WOONSOCKET â€“ A new application to convert stately St. Francis House into apartments has been filed by the same developer who already has a $3 million lawsuit pending against the city in a dispute over his rights to the property.
Gary Fernandes wants permission from the Zoning Board of Review to convert the former assisted living center into 18 apartments, 10 more than he is currently allowed.
A hearing is scheduled for July 9, but Fernandesâ€™ lawyer, Michael Kelly, vowed to lodge another lawsuit against the cash-strapped city if the Zoning Board cites the pending litigation as a reason not to hear the petition.
â€śIt will be against them personally,â€ť said Kelly. â€śSeeing as how theyâ€™re busted out Iâ€™ll go after their personal assets.â€ť
Kelly said the zoning board does not have the discretion to pass on the application because more than a year has elapsed since the panel last voted on Fernandesâ€™ most recent plan for St. Francis House. Moreover, Kelly said the Superior Court suit is not an appeal from the Zoning Boardâ€™s decision, but a civil action seeking damages for denial of due process.
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