Henniker Planning Board member makes misleading statements…Henniker ZBA painted into corner…Henniker owes us some answers!

CORNER RESIZED Henniker Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) minutes from Wednesday April 19, 2017 indicate some very interesting and contradictory statements were made by Mr. Dan Higginson, a Planning Board member and agent for the homeowners on Hillside Drive who petitioned the ZBA for a Variance;

  • “Dan Higginson explains the lot line and the plan that he planned for the applicant. Stated that both land owners agree on this and instead of having to bring this to court and spend there time and money, they are hoping the ZBA approves variance for there application.Nothing will change within landscape or adjustment of houses. Everything will stay as is,just the lot line will change. The land owners are asking to do this because in the future if they plan to sell the house the bank wont [sic] grant remortage [sic] due to trespassing over 20 years. Banks will do title search and deny the land owner.”[emphasis added] (read here)

Yet on Monday April 17, 2017, just two days before Mr. Higginson’s mortgage comments, the owners of the Hillside Drive property (Exhibit A: Lot A-17 on Plan #5575 as recorded on December 12, 1978) recorded  a Mortgage Lien in the Merrimack County Recorders Office. HILLSIDE DRIVE 142 A-17 2017 MORTGAGE

Merrimack County Savings Bank  granted a mortgage on February 17, 2017, using the property’s description as recorded from 1978: Exhibit A and without the variance. Thus  rendering Mr. Higginson’s claims about bank mortgages false.

Why did the ZBA grant a variance for a lot line adjustment that actually cure a trespass? NH RSA 674:33 I sets forth the 5 criteria necessary for granting a variance. (read here)

In this case the primary element for RSA 674:33 I (b) 5 A-B were never met. (read here)

The people of Henniker deserve better. All officials, whether elected or appointed, take an oath to uphold certain standards of conduct and the law. Should this type of behavior be tolerated?

OHB feels that the Henniker ZBA owes us an explanation!

What say you?

OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..

http://www.onlyhennikerbruce.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Henniker ZBA members confused… defy RSA 674:33, I (b)…grant variance without proving hardship…Low cost tress pass correction…no sweat…line forms on the left!

GavelOHB is pretty sure that the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) has no authority to grant a variance for the purpose of correcting a property owner induced tress-pass.

On April 19, 2017, the ZBA held a public meeting regarding an application for a variance to reduce one property’s frontage to 70 feet…30 feet below the minimum for the sole purpose of correcting a tress-pass. The agent for the property owners and presenter of the application was Planning Board Member Dan Higginson:

RSA 674:33, I (b) (5) defines unnecessary hardship pretty clearly, (read here)

  • (5) Literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance would result in an unnecessary hardship.
                 (A) For purposes of this subparagraph, “unnecessary hardship” means that, owing to special conditions of the property that distinguish it from other properties in the area….            

The first class I ever took in “ZBA School”  upon being appointed to the ZBA here in Henniker…drilled the UNNECESSARY HARDSHIP DOCTRINE into your brain until you felt like you had a nail in your skull! And, I was given a wonderful training manual which was authored by none other than…Henniker Resident (and variance king) Cordell Johnston. (read here)

I read it over and over again and became pretty proficient in understanding the legal requirements by which ZBA’s can grant variances.

Big question: WHY IS IT THAT OUR CURRENT ZBA MEMBERS STILL LACK PROFICIENCY IN UNDERSTANDING THIS?

OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..

http://www.onlyhennikerbruce.com

 

 

 

Town Administrator Trovato confirms to press…Blomback knowingly violated RSA 41:8 & 91-A:2!

down with zoningIn the April 21, 2017 edition of the Villager, Town Administrator Christine Trovato, in an attempt to minimize Chairman Blomback’s RSA 41:8 violation, made the following remark (page three) :

“Kris [Blomback] sent the emails individually, not one on one, no group discussion  whatever.”

New Hampshire RSA 41:8 reads as follows (read here):

  • 41:8 Election and Duties. – Every town, at the annual meeting, shall choose, by ballot, one selectman to hold office for 3 years. The selectmen shall manage the prudential affairs of the town and perform the duties by law prescribed. A majority of the selectmen shall be competent in all cases.

According to lawyers at the NH Municipal Association, the last sentence REQUIRING,  “A MAJORITY OF THE SELECTMEN TO BE COMPETENT IN ALL CASES” [emphasis added] means the following see question #2 and answer #2;

  • “Two major statutes guide the board in everything it does. The first is RSA 41:8, which says “[a] majority of the selectmen shall be competent in all cases.” In other words, a board of selectmen may take action only by majority vote. As is often said, a single selectman has no authority. The second critical statute is RSA Chapter 91-A, New Hampshire’s Right to Know Law. It requires the board to conduct any official business at a properly held meeting. RSA 91-A:2.” [emphasis added]

The statues are clear, the Select Board cannot conduct any business outside of a duly called meeting!

Villager reporter Michael Pond writes the following;

“But when Trovato spoke to Mayer [Town Counsel] in a phone conversation, she pointed out that the emails had been sent separately. She said Mayer responded, “You’re on the right track.”

