By Jack Wilson
Local Journalism Initiative
As Ayers’ Cliff town council met June 5, Ripplecove Inn owner Richard Laliberté chided officials for not “collaborating” with his efforts to develop his property. The council is proposing changes to zoning rules which Laliberté said will impede his plans.
“We are in the process of developing and this directly targets that development,” said Laliberté, who dominated the nearly 40-minute-long opening question period. “We’ve just put $43 million [into the project] and we weren’t even consulted,” he said. Laliberté also criticized council for dragging its feet when responding to his associates’ inquiries.
“Was the goal of your question to get a response?” asked mayor Simon Roy following Laliberté’s diatribe. Roy said his office received an email from Laliberté’s associate in the afternoon of June 2 and responded June 5 at 6:53 p.m., within two business days. Laliberté pointed out that the response came just minutes before the meeting began.
The proposed zoning changes will apply to a zone including Ripplecove Inn and ask applicants to submit their full development plan instead of requesting “12 permits within two years,” Roy said. Laliberté called that requirement “unreasonable.”
With a public consultation coming June 19, council’s “role is to arbitrate,” Roy said, adding that while some views might align with Laliberté’s, some residents might fall on the other side of the issue.