"Yes, of the Catalina Cove Zoning Board. Although they can't stop you from selling the inn, they plan to block the buyer from bringing a tennis resort in here. The city ordinance calls for the zoning board to approve all new construction. This won't be the first time developers wanted to come into the cove and build something the city planners reject. Remember years ago when that developer wanted to buy land on the east end to build that huge shopping mall? The zoning board stopped it. They're determined that nothing in Catalina Cove changes."
"Well, it should change." As far as Vashti was concerned it was time for Mayor Procter to get voted out. He had been mayor for over thirty years. When Vashti had left Catalina Cove for college fourteen years ago, developers had been trying to buy up the land for a number of progressive projects. The people of Catalina Cove were the least open-minded group she knew. Vashti loved living in New York City where things were constantly changing, and people embraced those changes. At eighteen she had arrived in the city to attend New York University and remained after getting a job with a major hotel chain. She had worked her way up to her six-figure salary as a hotel executive. At thirty-two she considered it her dream job. That wasn't bad for someone who started out working the concierge desk. "Unless the Barnes Group can build whatever they want without any restrictions, there won't be a deal for us."
Vashti didn't like the sound of that. Ten million was ten million no matter how you looked at it. "Although I wouldn't want them to tear down Shelby, I think my aunt would understand my decision to do what's best for me." And the way Vashti saw it, ten million dollars was definitely what would be best for her.
"Do you really think she would want you to tear down the inn? She loved that place."
Vashti knew more than anyone how much Shelby by the Sea had meant to her aunt. It had become her life.
"Aunt Shelby knew there was no way I would ever move back to Catalina Cove after what happened. Mom and Dad even moved away. There's no connection for me to Catalina Cove."
"Hey, wait a minute, Vash. I'm still here."
Vashti smiled, remembering how her childhood friend had stuck with her through thick and thin. "Yes, you're still there, which makes me think you need your head examined for not moving away when you could have."
"I love Catalina Cove. It's my home and need I remind you that for eighteen years it was yours, too."
"Don't remind me."
"Look, I know why you feel that way, Vash, but are you going to let that one incident make you have ill feelings about the town forever?"
"It was more than an incident, Bryce, and you know it." For Vashti having a baby out of wedlock at sixteen had been a lot more than an incident. For her it had been a life changer. She had discovered who her real friends were during that time. Even now she would occasionally wonder how different things might have been had her child lived instead of died at birth.
"Sorry, bad choice of words," Bryce said, with regret in her voice.
"No worries. That was sixteen years ago." No need to tell Bryce that on occasion she allowed her mind to wander to that period of her life and often grieved for the child she'd lost. She had wanted children and Scott had promised they would start a family one day. That had been another lie.
"Tell me what I need to do to beat the zoning board on this, Bryce," Vashti said, her mind made up.
"Unfortunately, to have any substantial input, you need to meet with the board in person. I think it will be beneficial if the developers make an appearance as well. According to their representative, they're willing to throw in a few perks that the cove might find advantageous."
"What kind of perks?"
"Free membership to the resort's clubhouse for the first year, as well as free tennis lessons for the kids for a limited time. It will also bring a new employer to town, which means new jobs. Maybe if they were to get support from the townsfolk, the board would be more willing to listen."