The Massachusetts Land Court has overturned approval of a a 14,360-square-foot CVS Pharmacy in Winchester following a four-year legal battle.
Four neighborhood residents in 2013 challenged the Winchester zoning board of appeal’s site plan approval to redevelop three commercial properties at Washington and Swanton streets, delaying demolition of the existing buildings, which have sat vacant ever since. A two-day trial was held in May 2015.
In a 22-page ruling issued Friday, Chief Justice Judith Cutler said the ZBA exceeded its authority and annulled the approval.
“This is an incredibly rewarding victory for the persistence and resistance of this neighborhood, and the other residents of Winchester who care about enforcing the Zoning Bylaw’s density controls,” attorney Daniel Hill of Cambridge said in a statement. Hill and attorney Dennis Murphy represented the neighbors.
The suit argued that the plans don’t conform to the town’s zoning bylaws on parking ratios, parking space size, landscaping and minimum 20-foot setbacks from residential areas. The proposed pharmacy building would have been located less than 13 feet from Washington Street and 7 feet from Swanton Street.
Cutler ruled the plans violated minimum parking requirements because developer T.M. Crowley & Assoc. of Indianapolis did not include 2,405 square feet of mezzanine space when calculating the gross floor area of the building. The parking spaces at 171 square feet fall short of the town’s 200-square-foot minimum, the ruling stated.
Don Caron, vice president of development at T.M. Crowley, said the firm is “looking at our options.” Messages left with CVS and Winchester Town Manager Richard Howard were not immediately returned.