Westbrook’s mayor and city council president said this week the city was moving toward a resolution to a dispute with developer Tim Flannery over the use of one of the largest public parking lots in Westbrook.

The issue centers on a letter from former Mayor Don Esty promising Flannery the use of nearly half of the so-called “CVS” lot between Main Street and William Clarke Drive.

The letter was never brought to the City Council for approval. Councilors only recently became aware of the existence of the letter when it came up in an executive session.

Mayor Bruce Chuluda said that the City Council is working with Flannery to come up with a solution to solve the problem in the best interest of both Flannery and the city. “We’re working very hard to come up with a solution to this problem to meet Tim’s needs as well as the city’s,” he said.

Chuluda said was not ready to disclose the nature of those discussions. “We’ve got things in motion,” he said.

City Council President Jim Violette said he did not want to comment on the executive session discussions, other than to say that no solution has been reached. “There’s been no resolution yet on the parking issue,” Violette said. “However, things are moving positively towards a resolution between Flannery Properties and the city.”


In his Dec. 3, 2002 letter, Esty said he was responding to a request by Disability RMS for the city to provide a list of what it would provide to the new office building. The last item on the list discusses the extra parking spaces.

“The city will reserve up to 90 spaces of parking in the so-called ‘CVS’ lot for use by the company,” Esty wrote.

The Esty letter was not discussed publicly at the time it was written, and the extra spaces in the parking lot are not addressed in a lease agreement for the municipal parking garage between Flannery and the city that was signed on June 19, 2003.

Chuluda has previously said that he felt that because the letter was written without council knowledge or approval, it was non-binding. While he still feels that the letter was not properly handled, Chuluda said he didn’t feel it would be in the city’s best interest to test the enforceability of Esty’s letter in court. He said that any legal challenge could serve as a detriment to the future economic development of the city.

“I think there’s a feeling, right or wrong, that we’ve got to find a way to honor the letter put out there by the mayor,” he said.

“He (Esty) was the chief executive of the city. It was done, and, hopefully, we can move on,” Chuluda said. “We need to get past this, whether it was right or wrong.”

Flannery was unavailable for comment for this story.

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