Judge rules on Champlin’s mediation with CRMC
The long-awaited decision on the validity of the mediation between Champlin’s Marina and the R.I Coastal Resources Management Council was delivered on Sept.9, although there is still no resolution in the matter.
Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Lanphear was tasked with determining whether that mediation, which resulted in a memorandum of understanding in December of 2020 that granted Champlin’s the right to an expansion of its marina, was proper. The mediation was conducted without the participation of the Town of New Shoreham and the other intervenors in the court case that has dragged on for 18 years and is now in Supreme Court. The other intervenors include the Committee for the Great Salt Pond, the Block Island Land Trust, the Block Island Conservancy and R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha.
The town chose not to participate in the mediation and argued it was led to believe that the mediation would not go forward without its participation. Judge Lanphear, in his written decision called this a “tactical move,” and that the others parties had the right to mediate without them.
The town and intervenors also claimed they were not given notice that the mediation would still occur, however Lanphear wrote: “This court finds that sufficient actual notice was given.”
But what of the settlement itself? Judge Lanphear wrote: “However, the objectors to the MOU have a right to be heard before a court if it is considering adopting that MOU as a judgement…This court finds that another hearing is necessary to allow for an opportunity to be heard.”