March 30, 2021
Dear Holyoke City Council,
We are profoundly disturbed to report that on Alex Morse’s final day in office his administration approved a 48 occupant medical facility in a R1 residential neighborhood at 11 Yale St. This permit was signed by the appointed building commissioner Damian Cote, all while the city is furiously fighting a group of Holyoke residents in court to assure the development will proceed. Of course all of this at the tax-payers expense. See Certificate of Occupancy.
Councilor Rebecca Lisi, the wife of Mr. Cote and political protege of Alex Morse, has stonewalled this issue in the Ordinance Committee of the city council, which she chairs. This stonewalling compelled councilor Mike Sullivan to refer this issue to the ordinance committee for a rare second time. Still there is silence from councilor Lisi, who is also running for mayor. I think it is now clear that the Lisi/Cote alliance has decided that we must accept a 48 occupant medical facility in any of our residential neighborhoods.
This is an outrage and dead wrong for the city. We are asking the new interim Mayor, Todd McGee, to immediately withdraw the City of Holyoke from legal proceedings on behalf of the defendant Mental Health Association (MHA), Inc. We are further asking that all Mayoral aspirants make clear their position on this issue so the voters can decide what they want their city to be like in the future.
As of this writing the litigation is ongoing and MHA is proceeding with the Yale street project at their own risk, with full support from the City’s Legal Department at taxpayer expense. MHA has asked for summary judgment and this will be decided in the coming months. We hope the neighbors who are fighting this legal battle on their own will prevail.
We are asking Citizens for Holyoke supporters to urge our new interim Mayor, our city councilors and those running for mayor, to speak and act decisively to protect our city’s residential neighborhoods from large medical facilities such as the Yale Street project.