The renovation of the Harbor View Hotel, more than a decade in the making, remains mired in legal disputes with its neighbors.

The Edgartown zoning board signed off on the Edgartown hotel’s plans to update three cottages and build a new guest house and spa in March of 2023, but that approval was appealed by neighbor Lynn Allegaert a few months later — one of at least five lawsuits involving the hotel and its neighbors in recent years.

The renovation has been talked about going back to 2008, when the hotel’s plans were stalled due to the economic recession. In 2018, the hotel proposed the renovation again, but a change in ownership and the Covid-19 pandemic scuttled the idea.

Work that was recently approved has been on hold for months, costing the hotel more than $3 million, hotel officials claimed in court documents.

The ongoing legal standoff between neighbors and the hotel began in 2019. At the time, Ms. Allegaert sued the town, claiming that a pool bar at the hotel should not have been allowed and that neighbors were not properly given notice about the hotel’s zoning board hearings.

The Harbor View also got into a legal tussle with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission when the hotel proposed the spa addition in 2021. The commission ended up approving the work, but set a list of 13 conditions, partially in response to concerns of creeping commercial expansion in the residential area. 

The hotel sued over the conditions, claiming that the commission overstepped its authority. The two later settled the case outside of court. 

In the latest legal twist, Dukes County Superior Court judge Elaine Buckley last month ruled that the hotel can continue its suit against Ms. Allegaert, agreeing that the neighbor was attempting to stall the hotel’s expansion with lawsuits. 

In a Dec. 11 ruling, Judge Buckley wrote that Ms. Allegaert, who owns a property next to the hotel, was “sham petitioning” the Harbor View to tie up the inn with legal complaints. In doing so, the judge denied Ms. Allegaert’s attempt to dismiss the Harbor View’s counter suit against her. 

The decision allows the Harbor View to continue suing Ms. Allegaert for damages. Ms. Allegaert is planning to appeal the dismissal, according to court documents filed on Jan. 9. 

The counterclaim suit sprung out of the lawsuit started in May, when Ms. Allegaert sued the Harbor View and the Edgartown zoning board of appeals over approved plans to expand the hotel. She claimed the expansion of a cottage would increase noise and light pollution, and go against restrictions on green space at the hotel.  

In June, the hotel responded with a counterclaim, arguing that Ms. Allegaert was abusing the legal process by commencing a frivolous suit to “harass and burden the Hotel and its ownership,” the lawsuit read. 

An affidavit from the hotel’s developer states the more than $30 million project will incur at least $3.3 million in construction costs due to delays from the lawsuit.

Ms. Allegaert attempted to get the counterclaim dismissed, but Judge Buckley found her arguments against the hotel were legally untenable. Judge Buckley wrote that Ms. Allegaert’s claims of nuisance and emotional distress caused by the expansion were not actionable because they depend on damages sprouting from construction that hasn’t happened yet. She also found the neighbor’s appeal was outside of the statute of limitations. 

Ms. Allegaert’s attorney Daniel Larkosh said the judge’s decision was surprising and could set a dangerous precedent if developers could quash what he saw as an everyday zoning appeal.

“This is a run of the mill zoning appeal where my client is simply seeking screening for her property,” Mr. Larkosh said. 

Rod Jane, the vice president of Upland Capital, which owns the hotel, declined to comment on the specifics of the litigation, but said the company stood behind its plans and he was pleased with the judge’s order. 

“Obviously we are happy with the court’s decision to deny the move to dismiss the counterclaim,” Mr. Jane said.

A next date in that case has not been set, nor has one with the appeals court.