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ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A controversial hotel project in Rockland has gotten the green light from the city's planning board. And at least one of the opposition leaders is happy about it. The project is currently called 250 Main Street. Boat builder Cabot Lyman plans to build a 26-room hotel on the corner of main and Pleasant Streets. Lyman bought the property several years ago, tore down an old four-story building and installed a new foundation. However, the recession and changing plans delayed actual construction plans until now.

Neighbors had objected to the hotel design, saying the 5-story building it was too tall and massive in appearance. But Lyman says he and the architect made design changes because of the opposition, and that helped win approval by the planning board. Board chairman Eric Lautsen says the changed "softened" the appearance of the building, and that the project fully complied with the city's zoning requirements. The Board approved the plan 4-1.

Those changes apparently satisfied at least one of the leading opponents of the project. Debby Atwell tells NEWS CENTER she is "nothing short of thrilled" with the design chances. Atwell says the new design is lower, that several of the most objectionable aspects had been removed, and the rear wall, once concrete in appearance, was now to be covered in terra-cotta colored surface, similar to brick. Atwell says she now believes the hotel will be an asset to the city.

Developer Cabot Lyman says he hopes to start construction this fall and have the hotel open sometime next summer...though he admits that will be "a tight schedule".

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