Fox Hill investors seek lawsuit dismissal
Camden — In U.S. District Court May 23, attorneys representing Fox Hill investors and McLean Hospital filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by neighbors of the 235 Bay View St. property.
"The neighbors' vague, baseless and ironic misuse of the statute should be rejected," the motion states, referring to the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Investors in Fox Hill are seeking to establish a high-end alcohol and substance abuse treatment center on a 13-acre property in Camden. Following a lengthy Planning Board process, selectmen rejected a special exception zoning change that would have allowed a 12-bed facility in the Coastal-Residential zone. Attorneys for the investors then announced a scaled down plan they say falls under a "Community Living Arrangement."
"Without a trace of embarrassment, they have sought to stop the project by invoking the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), a statute intended to prevent precisely the sort of discrimination they are now advocating. Specifically, the plaintiffs are asking this court to declare that certain disabled people ("wealthy" ones) are not protected by the FHA — and that the neighbors and/or the town of Camden may therefore discriminated against them and deny them the opportunity to run a residential treatment facility." the motion argues.
The court paperwork also states the town has taken no action to prevent Fox Hill's establishment as a community living arrangement: "Absent any contrary ruling or interference by the town, Fox Hill and McLean are proceeding with the early stages of the project."
The motion to dismiss claims the plaintiffs — Undercliff Cottage LLC, The Phelan 2006 Family Trust, Charles and Julie Cawley, Parker S. Laite Sr. and Friends of Camden Maine LLC — lack standing as well.
"Private plaintiffs do not have standing to bring a suit to enforce a local ordinance 'even if it was determined that [the defendants] [were] in violation of the ordinance'," the motion reads, citing Herrle v. Town of Waterboro. Court paperwork states action must be brought by the municipality.
Additionally, the motion states the plaintiffs' relief request is "insolubly ambiguous" and names several points the court could address.
"The plaintiffs' rambling description of the 'proposed Bay View Property facility' suggest that what they really don't want -- behind all the talk of wealth -- is recovering alcoholics or drug addicts of any kind in their neighborhood," the motion states.
Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.