Construction can move forward again at a boutique hotel in downtown Rockport after the city issued a new building permit to developers on Friday.
Work on the partially constructed Rockport Harbor Hotel has been on hold since earlier this year when a judge overturned the city’s original permit. But after a court-ordered review of the project by the city’s planning board, as well as the completion of a traffic and parking study, a new planning permit was issued on Friday to the developer, 20 Central Street LLC.
The new permit is for a 20-room hotel, according to Rockport planning and development director Orion Thomas, six fewer rooms than originally authorized.
Opponents have 30 days to appeal the issuance of the permit. An appeal of the planning board’s Feb. 3 decision to let the project go ahead after a review of parking and architectural harmony components of the hotels has already been filed with the city.
The Rockport Harbor Hotel is embroiled in a legal battle shortly after the project was approved two years ago. Over the past year, through a legal appeal and a lawsuit, opponents of the project – a group of residents called the Friends of Rockport – have tried to overturn the city’s approval for the project. hotel, as well as limiting the size of the hotel.
The hotel is being built on what was once a vacant lot wedged between a restaurant and a former cafe in downtown Rockport. When it was originally proposed in 2019, the developers planned to build a 35-room boutique hotel. The number of bedrooms was reduced to 26 after hearing residents’ concerns, although the project would still consume all of the land.
A judge has agreed with opponents that the number of hotel rooms should be capped at 20 and that an independent traffic study should be conducted in accordance with an August 2020 referendum that was approved by Rockport voters .
Kristin Collins, the attorney representing Friends of Rockport, said Monday she has yet to see the building permit.
An email seeking comment from 20 Central Street LLC did not seek an immediate response Monday afternoon.