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Court tosses appeal of permit for North Amherst development

  • A rendering of the North Square at the Mill District project. The $47.5 million project is planned for North Amherst on Cowls Road. The buildings to the right would be new. At left is the existing Atkins Farms Country Market and other existing buildings. coUrbanize



Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

AMHERST — An appeal aimed at overturning a comprehensive permit for a $47.5 million mixed-use project planned for North Amherst has been dismissed in Hampshire Superior Court.

The stipulation of dismissal was signed June 27 by the attorneys representing both the plaintiff, Village Center North Amherst, and defendant Beacon Communities of Boston, which is planning the North Square at the Mill District project that calls for 130 apartments and 22,000 square feet of commercial space on 5.3 acres on Cowls Road.

Darcy Jameson, development director for Beacon, said in an email Tuesday that the dismissal means the project can move forward, pending a financing decision from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

“We’re pleased that everything is resolved and look forward to hearing from DHCD about the tax credit award,” Jameson said.

In addition to the Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously granting a comprehensive permit, the Select Board agreed to provide Beacon a $2.8 million tax break during the first decade after the project is complete, using a tax incentive program adopted by Town Meeting in 2015.

The lawsuit contended that the developers provided insufficient information and that there was limited opportunity for public comment. It named Beacon and the town’s Zoning Board.

Village Center North Amherst’s manager is Matthew Corcoran of Leverett. Corcoran owns the plaza at 79-85 Sunderland Road that abuts the proposed Beacon development.

Village Center’s attorney, Jesse W. Belcher-Timme of Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy in Springfield, said in an email that he couldn’t offer a comment about the dismissal.

Boston attorney Stephen M. LaRose of Nixon Peabody LLP, represented Beacon.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.