CONWAY — The developer who seeks to bring a Market Basket supermarket to town says the North Conway Grand Hotel's latest appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court could push the opening back by a matter of months.
Three lawsuits filed by Bellevue Properties, owners of the North Conway Grand, have stalled the project for years. The first two suits were resolved in favor of the town and developer Settlers Green principal Robert Barsamian.
In the third suit, filed last November, Bellevue claimed its easement rights could not be repealed by a 2017 town vote taken to discontinue the road without its written consent.
Carroll County Superior Court Judge Amy Ignatius dismissed the lawsuit in May.
Bellevue asked for reconsideration, and that request was denied Aug. 28.
Its appeal to the N.H. Supreme Court — Bellevue Properties Inc. v 13 Green Street Properties (Settlers) — was filed Sept. 25.
Barsamian said Thursday it's unclear how long the appeal might take but said he thinks less than a year. He said the courts could make a decision quickly after getting the case or they could take much longer. He suspects the courts are backed up because of COVID-19.
"It's like between a month and a year and anything in between," said Barsamian. "We're hoping it's very quick, but we don't have a crystal ball."
Had the hotel given up, a Market Basket store could have been open in North Conway by November 2021.
Barsamian said that within the next 30 days, he will decide whether to proceed with construction regardless of the appeal. He said he likes his chances in this case because Ignatius granted their motion to dismiss, adding it's difficult to prevail on a motion to dismiss.
Bellevue was represented by Roy Tilsley of Bernstein Shur of Manchester and Settlers by Derek Lick of Sulloway & Hollis of Concord.
Peter Malia of Hastings Malia of Fryeburg, Maine represented the town in other cases.
Belleveue's appeal raises the following questions:
• Did the trial court err in ruling that the appellant's appeal of the Town of Conway’s vote to discontinue a public way (Bellevue Properties, Inc. v. Town of Conway, et. al., Carroll, SS., Docket No.: 212-2017-CV-00134 & Supreme Court Docket No.: 2019-0302) (the "Discontinuance Appeal") barred the present quiet title action against appellees under the doctrine of res judicata (a matter decided)?
• Did the trial court err in ruling that the appellant was required to assert in the discontinuance appeal a right of access in the discontinued public way when those rights arise automatically by operation of law?
• Did the trial court err in ruling that the appellant was required to assert in the discontinuance appeal a right of access in the discontinued public way, when those rights were not in existence because the public way had not yet been discontinued as a matter of law?
• Did the trial court err in ruling that the appellant was required to assert in the discontinuance appeal a right of access in the discontinued public way, when those rights which arise by operation of law were not then threatened by development approvals subsequently sought by appellees or its related entities?
• Did the trial court err when it held that the right of access conferred by RSA 231:43 (III) extends only to owners of land that directly abut a discontinued public way?
• Did the trial court err when it determined that the appellant was not an abutter to McMillan Lane because its property is separated from McMillan Lane by a public way?
• Did the trial court err when it determined that the appellant was not an abutter to McMillan Lane under RSA 231:43 (III) when the appellant was noticed as an abutter by the town of Conway in advance of the proceedings leading up to the town’s vote to discontinue the public way that gave rise to the discontinuance appeal?