History of the Lawsuit 2016-2019
The first lawsuit:
Paul M. Kelley and Susan K. Kelley vs The Somerville Historical Society (dba Somerville Museum) and members of the City of Somerville ZBA
September 12, 2016 – June 14, 2018.
On August 17th, 2016 the Zoning Board of Appeals heard the Museum’s request for a special permit to install an elevator addition to the building on 1 Westwood Road and approved it unanimously 5-0. Within 30 days, on September 12, 2016, our neighbors, Paul M. and Susan K. Kelley at 3 Westwood Road sued the ZBA Board for exceeding its authority in granting the Museum this approval (Count I) and later amended their suit to include suing the Museum for both Adverse Possession and Easement by Prescription of the western portion of the Museum’s property that abuts their lot.(Count II) The trial was assigned to the Commonwealth’s Land Court and was heard by two Judges. The first retired before the case could be closed and the second was Judge Vhay.
In 2017, Judge Vhay dismissed the case of Adverse Possession for lack of proof. The parties appeared for trial in early January to present both sides of the remaining arguments before the Judge. This included a site visit by the Judge of the Museum’s and the Kelley’s properties.
Judge Vhay issued his judgement on June 14, 2018. The Judge found “in FAVOR of the defendents, members of the City’s ZBA and the Somerville Historical Society and AGAINST the plaintiffs”, the Kelleys on Count I of the amended complaint. Specifically, that the decision of the ZBA “filed with the clerk on August 22, 2016 (the ZBA’s Decision) granting to the Somerville Historical Society a special permit under section/paragraph 4.4.1 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance to alter and expand the Society’s building at 1 Westwood Road in Somerville, was not unreasonable, capricious or arbitrary; and was not based on legally untenable grounds.”
The Judge further granted judgement “in FAVOR of the Somerville Historical Society, and AGAINST plaintiffs Paul M. Kelley and Susan K. Kelley on Count II of the Kelley’s Amended Complaint.”
The first appeal:
We especially thank the firm of Goodwin Law and the attorneys Richard Oetheimer and Michael Murrary for thier ongoing efforts to represent the Museum’s interests in court, pro bono. We could not take on this case without you!
Thank you to all of our supporters who stand with us during this trying time.