The Kinzies appealed the granting of the licenses. A Superior Court judge ruled in the city’s favor in 2012, but the state Appeals Court overturned that decision on Dec. 11, 2013. At that point, the city applied to the Supreme Judicial Court to take up the case. Last week, the high court issued a one-line ruling denying the application without comment.
Cahill said the ruling voids a 40-year lease the city signed with Leone in December. Cahill said the city will likely issue another request for proposals after making changes to the designated port area, the state classification that limits the kind of development that can be done on the waterfront.
Cahill said he met with state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan on Wednesday and is planning to meet with officials from the Office of Coastal Zone Management to discuss changing the designated port area.
“My hope all along is that we’ll have a productive waterfront within a reasonable period of time, with restaurants, shops, more boat slips and meaningful public access,” Cahill said.
Leone said he was “very disappointed” and surprised by the court’s decision but remains optimistic that he can still build a Black Cow restaurant on the site. He said he is scheduled to meet with Cahill on Monday.
“He sounds very positive about having a restaurant on the waterfront, and that’s all I can hope for,” Leone said. “I hope I’m the restaurant. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this. I’d be very disappointed if it was taken away from me after all my hard work.”
The Kinzies’ legal argument hinged on the waterfront’s classification as one of the state’s designated port areas. State laws governing such areas require that they be developed with “water dependent” uses. The rules also allow for someone to file a competing proposal that must be considered if it is more in line with a working waterfront.