ROCKPORT — Despite the ongoing court dispute over permits and legal appeals, the developers of the new Rockport Harbor Hotel, on Central Street in Rockport Village, are opening its doors January 21 and 22 from noon until 2 p.m. for those wanting to tour the construction site.
Stuart Smith, owner of the hotel, said Jan. 17 that the target opening date of the hotel is early 2023. The exterior is anticipated to be finished this coming spring.
“We would like to invite you, your family and friends to join us for an open house to see the construction progress in person..... During the open house you will see the hotel’s front façade, including detailed brick and granite work, and get a chance to walk through the interior where we have started guest room framing, and the lobby lounge located and top floor restaurant, which both will be open to the public and guests for light fare and refreshments,” he said. “So please join us for a walk-through and a harbor view.”
In early January, Knox County Justice Bruce Mallonee directed the Rockport Planning Board to reconsider a site plan application for the hotel, and reversed approval of the hotel’s building permit. The Planning Board is due to revisit the application Jan. 27.
The judgment followed his Dec. Dec. 1 order remanding the town’s approval of the hotel back to the Rockport Planning Board to address parking issues and the architectural harmony of the building.
Smith said Jan. 17 that work has been suspended following the court action, which, “has forced the Town to revoke our building permit for 26 rooms and has told us that we must retroactively apply new ordinance requirements reducing our room count to 20 guest rooms.”
He said there will likely be an appeal to the Maine Supreme Court of the judge’s Superior Court decision.
In a letter to supporters, Smith invited them to the open house, and encouraged that letters be written to the Rockport Planning Board and local media in support of the hotel.
“It would be very helpful to show the Planning Board the same support that we have heard directly from many of you over the past year as the building has taken shape and the appearance of the historic brick work, arches, granite foundation, balconies, mansard slate roof and granite window and door details have come together,” he wrote.
“Many thanks to all who have often stopped to express kind words towards us and the craftsmen working on the hotel. Your support is appreciated, and we are committed to making this hotel a welcoming community hub that we and many others have envisioned since the idea was first proposed to us. We look forward to the hotel providing a year-round vitality that the Village needs to help support the few restaurants, shops and Bay Chamber Concerts. The hotel will provide a beautiful building that when open will be a welcoming gathering place for visitors, locals and their friends and family relatives that come to visit and need ‘their own space’ while enjoying the Rockport Village community.”