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RULING LETS SUIT OVER PATIO HOMES ADVANCE

Local homeowners have won a preliminary victory in their court challenge to stop developer Joseph Deck from building "patio homes" in his Riverwalk project.

Lewiston Town Attorney Joseph L. Leone Jr. had argued that the claim against the project and the town should be dismissed because it had not been filed by the 30-day deadline.

But this week, State Supreme Court Justice Ralph A. Boniello denied the town's motion to dismiss the case, concluding that the deadline for petitions challenging site plans is four months, not 30 days.

Boniello specifically stated that the zoning ordinance with the 30-day provision on which the town relied had been repealed in 1991 and never replaced by another ordinance or local law. The period for beginning action, therefore, was four months, he ruled.

Deck originally proposed building more than 300 condominium units between River and Pletcher roads. But the Town Board and the Zoning Board found those plans undesirable and requested modifications.

The revised plan called for 219 small, single-family homes, and sought a reduction in required lot sizes.

Neighbors objected to the small homes, which the developer has called "patio homes."

James and Deborah Quaranto, Richard and Jeanette Falcone, and Kevin and Terri Schultz, all of Pletcher Road, and Ken Parks and Virginia Myers-Parks of Lower River Road filed the lawsuit to block the development.

It asks the court to nullify both the Town Board's April 8 site plan approval and the Zoning Board's July 11 grant of multiple area variances for Riverwalk and to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent construction of the project while the lawsuit is pending.

"Obviously my clients are pleased that Justice Boniello has denied the motion and the court will have the opportunity to address the merits of our challenges," said Arthur J. Giacalone, the plaintiffs' attorney.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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