Legend has it that centuries ago, a member of the Knights Templar travelled across the Atlantic here to Westford. This month, the legend of the Westford Knight added a new chapter, a chapter focused on land use laws.
Recently a petition aiming to preserve a stone carving believed to have been left by the knight on Depot Street near the Abbot School has sprung up following a dispute from neighbors over a covering for the monument approved by the Westford Zoning Board of Appeals.
The petition, spearheaded by Westford Knight Committee member David Brody, has grown to over 500 signatures since it was started on Aug. 25, and is hoping to dissuade the neighbors opposing the covering, Brian and Cheryl McLarney, from their decision to pursue legal action to stop the project, which was planned by a local Eagle Scout candidate.
Although Brody, , understands that the McLarneys are well within their rights to appeal the ZBA approval of the project in late July, which they did on the last day of the appeal period, he hopes that they can be persuaded to change their mind on the issue.
“Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do,” said Brody.
The McClarneys have stated they did not receive the notice about the ZBA hearing on the proposed monument due to a trip out of the country when the meeting occurred, and feel that the monument, which is located directly across from their driveway, could be constructed in a more aesthetically pleasing manner while also serving the purpose of protecting the Westford Knight stone from the elements.
“If protection is the main idea, then there are much more effective ideas, diverting the water at ground level is much more effective than a gazebo-like structure,” said Cheryl McClarney. “It’s a beautiful monument the way it is, there’s a beautiful canopy of trees and there’s a beautiful granite monument, it’s in keeping with the aesthetics of the town. I would support protecting the stone, but it has to be done in a way that protects the rights of nearby land owners.”
The appeal names all the members of the Zoning Board as defendants along with the Eagle Scout, Daniel McKeen, and the homeowners who have the stone on their property, Sandra and Sean Morrison.
Barring a compromise between the two parties, the case will be heard at the Middlesex County Land Court later this month.