No decision made in Summerville hotel project lawsuit

No decision made in Summerville hotel project lawsuit

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - There was no decision made Tuesday afternoon on the pending lawsuit between residents in Summerville against current and former town officials.

Several groups, including the Summerville Preservation Society, joined residents suing over the controversial hotel project proposed to be built in the historic district.

The Dorchester Hotel project would be built on 2.23 acres of land at the corner of South Cedar Street and West Richardson Avenue.

Michael Rose is the attorney representing the 11 who filed the suit in December 2014 and is being aided by the South Carolina Public Interest Foundation. Rose said his clients feel town officials violated federal, state and local laws when it entered a public-private partnership with Applegate & Company on the project.

During the hearing, Rose cited a section of the South Carolina Development Law several times. His clients believe the town of Summerville violated that section of the law by creating The Dorchester project plan before an official redevelopment commission was established.

"It created a project before it even created a vision plan," Rose said. "They used a misnomer in a vision plan when people would have no way of knowing it ultimately would become a redevelopment plan."

Many people in Summerville have shown opposition to the project for several years. Summerville Preservation Society President Heyward Hutson feels the project is too massive for that area of town.

"This project promises to destroy a major portion of the historic district," he said.

Meanwhile the defense continues to fight the lawsuit and said they followed protocol when it came to the law. The attorney for town officials, Tim Domin, said officials admitted that a plan was created before a redevelopment commission was formed, but added they didn't want to waste taxpayers money on creating a brand new plan when one was already put together.

While no decision was made Tuesday both sides are looking forward to the outcome.

"We're in it for the long haul and we expect to prevail in the end," Hutson said.

The judge did not set a time line for when a decision would be made.

Construction on the proposed hybrid hotel, condominium, restaurant, parking garage and convention center has been at a standstill because of the lawsuit.
The defense has also filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff, South Carolina Public Interest Foundation, from the case.

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