Walsh: Communities shouldn’t worry about resignations from ZBA

Mayor Martin Walsh said Sunday the three resignations from the Zoning Board of Appeals in the last week, two on Friday and another at the beginning of the week, should not be a cause of concern for the public.

“I don’t think communities should worry the ZBA is not fully staffed because most of the projects, a lot of the projects in front of the ZBA are individual homeowners and property owners trying to extend bathrooms, and decks and roof decks and things like that,” Walsh said at a rededication for the South Boston Vietnam Memorial at Medal of Honor Park.

ZBA members Marie St. Fleur and Bruce Bickerstaff resigned Friday after Walsh issued an executive order barring city employees or members of boards or their immediate family members from participating in marijuana businesses that are seeking approval from Boston.

St. Fleur holds a stake in Union Twist, which is seeking to sell recreational marijuana in Allston, and Bickerstaff co-owns Silver Therapeutics, which is looking to open a recreational pot shop in Roslindale.

At a hearing last week, ZBA Chairman Christine Araujo also announced that Craig Galvin, a Dorchester real estate agent, resigned from the board, which left the Sept. 10 meeting with just a five-member board.

The departures from the board come just weeks after former City Hall bureaucrat John Lynch pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge for receiving $50,000 from a developer for influencing the approval of a permit for the developer’s property before the ZBA.

The conviction of Lynch prompted an investigation by Walsh, who brought in former federal prosecutor Brian Kelly to investigate whether there has been any further misconduct in the city’s planning office. Walsh also hired law firm Sullivan & Worcester LLP to review the operations of the ZBA.

Walsh said most of the work the ZBA deals with regards “the average everyday citizen” and not large developments across the city.

The mayor’s special adviser, William “Buddy” Christopher, has also stepped down to avoid any conflict with the probes. Christopher previously oversaw the department responsible for providing recommendations to the ZBA, and was an architect on the project at the center of the bribery scandal.

Last week, City Council President Andrea Campbell called for the establishment of an inspector general position in the city to “root out corruption” in the wake of the scandal.

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