The night that Henniker’s ZBA went rogue!

down with zoning

November 17, 2004, was a night like no other in the town of Henniker. On that night, the Henniker Zoning Board ignored every vote that the town’s legislative body  had previously held approving  the definition of Permitted Uses and unilaterally rewrote Henniker’s Zoning Ordinance for the Rural Residential Zone.

A description of what happened is found in the NH Supreme Ruling: [Supreme Court of New Hampshire] “Green Mountain Explosives (GME) proposed to lease a 1,617-acre parcel owned by the Vincent Barletta Trust for purposes of storing and blending explosives.   The parcel was comprised of eighteen separate lots.   According to GME’s proposal, an explosives storage and blending facility would be centrally located on twenty acres.   The remaining 1,597 acres would surround the facility, acting as a buffer zone, as required by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) regulations.

The parcel is located in a district zoned rural residential. On October 7, 2004, GME, acting on behalf of the Vincent Barletta Trust, filed an application with the ZBA for two variances. First, it sought a variance to allow the proposed commercial use where only a residential use is permitted. Second, it sought a variance to allow the storage and blending of explosive material where injurious or obnoxious uses are prohibited.” [emphasis added].

Imagine, 5 individuals (some are still on the current ZBA), despite holding a special meeting on November 3,2004 [ZBA MINUTES 2004-11-03] to be instructed on the law, still felt they had the authority to rewrite Zoning Ordinance without the approval of the voting public! [ZBA 2004-11-17] The ZBA attempted to “write in” what the legislative body voted out.

And now in the Forster case, these individuals are doing exactly the opposite, the ZBA is trying “write out” what the legislative body has voted in on this year’s Zoning change ballot (March 2016)

Does anyone see a problem here???






6 thoughts on “The night that Henniker’s ZBA went rogue!

  1. Kathleen LaBonte says:

    Well done Bruce. You succinctly defined two situations, and just how rogue this CONSENTED Henniker ZBA is. It is time to THROW THE BUMS OUT!


      • Kathleen LaBonte says:

        The ZBA has over and over effected the lives of the whole town and lost tax dollars, but none more than the personal lives of those trying to do business in Henniker, and the tremendous financial and emotional toll for them. What kind of mindset goes out of their way to destroy someone’s venture or livelihood? I just don’t know how these people sleep at night.


    • The rural residential zone was created in 1987 by vote of the town’s legislative body. No changes had occured at the time Green Mountain Explosives came in and asked for a use variance in November 2004.

      The ZBA approved a variance that allowed an industrial business to be developed in the residential zone despite the prohibition of such business. The abutters filed a law suit and the ZBA’s decision was indeed struck down by the court.


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