SMOC drops land court case

SMOC drops land court case Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Dan McDonald 508-626-4416 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- SMOC has dropped its land court case against the town that challenged the Zoning Board of Appeals' decision to reject a proposed move of its headquarters.

The South Middlesex Opportunity Council had wanted to move from 300 Howard St. to 15 Blandin Ave, which is located in a manufacturing zone.

SMOC had tried to move onto that site, which is located in a manufacturing zone, under a state law commonly referred to as the Dover Amendment. That law allows projects that meet a certain criteria -- an educational use being one of those deciding factors -- to circumvent local zoning laws.

SMOC maintained its social service programming constituted an educational use and could therefore move into the manufacturing zone under Dover.

Framingham Building Commissioner Mike Foley disagreed and the ZBA unanimously upheld his decision in August.

SMOC appealed that decision in land court. However, Town Counsel Chris Petrini was notified yesterday the case had been dropped.

In a statement, SMOC spokeswoman Jane Lane indicated it "didn't make financial sense to follow through" with the proposed move.

SMOC, according to Lane, may try to sell the property, which it bought from NStar in 2005 for about $2.2 million.

SMOC and the town are still ensnared in a federal lawsuit that alleges Framingham blocked expansion of the agency's programs.

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