SHEFFIELD -- A settlement offer has been drafted and is being sent from the town to Primax Properties that could pave the way for the development of a Dollar General store, according to town officials.
The town's Board of Selectmen and Zoning Board of Appeals drafted the settlement Friday during an executive session meeting, allowing them to cancel a follow-up executive session meeting planned for Monday.
The settlement offer is expected to be delivered this week after the town's legal counsel, Kopelman & Paige, reviews the settlement.
"I am hopeful, but I am cautiously optimistic," said Select Board Chairwoman Julie Hannum, who declined to elaborate on the contents of the offer.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Primax Properties has submitted an appeal in state Land Court over Sheffield's decision to block plans to build a Dollar General store on 660-680 N. Main St. Primax has asserted it is in compliance with town zoning bylaws. However, the Zoning Board of Appeals has blocked construction, citing zoning bylaw violations related to parking, landscaping, and other issues.
The current status of the litigation is unclear. In December, Great Barrington-based McCormick Murtagh and Marcus, representing Primax, released a public statement stating it would be resuming its appeal in state Land Court, claiming the town had failed to respond to two requests for settlement offers. Primax's legal counsel stated it would resume request for discovery after failing to receive a settlement.
Hannum declined to discuss ongoing litigation or details pertaining to the settlement offer.
"The terms will be discussed once we hear back or when it's approved," Hannum said.
Town officials have previously said they have spent $11,215 entering November related to the Dollar General. The dispute over the construction of a Dollar General has polarized the town.
Most recently, a petition drive has been launched to recall Planning Board member Maria Nation over comments she has made in personal emails about residents who opposed spending money to fight the project.
The drive ran through Wednesday afternoon, but it remains unclear whether enough signatures have been gathered. Town Clerk Felecie Joyce said the petition was dropped off at noon, but she would need to review how many signatures were collected.
Nation said Sheffield resident Marie Massini, who led the drive, told her on Wednesday there were not enough signatures for a recall vote.
Sheffield resident Catherine Miller, who has been a vocal opponent of the construction of the Dollar General, said Wednesday that all she wants now is a peaceful settlement to the dispute.
"I think it's a process that's been going on for a very long time, and its gotten people upset on all levels and I think the town needs to move ahead and get past the same old stuff," Miller said.
Everyone might not agree, Miller said, but they need to accept the Dollar General is coming.
"We got things to do and lives to live, and it's time for the town to get its life back," Miller said.
To reach John Sakata:
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