Developer sues over zoning

August 30, 2006

A developer who wanted to restore a historic gatehouse in Northeast Baltimore has filed a $20 million lawsuit in federal court in Baltimore, alleging that the city "wrongfully manipulated its zoning process" and denied his company an opportunity to put offices in the octagonal structure.

The suit, filed by Center Development Corp., says the city breached its lease when it terminated a 50-year lease on the property in Clifton Park. The city said in November that the developer had missed a deadline to begin construction, one of a series of delays since 2002.

The Lake Clifton Gatehouse, which was built in 1888, is on the National Register of Historic Places, listed as an example of Gothic Revival architecture.

The developer's suit says the city wrongfully ended the lease because the zoning board refused to approve plans for offices "even though the city required that it be used for that purpose."

Baltimore City Solicitor Ralph S. Tyler did not return phone calls seeking comment. City officials said in November that the developer wanted government oversight kept to an unacceptable minimum.

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