Bassa Case Bounces Back to Court

MOUNT DESERT — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has dismissed the town’s appeal of a Superior Court ruling involving conditions placed on the operation of Bassa Cocina restaurant in Northeast Harbor.

The court ruled that there is not yet a final decision to appeal.

But the town’s attorney in the case, Durward Parkinson, says he doesn’t think the court understands the consequences of its decision, and has filed a motion for reconsideration.

“These are rarely granted, but there is no harm in trying,” he said in an e-mail to town manager Durlin Lunt.

The case has been bouncing back and forth between the town and the courts for four years.

In a decision issued March 12 of this year, Justice Kevin Cuddy ruled that, although the language in the two sections of the LUZO cited by the planning board is “warm and reassuring,” it is “unconstitutionally vague such that it would not be possible for a person of common intelligence to reasonably understand what conduct is required.”

Justice Cuddy sent the case back to the planning board with instructions to issue a new conditional use permit without the contested restrictions. But the board of selectmen voted March 23 to appeal that decision to the Law Court.

In a ruling dated Nov. 2, the Law Court found that, because the planning board has not yet reconsidered Bassa’s conditional use permit application, “the judgment is not final” and, therefore, the town’s appeal is premature.

But Mr. Parkinson, in the town’s request for reconsideration filed Nov. 16, told the Law Court, “The irony in this case is that from the outset, the ultimate issue has always been the constitutional validity of the two challenged ordinance provisions. However, if this court’s recent decision stands, the town is left without any way of getting a final determination on that very issue. Moreover, a determination on the merits would effectively resolve this case.”

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