Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 8:04 am, Sat Dec 17, 2011.
WINCHESTER — A group of Winchester residents have filed a lawsuit against selectmen and the town’s zoning board over the decision to allow a discount store on Main Street.
The Zaremba Group of Cleveland won approval from the zoning board in October to demolish a 200-year-old home and build a Dollar General store in its place.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed this week, are five residents and Kulicks, Inc., a market on nearby Warwick Road about 2,100 feet from the site of the proposed Dollar General.
The group previously asked the zoning board to reconsider its decision and was denied.
They are now suing to have the decision be deemed invalid and to have the case be sent back to the board for further review.
The home in question is at 71 Main St. within the town’s historic district. Known as the Wheaton-Alexander House, it was built in 1810 and was the residence for prominent doctors in the community.
In court document, the plaintiffs argue the plan is contrary to the stated purpose of the town’s historical district: “The destruction of a historical asset and its replacement with a box store will undermine the historical, cultural and architectural value of the Historic District.”
The lawsuit also states the zoning board held an unauthorized nonpublic meeting on the issue and it wrongly concluded the building could not be sold for a profit or rented as is.
“Based on the record, it is clear that there were several viable alternatives to demolition, and that the Zoning Board of Adjustment failed to inquire sufficiently to make a reasonable assessment of the alternatives to demolition on the record,” according to court documents.
The lawsuit also says the store is not a permitted use in the town’s Central Business District given its size — 9,100 square feet.
This is one of a handful of projects Zaremba has proposed for the area.
Its plan to build a Dollar General on Main Street in Marlborough was rejected by that town’s zoning board last week. It is also working to develop a Dollar General in Chester, Vt., and is under contract to buy 1.3 acres along Route 10 in Swanzey.
Abby Spegman can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or firstname.lastname@example.org