Lee’s Land­ing re­ceives OK to build float­ing pier

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— Lee’s Land­ing Dock Bar can now move for­ward with its plans to build a new pier, the town’s Board of Ap­peals ruled this week.

Lee’s Land­ing owner David Carey re­ceived per­mis­sion from the town plan­ning com­mis­sion to construct a 265-by-8-foot float­ing pier on July 28, one day af­ter the Mary­land Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment also ap­proved the plan. Neigh­bors of the restau­rant filed an ap­peal of the plan­ning com­mis­sion’s rul­ing soon af­ter though, say­ing they hadn’t been prop­erly no­ti­fied.

At Tues­day night’s meet­ing, Bill Har­ring­ton,

PORT DE­POSIT

chair­man of the board, an­nounced that the ap­peal would be dis­missed be­cause of a lack of stand­ing.

“The ap­peal is dis­missed. There is no stand­ing for the ap­peal,” Har­ring­ton said. “They can now go for­ward with the plans on the ap­pli­ca­tion as they’ve been ap­proved.”

Prior to its rul­ing, Har­ring­ton and fel­low board mem­bers Ava Black­burn and David Leather­wood heard ar­gu­ments on both sides of the plan by the pop­u­lar eatery to ex­pand its dock­ing.

Todd Lochner, the at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Ster­ling Shu­man and his neigh­bors in the New­port Land­ing com­mu­nity of town­houses next door to the restau- rant, said the con­flict was not over the dock it­self, but rather the process. The plan­ning com­mis­sion meet­ing to ap­prove the plan was held just one day af­ter the MDE ap­proval and the neigh­bors said they wanted time to digest the MDE rul­ing be­fore the vote was taken.

“The only is­sue is, Did the town prop­erly no­tify res­i­dents?” Lochner said. “You’re not al­low­ing the pub­lic to be heard.”

How­ever, Vicky Rinker­man, town ad­min­is­tra­tor, noted that the MDE pub­lic hear­ing was held in May and was well at­tended.

But Kevin Pas­cale, the at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Carey, noted Shu­man, the res­i­dent lead­ing the ap­peal, was a vot­ing mem­ber of the plan­ning com­mis­sion when the project gained the town’s ap­proval. As an al­ter­nate mem­ber, Shu­man was called into ac­tion at the meet­ing due to a lack of quo­rum.

“Mr. Shu­man is dis­qual­i­fied to be an ap­pel­lant be­cause he’s a mem­ber of the com­mis­sion,” Pas­cale said. Har­ring­ton agreed. “You can’t ap­peal a de­ci­sion you voted on,” he said.

The ap­proved project is dif­fer­ent from Carey’s orig­i­nal plans for 300 feet of moor­ing, which were changed by MDE, Rinker­man, the town ad­min­is­tra­tor, said.

“There were con­cerns about ingress and egress at Tome’s Land­ing Ma­rina,” Rinker­man said Wed­nes­day.

Carey had to ob­tain a state wet­land per­mit too, she noted.

“The pier is a per­mit­ted use. He’s al­lowed to have it and he went through the per­mit­ting process to get it,” Rinker­man said.

The pier would be open to the pub­lic, com­plete with a pump out sta­tion for boats. The float­ing pier will be in the water from May to De­cem­ber once com­pleted.

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