Springfield City Council Retains Counsel of Conservation Law Foundation to Challenge Biomass Permit
The Springfield City Council voted Monday to retain the legal services of the Conservation Law Foundation of Boston, and to authorize a formal appeal at the Springfield Zoning Board of Appeals to challenge the status of a proposed biomass incinerator’s building permit at 1000 Page Blvd in Springfield. The Conservation Law Foundation is offering its services to the City Council free of charge.
The vote follows an October 2020 request made formally to the Springfield Building Commissioner signed by 12 Councilors in which they outlined their opinion that the proposed project’s building permit, originally issued in 2011, had expired, and that under the current Springfield Zoning Ordinance a project of such nature would require a Special Permit from the City Council.
“As the primary land use body of the city, the City Council has a responsibility to ensure that all laws, rules, and ordinances are followed in the City of Springfield. Under the current zoning ordinance of the City of Springfield this sort of a project requires a Special Permit from the Springfield City Council, a permit the project does not hold,” said At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman, “While this project’s original permits were issued under an earlier version of the zoning ordinance, it is our opinion that the permit issued at that time were not sufficiently acted upon. As such, we will be asking the Zoning Board of Appeals to review the facts and the determination of the Building Commissioner.”
“There are time stipulations within building permits that developers are supposed to adhere to and every project should be subjected to the same guidelines,” said City Council President Marcus Williams, “As a matter of process I hope we can come to a rectifiable conclusion that reinforces sound zoning law.”
“CLF works with communities throughout New England to advocate that people most impacted by decisions have a seat at the table,” said Johannes Epke, Staff Attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, “We are honored to represent the Springfield City Council in this matter to ensure fair application of the law.”