Faced with resident concerns and the threat of lawsuit if regulation changes were to go through allowing inns along town roads, the Washington Zoning Commission quashed its own proposal Monday.

"I cannot support this proposal as written," said commission member Ray Averill. "We have to go back and rethink and rewrite this with definite specifications that will keep us out of court."

Tempers and emotions flared during the second session of the public hearing held on the proposed zoning regulation changes.

Residents had implored the commission to "protect us," in Kathy Mathew's words. Tom McGowan, representing the Lake Warmaug Task Force, had informed the commission his group would sue if the change were to go through, thus opening town roads in the lake district to development of more inns.

Mr. McGowan cited concerns about increased traffic on the narrow, winding road along the lake and the lack of economic viability for a developer to build a small inn in today's economy.

Some residents saw the proposed regulation changes as a thinly veiled inroad for developer Matthew Klauer's previously denied proposal to build an inn on Wykeham Road.

Commission vice chairman Gary Fitzherbert and fellow zoner Ray Reich were called on to recuse themselves from the vote given their previous support of Mr. Klauer's proposal.

With the Planning Commission having ruled in early June the proposed zone changes would be incompatible with the Plan of Conservation and Development, the Zoning Commission needed a vote of 4 to 1 in favor for approval. The final vote split was 3 to 2, with commissioners Averill and Lou Abella voting against.

Zoning Commission chairman David Owen would not commit Monday night to whether his commission would be revisiting the issue.