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POLL: Should State Change Appeal Requirements?

Let us know your thoughts on the topic in the comments section and vote in our poll below.

Earlier this week, on the Massachusetts state laws for appealing construction projects. But we want to know what you think about the system.

As currently constructed, the laws allow one abutter or a group of at least 10 residents to stop the construction of a project by filing an appeal and paying a processing fee.

Board of Selectmen chairman Mike Newhouse said this allows for stall tactics from residents who oppose plans that were approved by a majority vote.

“These regulations need to be significantly revised,” said Newhouse. “It makes no sense to me that 10 residents who need not be registered voters, or even American citizens, only need one member having attended a Conservation Commission meeting to thwart the will of the people without repercussions of frivolous claims. That just doesn’t make sense.”

Resident Kevin MacDonald, who is currently the that have said he believes the laws should stay as is.

“I actually think it should only be one person needed to start an appeal,” said MacDonald. “If one person in the country knew that the cigarette manufacturing companies were putting chemicals into cigarettes, and the rest of the country didn’t believe it, I think that one person should be able to be heard and appealed."

So what do you think? Are the laws to loose for your liking, or should things stay the way they are?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section and be sure to vote in our poll as well to weigh in on this issue. 

Christine August 06, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Wouldn't it make sense for the appellants to demonstrate some interest and/or participation in the process before signing the appeal?? Wouldn't it make sense for the appellants to sign a legal affidavit saying they actually READ the appeal and understand the implications of what they were signing? Finally, wouldn't it make sense for the appellant to first have to attempt to resolve the conflict OUTSIDE the appeals process with minimal detriment to the greater community and our finances?? The legal appeals process should be secondary. Some weight should also be given to the scale and impact of the project vs the complaints, delays or merits of a small group of appellants. There is clearly an imbalance here for such a large project.
Lennie Malvone August 06, 2012 at 03:52 PM
My problem with the Appeal process is that 1) A person who signs the appeal does not have to be a Citizen of this country. You have to have been a Citizen to Vote on it ( well we hope so anyway ) 2) The appeals process can be never ending .We can assume that if the appellants loose the appeal they will then go to court etc In this case will cause a major financial impact on the town. We can assume that if the appellants loose the appeal they will then go to court etc. I believe that the appeals process should be streamlined allowing only a certain number of appeals. So that there rights are protected and that the targets of the appeal have their right proteted . Finally I too think that their should be a mediation panel that has the authority to mediate the dispute, resolve it before starting on the lengthy and expensive appeals process .
Karl Ian Sagal August 06, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I agree that any appellant should have standing. That mean they should be citizens, they should be of majority age (I believe that is 18) and they should be residents of the place affected. (If in the case of water pollution, which might mean citizens down stream, even if in another town or state) I do not believe that appellants should be targeted financially or rhetorically by anyone, other than those arguing the appeals themselves, and personalities and families should be kept out of it.
Steven McGinley August 09, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Christine what meetings have you attended.?
Christine August 09, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Meetings ?!! What meetings? Crap, I must have missed them Steve- enlighten me ;) Seriously, I attended several and read plenty-- I wish more knowledgeable townspeople had weighed in along the way-- I'm sure some of your suggestions for improvements in the construction aspect would have been appreciated by those involved,
Christine August 09, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Karl, when it's comes to my time, my money and my children it's personal-- it's just not that simple and I've wasted nights listening to Kevin's BS when I should have been home tucking in my kids or reading them bedtime stories--or watching their games at the 7 hour town meeting ....Again listening to people drone-- just because I'm doing my civic duty doesn't mean I have to sit and take it again and again and again-- They are the ones NOT respectful of the process -- just because there IS a process doesn't mean these people have to abuse it AND take advantage of others either. And 600+'others in town clearly feel the same--enough is enough.
Steven McGinley August 11, 2012 at 12:36 AM
I am asking what meetings have you attended? I don't get how you cannot understand such a simple question? Were you at the conservation commission meetings? Have you been to the high school building commission meetings, if so how many.?

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