, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 6, 2013

Civil rights complaint filed against Merrimac resident

MERRIMAC — A small but hardy group of residents fighting the construction of a Dollar General store on Main Street since it first received a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals has added a new complaint to a lawsuit first filed in May.

In late May, Peter Kitsakas and Carol Beaudoin, both abutters to the property, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the zoning board, maintaining that the decision to approve special permitting did not contain any findings to support its passage.

The complaint argues that “the Board exceeded its authority and abused its discretion by granting a special permit without any foundation or basis, and without having received the advice and consent of local boards and commission specifically identified in the Water Resource Protection District (WRPD) Bylaw.”

On July 16, an amended complaint was filed in Essex Superior Court which added violations of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act and a new defendant.

A civil rights complaint was added against Richard Waterhouse of the Waterhouse Realty Trust, owner of the parcel. The complaint argues that remarks posted by Waterhouse on the Facebook page “Merrimac Residents Against Dollar General” were “intimidating and coercive and … designed to interfere with the plaintiffs’ exercise or enjoyment of rights secured by the constitution or laws of the Commonwealth.”

The remarks include the comment, “Don’t waste your time and money opposing DG … You can’t stop it!! Would you rather have a pig farm on the site?” posted on June 12.

On June 16, Waterhouse posted, “Should I be doing some contingency planning like contracting with Kimball Farm of Rock’s Village to dump their bovine excrement on the site at least six inches deep.”

The attorney filing the complaint, Daniel Hill, said in an email that “a judgment for the plaintiff would enjoin the defendant from further violations, and would require the defendant to reimburse the plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs.” No other fines would be involved.

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