The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 12, 2004


Lawsuit seeks to overturn BOA amended decision

On November 2 former Carlisle resident Albert Ira Gould filed a complaint in Middlesex Superior Court against the Carlisle Town Clerk, the members of the Carlisle Board of Appeals (BOA) and attorney Richard Hucksam and the law firm of Deutsch/Williams, who represent the Town of Carlisle.

With this lawsuit Gould asks the court:

1. to declare that the original decision of the BOA, granting a special permit to replace a small house at 1230 Westford Street with a house within a 65-by-65-foot footprint, is now final, since it was not appealed within the 20-day appeals period;

2. to declare that the subsequent "amended decision," which limits the total area of the new house to no more than 50% greater than the existing structure, to be void;

3. to award monetary damages.

In September, Gould appeared before the Board of Appeals asking for a variance to the bylaw which states that a house on a nonconforming lot (less than two acres) may not be expanded by more than 50% of its original square footage. His lot is 1.3 acres. After considerable debate, the board granted a special permit to tear down the existing small house and replace it with a new house and garage, within a 65-by-65-foot footprint, no more than two stories high. (Mosquito, September 24, 2004.)

The Planning Board was very unhappy with this decision and asked the Selectmen to take action. Initially, town officials thought that the decision would have to be appealed to the court. However, at a meeting of the BOA, Selectmen, Planning Board and Associate Town Counsel Richard Hucksam on October 7, the original decision was simply "clarified" by adding two conditions on the project. The first condition limits the total floor area of the proposed structure to no more than 150% of the total floor area of the existing structure. The second specifies the total floor area of the existing structure (1913 square feet, based upon the assessor's records) and limits the total floor area of the proposed structure to 2,870 square feet. The new document states, "The purpose of this modification is to correct the Board of Appeal's inadvertent omission of these conditions so that the record reflects the board's true intention."

Gould, who is a lawyer and is representing himself, alleges in the complaint that "Town Counsel and the law firm contrived and conspired with the Planning Board and the [Board of Appeals] to manipulate the original decision of the [BOA] so as to satisfy the expressions of dissatisfaction from the Planning Board."

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito