We here at OHB recently received a thread that was posted to the Henniker NH open group Facebook Page dated December 15, 2016. facebook-post-december-15-2016
The copy of the post we received did not contain the name of the originator of this post. However, as you can read, several people posted responses to the original post. OHB would like to make a few comments at this time.
Since OHB is a member of the Henniker Facebook group and we did not see the original post nor were we privy to the responses, OHB will assume that the author has blocked OHB from receiving their Facebook postings.
Regarding this comment, “All of you who remember how hard it was to get permits from the Planning and Zoning Boards prior to Mark, will agree with me that he is a true asset to the town.” I have no recollection of Ms. Laura Scott (Land Use Consultant before the current contractor) ever being reprimanded nor was it ever discussed by the Select Board, that Ms. Scott was causing any impediment to the permitting process. What I do recall that in March, 2009, there was some kind of flap over Kristin Claire (Planning Board Chair) and Ms. Scott wanting to increase the pit inspections,
- March 11, 2009: “Chairwoman Claire stated that the Town’s history of monitoring excavation operations causes her to question who will be responsible for monitoring this project. She stated ongoing communication with the applicant will be necessary. Ms. McCourt stated that, according to the RSA’s, the applicant has to come before the Board every two years to renew their permit.” (page 2 paragraph 4) (read here)
- “Ms. McCourt stated that it appeared that the Board was going from no enforcement of excavation pits to asking for more inspections during the year for their operation. She stated that the Patenaude’s have been in this business for many years, and they have never had to work in this fashion before.” (page 3, paragraph 1)
“Ms. Scott stated that there will be a legal document, in addition to the Notice of Decision,outlining the process that the applicant and the Planning Board will need to agree on. This will be a binding agreement signed by both parties.” (page 4, paragraph 9)
- April 22, 2009: “Board Discussion on Grandfathered Active Excavation Operations
Chairwoman Claire explained to the audience that the Board is not discussing changes to the excavation regulations this evening; they are only discussing existing pits and what information the Planning Board is requesting from them to update the files. She explained that they are trying to develop the steps that should be taken to accomplish this goal. Ms. Scott had been asked to provide an update of all the pits and report on the acreage being excavated. Ms. Scott reviewed her memo dated April 17, 2009. Chairwoman Claire suggested starting with discussing the goals and objectives of this project. She stated that she wants the Planning Board members to understand the underlying need for this action. She stated that monitoring excavations is a responsibility of this Board, and the first step in the process is to determine what information is contained in the files. Ms. Claire statedthat the State RSA’s are already clear on what the Board’s responsibility is, and the Board must follow through on the charge given to them at the 1981 Town Meeting. Ms. Claire stated that it is her vision to update the files and inspect the active excavation operations two times per year per RSA 155-E.” (page 1 and 2) (read here)
- Now the rest of the story; “Rick Patenaude stated that the new Town Planner, Mark Fougere, is reputed to have a lotof experience with the excavation industry and may be able to offer assistance to the Board members. Mr. Patenaude MOVED that the Board wait to do any more work regarding excavations until Mr. Fougere is working with the Board. Mr. Taylor SECONDED the motion. Ms. Stamps asked what reason was given for Mr. Fougere not to attend the meeting. Ms.Claire and Ms. Scott indicated that he was welcomed by them to come and was given a Board packet of information. “It was noted by Ms. Scott and Ms. Claire that the Town Administrator had instructed Mr. Fougere not to attend the Planning Board meeting this evening. This is Ms. Scott’s last meeting in her role as Henniker’s Town Planning Consultant, and Mr. Fougere will assume the role henceforth. They surmised that the Town Administrator asked him not to attend since it was Ms. Scott’s last night in this position.” (page 2, paragraph 3- 4)
After reviewing the Planning Board minutes that are online, OHB has failed to find any mention of Ms. Laura Scott tendering her resignation to the Planning Board.
Reviewing Select Board minutes we found that on March 17, 2009, just six days after the Planning Board meeting of March 11, 2009, Town Administrator Peter Flynn states in his report the following:
- Surveying and engineering assessment for the Western Avenue culvert replacement is done.
- Advertisements have been placed in newspapers for a part time Planning Consultant.
- He is working on obtaining a quote for the softball fence.
- He met with one of the property owners whose tax payments are in arrears.
- He is following up on the voter’s decision to purchase land adjacent to the Police Station.
- He is arranging to update the Forest stewardship letter to reflect changes advised by Counsel.
- He expects a meeting of the Road Management committee to be called soon.
We also found Select Board minutes of April 7, 2009 regarding the hiring of the current part Time Land Use Consultant, (Item #6 pages 6-8 read here)
Please note current Select Board Chairman Kris Blomback’s comments about the contract;
- “Mr. Blomback expressed concerns about the proposed hourly rate for the consultant and the need to increase applicant rates.”
“Mr. Blomback thought that the cost for the consultant would probably increase by year’s end and he was concerned about the planning budget for next year.”
However, not a single word was ever discussed about the lack of a letter of resignation nor the abrupt timing of Ms. Scott’s departure. Laura Scott would write memos and required the Planning Board to discuss those memos.
(Update: it has come to our attention that it was noticed up on the March 11, 2009 Planning Board minutes…page 8…that Ms. Scott had submitted her resignation. Currently, it appears, Ms. Scott is the Development Director of the Friends Program, Concord, NH.)
Does the current consultant write any reports or memos?
What happened to Laura Scott??? WAS LAURA SCOTT FIRED??? If so why?
Next up…Land Use Consultant over steps his authority and the town of Henniker’s business friendly consultant not so friendly to Forster’s Christmas Tree Farm.
Everyone be safe and PEACE…OHB