Judge denies request to halt City Hall Park construction

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A judge has denied a request for a preliminary injunction to stop construction in Burlington's City Hall Park.

Fencing was put up around the park Wednesday. But a group of opponents had tried to stop the work on the basis that the city's zoning permit had expired.

The court already denied a preliminary injunction once before. The plaintiffs argued the construction would bring in more pavement and fewer trees. The city says there will be 48 healthy trees as opposed to the 51 today that are in poor health.

In court documents, Vermont Superior Court Judge Helen Toor said, "The plaintiffs' sadness at seeing changes in the park do not meet the legal definition of irreparable harm." She also said the plaintiffs did not cite any legal authority to support their claim that construction without a valid permit constituted irreparable harm to them.

"It's really depressing and shocking, and it's going to be up to the public to decide if this is the kind of city government we want that doesn't uphold its own rules and doesn't follow its own rules," said James Leas of Keep the Park Green.

Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington, says work on the project will continue and that there is no issue with an expired permit.

Construction is expected to finish up by the fall of 2020.