The owner of the eco-village housing development shut down for health and safety code violations is no longer a defendant in a lawsuit brought by former renters.
Hillsborough Superior Court Judge Diane Nicolosi found that Akhil Garland acted in his official capacity as president of Utopia Living Inc., and as a representative for the Garland Family Trust, when his actions resulted in the Town of Peterborough evicting dozens of people from their homes two weeks before Christmas.
Nicolosi gave the plaintiffs in the case 90 days to file a new complaint to try and include Garland personally as a defendant in the case.
Peterborough shut down Walden, the eco-village housing development, after finding serious safety issues like improper gas and electrical hookups as well as numerous unpermitted buildings on the 50-acre property. The town inspected the property because Garland was trying to get permission to expand the development.
Last month, Garland successfully added the town as a defendant in the case, arguing the town’s official inspections caused the residents to be homeless.
The development was first set up as a home for teachers who worked at the adjacent Well School, which was founded by Garland’s father, Jay Garland. The school is no longer associated with the property.