Another lawsuit has been filed in connection to a proposed inn near Mount Pleasant's Old Village, this time over a lease agreement for parking that the business requires.
The proposed 25-room lodging has already sparked multiple legal challenges.
The parking spaces were leased to the developer by the Cassina Group, a real estate company with an office near the hotel site on Hibben Street. The eight spots are critical for the development, which doesn't have room on-site for parking for hotel guests and patrons of a planned restaurant.
Cassina is arguing that its lease with developer Vince Graham's Earls Court LLC is null and void. The real estate firm, which has been criticized by some residents for agreeing to provide the parking spaces, filed its lawsuit with Charleston County Court of Common Pleas last week.
Cassina and Earls Court finalized their lease in November. According to the terms, the hotel could use the spaces between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. every day for a monthly fee of $75 each.
Cassina said it terminated the deal March 2. At that time, a Mount Pleasant zoning board had recently overturned a decision by the town's zoning administrator, effectively removing a barrier for the project to move forward.
Graham maintains that the parking deal is still valid. A representative from Cassina declined to comment because of the pending litigation.
Graham said he sympathizes with the real estate firm, which he said has been the subject of an "intense" campaign of online comments over the parking lease.
The inn, as well as the parking agreement specifically, has been discussed in the Facebook group Save Shem Creek Corp., a group of Mount Pleasant residents, many of whom who are opposed to the inn because of traffic, parking and congestion issues.
"None of this, however, justifies a unilateral termination of a contract," Graham said in a statement.
Earls Court has already filed two lawsuits against the town, and the town has filed its own appeal connected to the project.
A group of residents who live along Patjens Lane, which also would be used for parking for the hotel, also filed appeals with the town and in court, both connected to the developer's parking plan.
The inn has been in the works for about a decade, having received its first approvals in 2011. But the town's zoning rules have since changed, and conflicts have flared up over developments that were approved under the old guidelines, inlcuding the Hibben Street hotel.
Until a few months ago, it seemed like the plans for the project had stalled. The town had denied an extension to the developer's rights to build a hotel on the site.
But a subsequent reversal by a zoning board set the process back in motion, prompting one resident to say to Town Council that the long-delayed project appeared to be getting "a second life."