The owner of the embattled former Star Market site on Winter Hill is suing the city following last month’s rejection of Ocean State Job Lot as a tenant, alleging it amounts to a “partial regulatory taking of the plaintiff’s property.”
The suit, filed Sept. 29 with the state’s Land Court, alleges the city is attempting to force property owner James Cohen “to demolish the property and build a completely new structure,” among other complaints.
Cohen and Job Lot representatives first met with Mayor Joseph Curtatone in 2008, and note in the suit that they have been at odds form the beginning. The Planning Board rejected Job Lot as a tenant at its Sept. 2 meeting.
“The Planning Board’s decision indicates that the Planning Board abandoned its role as a permit granting authority and took up the task of dictating the uses of property by reference to what it perceives to be the healthy dietary and exercise needs (walking and biking) of city residents,” the complaint states.
As the proposal to place the bargain store took shape, so did the city’s move to rezone the Broadway corridor, with the new pedestrian-friendly zoning approved earlier this year. The suit alleges Cohen did not receive notice of these changes, and that the city engaged in “stalling tactics” as they were being finalized.
The suit also alleges the city made an empty promise to find partners in place of Job Lot, and that Curtatone told Cohen, “I don’t want a dollar store in my town,” and later that the store would be allowed on the site “over my dead body.”
Mayoral spokesman Michael Meehan called the quotes “absolutely false,” and pointed out that there already is a dollar store in Davis Square. He did say Curtatone had expressed reservations about the project.
“What [Cohen] is alleging is the city isn’t allowed to enforce zoning,” Meehan added. “It was an above board, public process with extensive community input.”
Representatives for Cohen were not immediately available for comment.
The complaint is below: