Environmental Court accepts settlement in Old Lantern zoning dispute with neighbors

From left to right Roland Gaujac, Paul and Tracie Cassarino, artist Patricia Caffrey and husband, Lisa Gaujac and in front Madeliene Bailleux.

“We are finally done!”
~ Lisa Gaujac

Lisa and Roland Gaujac of the Old Lantern have settled their dispute with Adrian and Alison Wolverton. In an order announced on June 7 by the Vermont Superior Court Environmental Division, the Gaujacs withdrew their motion for sanctions against the Wolvertons and their lawyer, James Dumont, for abuse of judicial process; the Court revoked its order of sanctions; and the Wolvertons withdrew their appeal of the Court’s decision on the merits of the case. 

As a result, the Court’s April 4 decision for the Old Lantern continues to qualify as a legal pre-existing nonconforming use as a year-round, indoor and outdoor wedding and event facility stands and is in full force and effect. That decision, in turn, upheld an earlier holding by Charlotte’s zoning administrator and Zoning Board of Adjustment denying an appeal by the Wolvertons and other neighbors of the Old Lantern that the facility was operating in violation of applicable town zoning regulations and should be required to secure applicable zoning approvals for its continued operation. 

Following the April 4 decision in its favor, The Old Lantern had asked the court to sanction the Wolvertons and Dumont for abusing the judicial process, specifically for appealing the decision of the Zoning Board “and after two years of motions and discovery and trial preparation, coming to trial and declining to offer any evidence to support their appeal of the Zoning Board’s decision.” The court had set a June 11 hearing date to receive evidence supporting a potential monetary penalty against Dumont and the Wolvertons. 

In response to the court’s June 7 decision, the Gaujacs said, “We are pleased with the final outcome of the court decision and hope it finally puts an end to further challenges to our continued use of the Old Lantern as an event, wedding and community facility. We look forward to focusing on our business and community service. Also, we truly thank all those in the town and surrounding communities that supported us through all the challenges. We look forward to seeing you at the Old Lantern.”

Lisa Gaujac, in an email to The News expressing relief that the long legal process is finally over, added, “We will be celebrating by hanging a quilt made for us by a friend called ‘Home.’ It’s 15 feet tall and we will be hanging it, drinking a glass of champagne, and celebrating their wedding anniversary.”