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US (RI): Lawyers for Exeter's mall-sized greenhouse project ask judge to lift stop-work order

Twenty-five acres of weeds are sprouting this spring where farmer Tim Schartner hoped to be growing two-story-tall tomato plants under glass. 

When, or if, construction of his mall-sized greenhouse gets approval to move forward again – after the town shut down the 1-million-square-foot project last October – will now be up to a Superior Court judge to decide. 

On Tuesday, lawyers for Schartner’s company, Rhode Island Grows, filed a 32-page brief arguing why a judge should lift the cease-and-desist order issued last fall by town Zoning Inspector Hal Morgan and upheld by the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Schartner’s lawyers contend the board’s decision ignored the state's Right to Farm Act and specific zoning exclusions for greenhouses when it stopped the $64-million project just as its awe-inspiring forest of white metal framing rose above a farm field along Route 2. 


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