(Jan. 10, 2014) A court appeal against the city’s favorable ruling on a Boardwalk development project has been dropped, paving the way for new construction in a key resort location.
A group of unit owners from the El Capitan condominium, located on the Boardwalk at 4th Street, had filed a challenge in Worcester County Circuit Court against a decision by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals, granting a setback exemption for new construction at the Hampton House.
As of this week, however, the case has been closed after the parties involved submitted a stipulation of dismissal.
Russell Dashiell, the attorney representing El Capitan, declined to comment on the matter.
Sunsations chain owner Avi Sibony was granted a special exemption from the Boardwalk zoning district’s 32-foot front setback requirement, allowing for a 20-foot setback on the building he is proposing to replace the Hampton House, which is currently a temporary Sunsations, located on the boards between 4th and 5th Street
Despite previous proposals for the property which would’ve required larger exceptions or variances, the building footprint approved by the BZA will be a single-story establishment with two separate storefronts and parking beneath the building, accessible from the alley behind.
The BZA ruled, in a 3-2 decision, that the exemption was warranted given that the buildings immediately north and south of the Hampton House also have sub-standard setbacks, and Sibony’s proposed facility will not change the character of the neighborhood given the building lines that had already been established prior to the imposition of the current setback code.
The new building, the BZA found, would likely not even be visible from the windows of the El Capitan and other Boardwalk residences.
However, El Capitan residents had voiced opposition given that their building does conform to the 32-foot setback, and were concerned that further out-of-code development would worsen foot and vehicle traffic on their block.
Prior to his presentation to the BZA, Sibony had already modified his plans for the new project to include all of the required parking. In a previous hearing, objection from El Capitan owners had spurred the BZA to not approve a parking exception for De Lazy Lizard, which had planned to install a brew pub in the Lambros Apartments building, which sits in between the Hampton House and the El Capitan.