Your tax dollars were spent on these law suits…Examine the facts…you be the judge

examine-the-factsThis week the Select Board removed from the consent agenda, the reappointment of two individuals to the Zoning Board of Adjustments.  After several minutes of discussion the board voted 3-2 to table the discussion and revisit the matter at its next meeting. The three board members wanted to do more research on the subject.

Let’s begin that research…

Three cases we should never forget:

  • CASE #1; Back in July, I posted the story of Mr. Bob Garrison’s tussel with the ZBA and Green Mountain Explosives. In that the ZBA tried to add, without consent of the Legislative Body, commercial activity to the Rural Residential Zone. (read here).

Quite an odd thing in light of the Forster Case, where the commercial enterprise has been denied activities that would improve and benefit the town and the commercial enterprise. I wonder why they were for commercial activity before they became against commercial activity?????

          “The intervenor, Green Mountain Explosives, Inc. (GME), appeals an order of the                       Superior Court (McGuire, J.) reversing the decision of the Henniker Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) granting GME two conditional variances.   We affirm.”  (read here)

  • CASE #2 should never be forgotten. On November 15, 2006 2006, Mr. Joe Morette’s life was forever changed. All he wanted to do is develop his property with affordable housing. (read here)                                                                                                                                                              On that night Mr. Morette applied to the ZBA for a special exception. Special Exceptions are much different that Variances.He was told that his project did not serve the public’s interest: 5) Plan would be in the public interest.
    Vote: Yes–2 (Kris, Leon) No–3 (Joan, Doreen, Ron). (Kris Blomback, Leon Parker, Joan Oliveira, Doreen Connor and Ron Taylor)

Doreen Connor moved to reject case #2006-108 because the applicant did not meet all seven criteria which were necessary to grant this special exception. Joan Oliveira seconded the motion. Board discussion included Kris Blomback requesting a specific reason be given to the applicant as to why the case was rejected.Doreen Connor stated that the ZBA does not give specific guidance as it is a judicial board. It was noted that the applicant has the right to appeal the Board’s decision. The motion passed, 3-2.(Yes-Ron, Doreen, Joan; No–Kris, Leon)

But that’s not all! Oh no…Mr. Morette goes back to the ZBA:

  • January 2007 withdraws his appeal and advises ZBA he will return with a modified plan,  (read here).
  • March 21, 2007, (read here). (Joan Oliveria absent)
  • May 16, 2007, (read here)  Case has to be represented because of Ms. Oliveira’s absence in March. (I urge you all to read the public comments…very enlightening)  What is very important about May 16th (excluding the comments about this project is not subsidized housing and other questionable positions)  is the following exchange that occurs: (page 2-3)

“Doreen Connor asked if there is any study done on the number of accidents on a road with 370 trips per day. Ms. Rauseo stated that they look at factors involved in accidents.She stated that based on the data, traffic should be able to navigate safely through the area. There are no statistics based on number of trips made. Ms. McCourt stated that if the road plans have to change, they will come back to the ZBA. The applicant wants to do their best in respecting property boundaries and creating the best design for the neighborhood. Kris Blomback, Board member, stated that he feels very confident that a road can be designed within the understood boundary.)

“Doreen Connor stated that she is still concerned about the overall density of the project. The Town passed the ordinance of one principal building per lot to keep this type of thing from happening. She stated that she believes that the applicant’s statistics on the anticipated number of children and cars is too low and, therefore, inaccurate.” (page3)

Doreen Connor moved that the Board deny application# 2007-102 because there was not
majority vote on the required seven criteria (Item #4 did not pass.)
Joan Oliveira seconded the motion. The motion passed, 4-1 (Kris Blomback dissenting).
In the end  Mr. Morette took the ZBA to court…and won at the Supreme Court Level. (read here)
The case was overturned by the Supreme Court for the following reason,  “In this case, we agree with the petitioners that the board’s unsubstantiated rejection of their expert’s conclusions was an insufficient basis for denying the application.”
Mr. Morette’s costs to protect his property rights were substantial…He never built the project.
We can only assume what additional property taxes could have been generated from this project.
  • CASE #3: Forster’s Christmas Tree Farm: the difference between this case and Green Mountain is clear. Mr. Forster’s Christmas tree Farm is a Commercial Enterprise designated by the Agricultural Statue 21-34: A II (a) (12).                                                                                                                                                                                               Has anyone ever wondered why the ZBA wanted to approve commercial activity for Green Mountain in the Rural Residential Zone (where is is explicitly prohibited) and deny the statutory rights of Forster’s existing agricultural commercial enterprise where is it allowed?? ???
Mr. Blomback you and the Select Board should not overlook these discrepancies. I agree with what you said way back on November 15, 2006 Mr. Morette was owed an explanation…now he is owed an APOLOGY!
I think the parties involved in the other two cases and the public are owed an explanation and apology, from the ZBA and the Select Board, as well. 


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