METHUEN — Sober home Lincoln's House faced a setback in its battle against the city Monday, losing a state appeal against a city building department-issued cease and desist order.
Danielle Donohue, owner and operator of the sober home at 10 Quincy St., had filed with the Building Code Appeals Board through her attorney in March in response to the city's attempts to enforce the cease and desist order.
After holding a hearing on May 3 and taking the matter under advisement, the appeals board issued a 10-page decision on July 18 in which it sided with the city. Both parties received the decision on Monday.
“It's what I expected,” said Andrew Tine, Donohue's attorney.
But, he added, “there's a federal court case pending that will ultimately decide the issue.”
City officials say Donohue opened her sober home without their knowledge. They first issued a cease and desist order against Donohue in February, saying her 10 Quincy St. sober home failed to meet several building and sanitary codes. The city also told Donohue she would face fines if she did not bring the building into compliance.
Donohue, through Tine, appealed to the city the next day.
The city sent another letter on March 23 saying enforcement of the $300-per-day fines would begin the next week, prompting Donohue and Tine to file with the Building Code Appeals Board.
The two also filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the city and its building commissioner.
City officials said Monday it was not immediately clear what the appeals board ruling would mean in terms of the cease and desist order.
Follow Lisa Kashinsky on Twitter @lisakashinsky.