Benjamin Wish is representing a Haitian couple in a federal civil rights lawsuit against a Massachusetts town that rejected a proposed condominium development on their property.
The couple assert that the Town of Natick and its Planning Board discriminated against them based on race, color, and national origin in denying their application for the condo development.
“The Planning Board’s acquiescence to and direct support of the South Natick neighbors’ efforts to prevent the ‘attack’ of the [couple] as Haitian people of color upon their suburb amounts to a text book violation of [their] rights under the Fair Housing Act and their equal protection and due process rights,” Mr. Wish told the Metrowest Daily News.
The couple allege that town officials in denying their application supported the neighbors’ racially motivated opposition to the proposed condo project.
The couple also allege that the town established unprecedented hurdles in an effort to thwart their development of the property, including holding more public hearings by the Planning Board than for any other projects of similar scope, as well as “invented ambiguities” related to a historic preservation zoning bylaw change that permitted the couple to pursue their application for the project.