LINCOLN — The developer behind a proposed Cumberland Farms and Arby’s on Route 116 is appealing the Lincoln Planning Board’s decision to deny the project application.
The Planning Board voted unanimously last month to deny the application by Kirkbrae Development Corp., citing concerns with traffic and safety.
Plans for the proposed project at the corner of George Washington Highway and Blackstone Valley Place called for a Cumberland Farms gas station and convenience store, alongside an Arby’s drive-thru restaurant.
Several neighbors had spoken out against the project during a recent public hearing, sharing their concerns about safety, traffic, the overall layout of the site, and the potential impact on the surrounding area.
Town Planner Al Ranaldi confirmed this week that the applicant has decided to move forward with an appeal.
The project does not have an affordable housing element, so the appeal will not be heard by the State Housing Appeals Board.
Under the town code, the Zoning Board of Review shall sit as the Planning Board of Appeal “to hear an appeal by an aggrieved party from any decision of the Planning Board.”
Ranaldi noted that the Planning Board of Appeal has limited jurisdiction. The board “shall not substitute its own judgment for that of the Planning Board, but must consider the issue upon the findings and record of the Planning Board.”
In short: the board will not be hearing the application from scratch. Rather, they’ll be charged with reviewing the existing record.
The board can’t reverse the Planning Board’s denial, except on a finding of prejudicial error, clear error, or lack of support by the weight of the evidence in the record.
Ranaldi said he expects the Zoning Board will hear the appeal in November.
The matter can’t be heard this month, since advertisements for that meeting have already been sent. Next month, Ranaldi said the town will put out two ads, one for the regular Zoning Board meeting, and another for the Planning Board of Appeal.
He said he wasn’t sure if the appeal would be held at a separate meeting from the scheduled zoning meeting, noting that the town doesn’t see this type of appeal often.
Three of five Zoning Board members must agree to reverse the denial. If the Planning Board’s denial is overturned, the proposed project will be put back before that board, to progress forward from the time it was denied.
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