Depending on the outcome of an appeal filed by abutting neighbors, town officials overseeing a $186,000 at may be forced to order that construction be stopped.
At a Harbor & Waters Board meeting Monday night, board chairman Gary Gregory announced that the town has filed a motion to have an appeal recently filed by the owners of a neighboring property dismissed.
A pretrial hearing for that appeal, which was filed by Stramski Way resident Dr. Murray Goodman, is scheduled to be held in Boston on April 11.
"That hearing is to determine the validity of the appeal that the Goodmans have filed against our superseding order of conditions," Gregory said.
Following Monday's meeting, Goodman said he filed the appeal based on the length of the pier and the fact that it "didn't reach the water line."
According to Gregory, there are two likely outcomes to next week's hearing.
"They could either say 'forget about it, the appeal is not valid' and it will just be dismissed - or they could give us each homework assignments...and then the real deal will be in July," Gregory said.
The 'real deal' being a court date scheduled for July 17 that will be held if the case goes to an administrative appeal, Gregory said.
"I know that our Town Counsel has moved to have the appeal dismissed but I have no idea how all of that works," Gregory said at Monday's meeting.
Does the appeal mean the project has to be stopped?
"We can keep going and finish the pier - the part that gets interesting is that the current superseding order of conditions allows us to add two more bends, which is 40 more feet of pier," Gregory said.
If construction is to be completed before the April 11 hearing, Gregory said workers from the Salem-based company, North Shore Marine Inc., will have to move quickly to drive in six more pylons.
"The final two pylons are part of the lift mechanism for the gangway and we could go ahead and drive those two pylons where they were originally approved but that would be silly - because that's not where we want them," Gregory said.
For the time being, Gregory said the goal is to have as much of the pier completed by April 11.
"If we're lucky we'll get that all finished close to the hearing date and if we don't we will just have to stop building it where it is," Gregory said.
The pier was originally scheduled to be built and in operation by mid-May.
Harbormaster Charles J. Dalferro said in October that May 20 was the deadline to have floats and gangways in place.