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NEWTON, MA-Nearly 10 years after it first came up the plan, Boston College received court approval to expand its campus in Chestnut Hill. The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the state’s Land Court decision that would allow the college, which has a Jesuit tradition, to put up three buildings on its middle campus.

Jack Dunn, a spokesperson for Boston College, tells GlobeSt.com that in the mid 1990s the college came up with a plan to tear down a building and replace it with three interconnected ones. The proposal won the approval of a simple majority of Newton’s Board of Aldermen, but the special permit the plan needed required a super majority of two-thirds of the Aldermen, which it didn’t get.

The college filed a suit claiming unreasonable zoning under the Dover amendment–legislation that was created in 1950s to prevent towns from barring religious and educational institutions from building. The college won its suit more than two years ago, but the town appealed.

But the story is not over yet. The town can still appeal this decision and George Mansfield, acting president of the Board of Aldermen, tells GlobeSt.com that the board is meeting on Sept. 2 to vote on whether it will. Mansfield says that it is unclear where the board–which now has a different composition than it did when it made the vote on the original permit application–stands now, especially since it hasn’t taken a vote on the issue in all these years. Mansfield does note, though, that some new board members might vote to appeal, even if they don’t agree with the decision, only to uphold the decision of the previous board.

Whether the town decides to appeal or not, Dunn points out that the college’s original plans for the site are going to have to be reevaluated. “The plan that we proposed is over 10 years old,” he says. “We have no immediate plans for construction.” Dunn adds that the fact that this has been such a drawn-out process has increased the cost of the project. “It’s been a frustrating process,” he notes.

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