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Judge issues restraining order to prevent building permit for hotel

By Stephen Betts | Jan 09, 2021
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle Site work began in October at the 20 Central St. lot in Rockport, where a new hotel is planned.

Rockport — A state judge issued a temporary order Jan. 8, restraining the town of Rockport from issuing a building permit for the proposed hotel in Rockport village.

Justice Bruce Mallonee signed the order that was requested on behalf of the Friends of Rockport and registered Rockport voters Clare Tully, Mark Schwarzmann and John Priestley.

The order remains in effect until a hearing can be held for arguments to made by both sides. A hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13 in the Knox County court.

"The Court hereby finds that Plaintiffs have met their burden pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 65 to demonstrate that issuance by the Town of Rockport for a building permit related to the hotel proposed for 20 Central St., Rockport will cause them irreparable harm, that such harm exceeds any harm to the Defendant and Party-in-Interest, and that the Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of this case.

"I therefore order that the Town of Rockport be temporarily restrained from issuing a building permit for the proposed hotel at 20 Central Street LLC until such time as the Court may hold a hearing on the requested preliminary injunction and/or the merits of the case.

"Party-in-Interest 20 Central Street LLC shall further be temporarily restrained from undertaking construction activities related to proposed hotel, whether with or without a building permit," the order states.

The motion for the temporary restraining order was filed by the group's attorney Kristin Collins.

The ruling comes two days after the Rockport Zoning Board of Appeals took several votes finding that the Rockport Planning Board did not err in its various decisions while considering the proposed downtown hotel project.

The Zoning Board plans to meet again Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. to finalize findings of fact and finish its work.

The Planning Board approved the 26-room hotel proposed by Stuart, Marianne and Tyler Smith at 20 Central St. at a Feb. 27, 2020 meeting.

The Friends of Rockport and the residents opposed to the hotel filed appeals to the Zoning Board.

Site work at the property began in October.

The opponents to the project contend the construction process will cause noise, dust and general disruption of the peace and enjoyment of their living and working nearby the construction site. They also contend the hotel once built will cause noise and light pollution, aesthetic impacts and impacts on an already overburdened parking and traffic situation.


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Comments (4)
Posted by: Steven D Bryant | Jan 11, 2021 15:40

Thank you Allen. Your kind words I know come from the heart. And you, knowing my health issues I tell you bring an awesome spirit to my day. Love you brother. (and fellow true Rockport resident)

Posted by: Allen Mitchell | Jan 11, 2021 14:48

Steve, I'm with you guy. These people who have grouped together, to stop growth and job potential don't get it. I think we all should know how each of them are being hurt from this. It can't be loss of view, cause half of them can't see the harbor from their house. I know one of them works across the street, but he should be working, not daydreaming. Others are just being good to their friends, and tagging on to their position. I think it would be good to have a down town hotel that new out of towners or friends of friends can stay a few nights. This hotel would also help support other businesses like restaurants, marina's, Opera House, etc. This will help all Rockport residences by sharing the tax burden. I think the Friends of Rockport should become the Friends of Rockport and drop this nonsense.

Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 09, 2021 20:52

Mr. Bryant: I bet there are a lot of people that agree with you. I have nothing in this event except having been beaten to death with the vicious claws of an errant code office I can only wonder why this project has been allowed to progress without a permit. Would it not be appropriate to have all the ducks in a row with such an investment? I wonder who gets goosed in the end? There is a line drawn at many of the magnificent accomplishments you mention, basically money. I would guess many locals can not afford to "enjoy" these accomplishments. However, if there is a demand and the market is governed by demand and supply in either direction some things have to change, and and when the work is done the clouds will clear and life will go on with all of its ups and downs. By the way, with the rise in taxes in Rocklandia we may all well start moving out 25 miles to greener pastures to die.

Posted by: Steven D Bryant | Jan 09, 2021 18:14

OMG...I consider myself a lifetime resident of Rockport having spent the best part of 60 years loving the town where I grew up. Most of the names I'm reading on the "bitchin list" have nothing to do but try to stop what ultimately will be one of Stewart's and Marianne's most beautiful venues. Have any of you spent a night at 16 Bayview? Walked through Maine Sport lately? Seen any of their construction projects in action to fix a piece of #×<>#* property? Are you paying attention to their plan of another beautiful property in Rockland?

Probably the same people bitched about Cellardoor Winery events on the waterfront that brought 100s of thousands of dollars into the local workforce economy. Did they bitch about the beautiful library and all its noise and dust? Is the finished building aesthetically pleasing. Do you think the Smiths would do anything less.

Here's a tip for those of you who just need to complain to hear yourselves whine.  Covid 19 has sent real-estate prices soaring. SELL YOUR DAMN HOME, BUY SOMETHING 25 MILES OUT OF TOWN AND COME BACK WHEN THE WORK IS DONE.

Otherwise be a true member of the town we all call home and quit being a transplant with no love of anything besides making life difficult. It's called progress and it's needed to survive.

To the Smiths I say go for it. I hope you don't give in to transplant demands.

My wife and I were married on the Rockport waterfront. Physical ailments don't allow me to enjoy the town beauty any longer. But I sure hope to see your awesome hotel through to completion. All the best.

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