One of the most outspoken opponents to the CVS project approved to go in Coolidge Square has filed and appeal in Massachusetts Land Court against the Zoning Board of Appeal’s approval of the project.
David Peckar lives on Wells Avenue, behind the recently approved CVS, and he believes the pharmacy will have a negative impact on his home and the neighborhood. The ZBA approved the project on January 28.
In his suit, Peckar named as defendants the entire Zoning Board of Appeals – Chairwoman Melissa Santucci Rozzi, Kelly Donato, John Gannon, Christopher Heep and David Ferris – along with Director of Community Development and Planning Steve Magoon and developer and property owner Robert Korff.
The appeal will delay the start of construction on the project, Magoon said, although he is not sure for how long.
Peckar said he hopes in the meantime the developer can make changes to the project that would make it more agreeable to neighbors.
“I am hoping that Mr. Korff might take this opportunity to revisit some of the other design solutions that I have previously discussed with him so that, together we might be able to come up with a revised proposal that would serve our street, our community and even Mr. Korff’s interests in ways that would be mutually beneficial for all involved,” Peckar said. “I don’t think it will be an easy thing to do and I believe that it will take a lot of hard work and compromises on many peoples’ part, but lofty goals are worth striving for.”
In the appeal, Peckar focused on concerns about the project which he brought up during the Zoning Board and Planning Board meetings:
- The plan to raze the former Elks Club building would remove a buffer from noise, traffic and light between the major intersection of Mt. Auburn and Arlington Streets and Peckar’s street – Wells Avenue.
- The current truck access will no longer be available which will lead to large trucks to unload on Wells Avenue.
- The project would increase car trips by more than 400 on Saturdays and all the traffic will enter and exit from the expanded parking lot which sits directly across the street from Wells Avenue residents creating noise and more lights from headlights.
- The open hours of the CVS – which will be open until 10 p.m., means activity will be four hours longer than open hours businesses currently in the area.
Efforts to reach Korff’s attorney for comment were not successful before publication of this story.
Peckar filed the appeal on March 2, the last day to file appeals. In the suit he makes the case that the project adversely impacts the neighborhood and that the comments and ideas presented by residents were not properly taken into account when the decision was made by the ZBA.
He also says Magoon had conflicts of interest in the case, including trying to avoid legal action if the ZBA rejected the project and because the Planning Department feared losing mitigation money from the developer that would improve traffic and pedestrian signals in the area near the CVS. He also noted that Magoon was upset by the Planning Board vote against supporting the project.
Another argument made by Peckar is that due process was not followed because residents seeking to make comments were cut off by the chairwoman.
Copies of the suit are available at the Watertown Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall and at the Land Court in Boston.