An abutter is appealing a decision to allow a 35-room hotel and restaurant project near Porter Square to go forward, filing a suit last week alleging the city erred by accepting an incomplete application.
The Zoning Board of Appeals approved the special permit required to build the hotel at its Jan. 20 meeting, while admitting it had not received a complete application until just before the meeting.
Abutter Seth Goodman, who has led a group of residents opposed to the project, filed the suit with the city on Feb. 16, citing both the lack of required information and issues with the proposed plans as grounds to revoke the special permit or declare the application incomplete.
"The decision of the board approving Makrigiannis' proposal is arbitrary, capricious, without any basis in fact, invalid and illegal, and is in excess of its authority," the complaint states.
The project has long been unpopular with some neighbors who say the site where the hotel would be located, an abandoned gas station on the corner of Somerville Avenue and Beacon Street, is too congested with traffic.
The application originally presented to the city lacked contact information for the property owner, George Makrigiannis, and listed the applicant as the company run by his son's girlfriend, although it is not involved with the project. The application also lacked signatures from any party.
All of this information is required by either state law or Somerville zoning ordinance.
Much of the Jan. 20 ZBA meeting was spent by both Planning Board staff and project attorney Richard DiGirolamo explaining why it didn't matter that the application turned in to the city did not include the address, phone number or actual identity of the applicant.
Planning Director George Proakis admitted that the city had accepted the application without the required information and signatures, and that, "I brought this up with Mr. DiGirolamo, and he supplied them to me."
The suit details dozens of additional issues with the process, citing several concerns with both the traffic study and lack of a stormwater drainage plan. Among the factors included in the traffic study was the use of the site's gas station, despite the fact that it has been shuttered for nearly three years.
"The board did not review a drainage plan, as required by the ordinance," the complaint states, "yet somehow determined in its decision that the stormwater drainage site plan review requirements have been met."
Goodman said that he would not comment on pending litigation. Assistant City Solicitor David Shapiro said he had just received the appeal and that the city is reviewing it.
When reached for comment, DiGirolamo also said he had not reviewed the filing.