A group of area residents, sometimes called the North End Ten, received a very supportive court ruling in their fight to “Save Long Wharf” from commercialization through a restaurant as proposed by defendant Boston Redevelopment Authority. The ruling was received this week in the mail from Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Fahey.

Not only did Judge Fahey deny the BRA’s motion to dismiss the case, but further ruled that “the Chapter 91 Permit is vacated” on the land owned by BRA at the end of Long Wharf. Judge Fahey also remanded the case to co-defendant Department of Environmental Protection for the State agency to consider new evidence presented by the NE10 plaintiffs regarding Long Wharf’s status as parkland.

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The Superior Court ruling appears to negate much of the BRA win from when the higher Supreme Judicial Court ruled in March 2013 that the Long Wharf space was not subject to Article 97 that would have required a two-thirds vote by the State legislature for redevelopment. That ruling would have supported a 2007 Boston Redevelopment Authority lease for “Doc’s Long Wharf,” a proposed 4,655 square-foot waterfront restaurant with outdoor cafe tables.

The specific order by the Superior Court reads:

For the foregoing reasons, the Plaintiffs’ Motion to present Additional Evidence and [sic] must be ALLOWED.  The Chapter 91 Permit is VACATED and this case is REMANDED to the Department of Environmental Protection for additional findings based upon the Department’s consideration of the Plaintiffs’ Additional Evidence. Defendant Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Renewed Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.  The Plaintiffs’ Motion to judgment on the Pleadings and the Department of Environmental Protection’s Cross-Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings are DENIED as moot.

Eliababeth M. Fahey
Justice of the Superior Court
Dated: December 17, 2013
(PDF order)

The “additional evidence” presented by the NE10 alleges the BRA wronged based on its own contracts for the space and also includes National Park Service map showing the seaward end of Long Wharf is protected under the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act. (See City Argues Dismissal; North End Ten Add New Complaints)

The Superior Court judge ruled that the new evidence should be considered by the Department of Environmental Protection before awarding the subject Chapter 91 license to the BRA.

These additional exhibits were not before the SJC, and it does not appear that the SJC has been informed of their existence. [footnote 4]

Footnote 4: This case was aruged before the SJC on November 5, 2012. On February 4, 2013, Melissa Cryan informed BRA that the map outlining the LWCF-boundary was incorrect.  More than a month passed before the SJC issued its final decision on March 15, 2013 and yet it appears BRA never informed the SJC that the material it was then considering may be incorrect.

Fahey is also the Superior Court judge that ruled in favor of the NE10 on this case in June 2011 before the BRA/DEP appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court. (See Court Rules in Favor of “North End Ten” Against the BRA’s Plan for Doc’s Long Wharf)

Follow the history of the five year case here on NorthEndWaterfront.com through the tag, Doc’s Long Wharf.

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