ROCKPORT – A state judge on Monday (January 3) quashed the building permit issued for a near-completed 26-room downtown hotel.
Judge Bruce Mallonee refused to issue a court injunction to prevent construction from continuing. Justice Mallonee said in his ruling that he expects the city and the developer to adhere to the ruling.
The neighbor’s lawyer who filed the lawsuit asked the judge to order the dismantling of this hotel.
“The court rescinds the approval of the 20 Central Street building permit by the code enforcement officer and its de novo approval by the Zoning Appeal Board and revokes the building permit. The application is referred to the code enforcement officer for further consideration by the planning board in response to the judgment, ”Justice Mallonee said in the decision.
Mallonee ruled on Dec. 2 that two petition-based ordinance changes approved by voters in August 2020 should apply to the new hotel. One of these two new municipal laws set a ceiling of 20 rooms. The other requires that an independent study be conducted to approve offsite and shared parking.
Justice Mallonee said in his Dec. 3 ruling that the town planning council must meet again and consider whether the balconies are in keeping with the architecture of the city center. In addition, the judge said the planning council should look at the parking exemption granted years ago at the nearby Union Hall and examine the Sandy’s Way parking lot to determine how much of it was shared with other people. other businesses and the public.
Developer Stuart Smith said on Monday he was waiting for his lawyer and the city attorney to review the decision. The construction team is tampering with the building, he said. The project will return to the Planning Council in January, but he said the review could take a month or two. Smith said he expects council to approve the project following another review requested by the judge.
Smith said that between the city and the company, legal fees cost $ 250,000 to $ 300,000.
Rockport Town manager Jon Duke said he sees no reason to issue a stop work order as the developer will appear before the planning board as early as this month. He said legal fees for the city have reached $ 120,000.
“It has been a costly undertaking to support our city councils and our ordinances,” said Duke.
Smith said it was horrible that the “so-called Friends of Rockport” had cost the town so much money. He said the money could have been better spent, such as improvements to the nearby municipal park.
The town planning council approved the project in February 2020. The municipal assembly vote that approved the new ordinances had been delayed due to restrictions related to COVID-19.