ROCKLAND — A Rockland businessman has asked the court to prohibit Rockland Masonic Temple, Inc. from having concrete barriers block access to a road and parking area that had been used for decades by the public.

Ari Hecht filed the complaint Thursday, Sept. 15 in the Knox County court against the Rockland Masons.

Hecht owns several properties in Rockland, including one at 8 Lindsey St.

The Masons, who own the Rockland Masonic Temple at 456 Main St., had concrete barriers placed in July 2019 along the property line in back of its building. The barriers blocked vehicle access to a one fifth-acre parking lot at 5 Lindsey St. rear owned by Ellen Barnes for nearly 20 years until she sold it in May 2022 to Hecht.

The lot had been used by neighboring businesses and guests of the Captain Lindsey House Inn on Lindsey Street.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare that a private prescriptive easement has been vested in the Rockland Masonic Temple’s property and to prohibit the organization from keeping the barriers there.

For more than 21 years, the parking had been used for general public parking, parking for guests at the Lindsey House, a place to dump excess snow, access to the basement storage area of 8 Lindsey St. and a cut through for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also seeks removal of a fence, $7,000 in damages, court costs and reasonable attorneys fees.

In 2019, Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell tried to mediate an agreement between the Masons and the neighboring businesses, but was unsuccessful.

The lot can hold at least a dozen vehicles.

In 2019, Mason Colin Grierson of South Thomaston said the barriers were placed there on the advice of the Masons’ attorney. He said the action was not taken out of spite toward neighbors.

There is a passageway that has been used for generations leading from Lindsey Street and going in back of the Masonic Temple. That land, however, is not a public right-of-way, but is owned by the Masonic Temple, Grierson said in 2019.

The Masons had the property surveyed that year and he said the group’s attorney recommended that the organization “secure” its property lines. The Masons followed that advice, he said.

The parcel in yellow is the parking lot owned by Hecht.

The parking lot that is blocked by barriers.