Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Randy Billings firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND — A dozen West End residents are suing the city and an Australian businessman over a controversial rezoning of the historic Williston-West Church at 32 Thomas St.
The Williston-West Church on Thomas Street in Portland's West End.
John Patriquin / Staff Photographer
The lawsuit contends that the rezoning, which was strongly opposed by the Western Promenade Neighborhood Association, does not conform to the City's Comprehensive Plan and violates state and local conditional rezoning laws.
The lawsuit stems from a June 18 City Council vote to rezone the Williston-West Church to allow Frank Monsour, an Australian businessman who is establishing U.S. headquarters for his Majella Global Technologies company, to renovate the church into a residence, community hall and office space for 14 employees.
At the time, West End residents were concerned the office space and community hall would increase traffic, exacerbate parking problems and adversely affect their historic residential neighborhood.
The lawsuit was filed July 17 in Cumberland County Superior Court. No deadlines have been set for the city and Monsour to respond.
Mary Costigan, an attorney representing Monsour's 32 Thomas Street LLC, which is doing the renovation, said she is confident the court will find the city acted reasonably and was justified in its rezoning.