Judge grants Portland's request for stay in Congress Sq. dispute

4:51 PM, Nov 1, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Petitions for signatures to block the sale of Portland's Congress Square Park will not be issued until next week at the earliest.

Superior Court Justice Humphrey has issued a temporary stay requested by the City of Portland filed in favor of the Friends of Congress Square on Thursday.

The City Council agreed to sell two thirds of the Plaza to the company that is redeveloping the Eastland Park Hotel. It wants to build an events center off the hotel that would cover part of the paved open space.

The city also rejected a citizen petition that would put the plaza and 30 other city properties into a land bank that would have jurisdiction over those public spaces.

The city refused to issue the paperwork for the petitions, arguing that the sale, acquisition and dedication of City property are administrative actions to be decided by the City Council, and may not be the subject of citizens' initiatives.

But a judge disagreed and has ordered the paperwork for the petitions be delivered to the Friends of Congress Square on Thursday afternoon.

On Friday, Justice Humphrey ruled that the City's motion must be heard by the original judge, who was not available on Friday.

As a result of the stay, the City Clerk's office cannot issue petitions requested by the Friends of Congress Square

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