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Aug. 8, 2020 | Saturday
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Marotta to appeal court decision on Rand Estate heritage designation
A revised site plan for the Rand Estate shows the current estate building beside a proposed new hotel and conference centre. (Supplied)

Benny Marotta and his companies are appealing a Superior Court decision to dismiss an application to quash heritage designation on all four Rand Estate properties, The Lake Report has learned.

The companies, Solmar Development Corp. and Two Sisters Resorts Corp., filed the appeal documents on Wednesday.

The properties in question have been contentious since Marotta revealed plans for a hotel and subdivision. An opposing resident group called Save Our Rand Estate has been very vocal about its stance against the proposed developments, and was awarded party status in the case.

Marotta says now he wants the decision to be made outside of Niagara, in a Toronto court.

He says he believes the Superior Court made “several serious errors of law and fact in rejecting our argument that the heritage attributes identified by the Town are impermissibly vague.”

Whether or not the appeal will hold, he said “It would be presumptuous to say the least to speculate on the outcome of a proceeding before the province’s highest Court.”

The initial written judgement by the Superior Court said the matter should be taken to the review board because it’s the current channel for developers. When asked why he wouldn’t let the Conservation Review Board handle the case, Marotta’s lawyer Michael Melling said it’s because the review board “has no jurisdiction to make a finding of illegality,” in an email response to questions.

Last week Marotta told The Lake Report he is interested in working with the town on the hotel design plans for the Rand Estate. When asked if he thinks the appeal might cause a further rift between the town and his companies, Melling said Marotta has made three written settlement proposals to the town.

“(The proposals) amply demonstrate our clients’ desire to work collaboratively with the town and resolve all of the issues. We remain hopeful that this will happen, if the town comes to the table,” Melling said.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said council hasn’t had an opportunity to speak with the town’s legal counsel since the court decision was rendered.

“We’ll be doing that soon, and making whatever decisions we need to at that point,” Disero said.

“I don’t like to prejudge anything, and I don’t like to put out a position until I’ve talked to my lawyers,” she said.

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