age-restricted housing at Holliston Woods that abut additional vacant land within the industrial park.
CRG and Delli Priscoli’s 148-page filing included the 11-page complaint plus copies of the Planning Board decision, the town’s zoning bylaws, the Planning Board’s site plan review, and the Zoning Board of Appeals’ Dimensional Variance Certificate of Action because the proposed building height exceeded the dimensions allowed in the zoning code. The full document can be found here