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McClure Files Lawsuit to Stop 9 North Road Project
Attorney cites traffic and property value issues in the area if the project moves forward.
By Les Masterson and Brandon Schillemat
The latest turn in the 9 North Road development saga happened Monday when Attorney Richard P. McClure filed a lawsuit in Land Court in hopes of stopping the project, which he said will lead to more traffic, create safety issues and decrease property values in the neighborhood.
In his lawsuit, McClure takes aim at a number of defendants, including Epsilon Group, LLC, which owns 9 North Road, and town officials, including Building Inspector Scott Hammond, Planning Board members, past and present selectmen, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The 38-page suit goes through the property's background, including the fact that the town bought the land in 1976 for $100,000 and that it was undeveloped for 32 years; the preservation restriction; the sale to Epsilon Group for $480,000 in 2009; as well as the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals proceedings, building inspector's involvement, and the "involvement/non-involvement" of the Board of Selectmen.
McClure, who is a lifelong Chelmsford resident, who lives on Westford Street, about 500 feet from the 9 North Road property, said he is an "aggrieved person" because of the nearby location of the proposed two-story, 15,000 square-foot professional development.
Other reasons why he would like to see the project stopped is because of the impact the increased traffic will have on the nearby Center Fire Station, as well as North Road and Academy Street, he said.
He added that the increased traffic will cause a dangerous situation for motorists, pedestrians and the fire apparatus leaving the station.
McClure is hoping to stop a project that has received the support of town boards. Last month, the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected McClure's appeal of the project. In August, the Board of Selectmen voted that 9 North Road plans comply with the preservation restriction. The restriction requires that any building on the property must be a barn-like structure and preserve the area's historic characteristics.
At Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Manager Paul Cohen said, "What happens in a case like that is town counsel will prepare a response to the town; their response is due within 20 days to the Land Court.
"I don't know, generally we wouldn't comment on active litigations, I don't know what more I can say or the board would say, other than, I think it was no surprise that Attorney McClure, or resident McClure in this case, had announced that he intended to bring charges, and he's pretty much named every board member that he could, and basically reinstated a number of claims that he had made of the past several weeks at the various venues, such as the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing, and other places that he's been. So we have it and I don't know what more we can say other than that counsel will prepare a response."
Selectmen Chairman George E. Dixon Jr., said Monday night, "I haven't even had a chance to look at it yet. We got it late today and I was in another meeting, so I can't comment."
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