SMOC receives occupancy permit for Winter Street site

SMOC receives occupancy permit for Winter Street site Wednesday, November 14, 2007
D. Craig MacCormack 508-626-4429 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - Building Commissioner Michael Foley yesterday issued a permanent occupancy permit to SMOC for its Sage House program for former addicts and their families, setting off a flurry of activity last night.

Foley's decision led SMOC attorney Marisa Pizzi to ask the Zoning Board of Appeals to deny a request by Ardmore Road resident Larry Hendry to delay his appeal of the temporary occupancy permit for Sage House a month or two.

The board denied Pizzi's request after Hendry's lawyer, Jason Talerman, said last night it is likely Hendry and possibly other neighbors will appeal Foley's decision on the permanent permit and withdraw the appeal of the temporary one.

It is unclear if Hendry, or other potential opponents of Sage House, will be able to file the new appeal in time for the zoning board's next meeting on Dec. 11.  If not, the zoning board does not meet again until January.

Hendry asked for more time to defend his appeal after SMOC filed a federal lawsuit last month against several town officials, Town Meeting members and private citizens charging them with discrimination against disabled people.

"Mr. Hendry doesn't want to be the next defendant," said Talerman last night.  Hendry, a Framingham police officer, is not named in the lawsuit, but other members of Stop Tax Exempt Private Property Sprawl are defendants.

Foley issued the temporary permit for Sage House in late August, paving the way for South Middlesex Opportunity Council to move the program from 61 Clinton St. to 517 Winter St.  The new location will house as many as 15 families, including the nine living there now.

Residents who want to appeal the decision have 30 days to file their motion.  Talerman said he had not seen the permanent occupancy permit, but expected it contained the same conditions as the temporary, meaning an appeal is probable.

Foley's decision to issue the permanent occupancy permit makes the temporary permit, which was set to expire Nov. 23, moot.

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