CHELMSFORD -- An Appeals Court judge has ruled in favor of the town in a lawsuit that challenged the legality of a two-story office building at 9 North Road in Chelmsford center.

The lawsuit, which was rejected in Superior Court in November 2012, alleged that selectmen failed to enforce a preservation restriction on the property, which would have made the building illegal. Resident Roland Van Liew sued the town and real estate developer Epsilon Group LLC shortly after it allowed the construction of the 15,000 square-foot building.

In a decision issued Friday, the Appeals Court said officials' duty to enforce the preservation restriction on the property is discretionary, "rather than a duty required by law." That echoed the earlier Superior Court ruling that said the board has no "unequivocal duty" to enforce such a restriction.

The ruling is the latest victory for the town regarding the controversial property, which has also survived other lawsuits.

An abutter to the site, Michael Sargent, lost a Land Court lawsuit against the Planning Board of Historic District Commission. Resident Richard McClure also sued, and lost, challenging the Zoning Board Approval of the development.

The State Ethics Commission closed an investigation into allegations of cronyism in 2011, finding no basis for complaints of favoritism by town officials. The parcel, also known as the Emerson property, is owned by the family of former Selectman Philip Eliopoulos.


A recall attempt in 2011 of four selectmen who voted in favor of the 9 North Road project was also unsuccessful.

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