This completely contradicts the record. Trovato specifically writes to Attorney Mayer in an email (no phone conversation was ever logged nor was it divulged in the town’s response to Only Henniker Bruce’s Right to Know Request) about the status of the violation on Saturday March 18, 2017 @ 9:34 am page 25of 25, NEC Community Support

  • From: ChrisTrovato [mailto:Chris.Trovato@tds.net]
  • Sent: Saturday, March 18, 20179:34 AM
  • To: Barton L. Mayer
  • Subject: FW: Town support
  • Importance:  High
  • Bart,
  • Kris sent the attached email to each Selectboard [sic] member individually.  Assuming the Board agreed via email, the intent was to put the item on the consent agenda with emails attached for official approval at the next Select Board meeting.
  • Ben Fortner is challenging this.  As this is not a committing the Town of Henniker to anything, do you see any reason why we cannot proceed this way?

Town Counsel Mayer’s follow up email on Monday March 20,2017 @ 7:49 am fails to mention or confirm any phone conversation with Trovato;

  • Barton L. Mayer <bmayer@uptonhatfield.com> Monday, March 20, 2017 7:49 AM
  • ‘Chris Trovato’
  • RE:Town support
  • Chris-
  • Your question is at two levels.
  • First, you must be concerned with the Right-to-Know law. If Kris sent this email to all of the selectmen, it would represent a “meeting” within the meaning of the RTK. To cure that violation, the emails and a discussion and vote, “ratifying”  Kris’ signature on the community support document should resolve that problem. So you are on the right track.
  • If the question focuses on the authority of the board to approve the document, I am persuaded the selectmen have the authority, as they are the elected representatives of the town.
  • Does that address your question(s)? Bart
  • Barton L. Mayer
  • Upton & Hatfield, LLP

Trovato’s email clearly states what the board plans to do next…place the item on the consent agenda with emails attached for official approval at the next Select Board meeting.

Consent Agenda are not discussed and the vote is by signature! The public would have never heard one word of deliberation and discussion if Mr. Fortner has not pulled this item off the consent agenda on the night of march 21, 2017…thus continuing to keep the public in the dark.

Town Administrator Trovato also misrepresents Town Counsel Mayer’s response to her Saturday email;

  • If Kris sent this email to all of the selectmen, it would represent a “meeting” within the meaning of the RTK. To cure that violation, the emails and a discussion and vote, “ratifying”  Kris’ signature on the community support document should resolve that problem.

Clearly Town Counsel states in what order events need to occur in order to cure the violation. The emails need to be placed in the record, a discussion should take place and then a vote .

However, it is clear by placing this on the consent agenda,  Trovato and Blomback had no intentions of putting this up for discussion and the public would be left in the dark.

The deception promulgated in this Villager Article is appalling!

Furthermore, we all should be a bit skeptical of our Select Board Chairman’s competence if Town Counsel has to direct the board on how to solve their violations of the Open meeting requirements!

OHB believes that the blatant disregard for public disclosure, transparency and accountability clearly demonstrates  maleficence and incompetence on behalf of Chairman Blomback and Town Administrator Trovato.

Both should be removed from office immediately.

OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..

http://www.onlyhennikerbruce.com

 

 

 

 

 

Corrupting the process…Town Counsel says ONE! Planning Consultant says ONE then TWO! The Henniker Hokey Pokey!

CORRUPTION (Copy) This is a story about two non-conforming Lots, a few emails and opinions, changing an ordinance and voila…two houses (one finished and one currently being built) and no one is the wiser.

January 25, 2012 town hall receives a application for a demolition permit for Lot 436-A. 436-A DEMOLITION PERMIT04182017 Upon filing the application, the owner inquires if two homes could be built on the lot.

A note dated January 26, 2012, was placed in the Demolition Application file from Planning Consultant Mark Fougere,  page 17;

  • Mr. Fougere states that after speaking with Town Counsel Bart Mayer it is determined that two homes cannot be built. Only one home can be built.
  • Town ordinance when adopted did not provide language for the development of non-conforming lots.

Demolition permit issued March 15, 2012.

Then on September 13, 2012, on Planning Board stationary and without any application before the board, Mr. Fougere writes a Zoning Opinion, that contradicts Town Counsel’s opinion found in file note dated January 26, 2012 and  states that both properties can be built upon. FOUGERE ZONING OPINION 2012

Why the sudden change in opinion and why the need for this document?

At the Planning Board meeting on September 26, 2012, Mr. Fougere begins discussions with the Planning Board to amend Henniker’s Zoning Ordinance to amend Article XVI Section,(item C page 2) (read here).

A second hearing was held on October 10, 2012 and the amendment was discussed. Pay close attention to how the amendment mirrors his Zoning Opinion that was sent to the owner of Lot 436-A on September 13, 2012, FOUGERE ZONING OPINION 2012

Then on voting day March 12, 2013, the town passed Warrant Article 2 and just like that everyone gets happy, page 15 (read here)

Or do they?

Not so fast folks…Read Henniker’s Zoning Ordinance Section 133-70, page 39,  (read here)

Part II:  A discussion regarding  Grandfathering…could the walls come tumbling down?

 

OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..

http://www.onlyhennikerbruce.com

NO CONFIDENCE! Town Officials fail to disclose private NEC support letter meeting between Chairman Blomback and Selectman French…

dark Henniker’s Select Board continues on their violation rampage. The Select Board no longer demonstrates reasonable knowledge of how to govern openly.

On April 17, 2017 the Concord Monitor ran a story under the headline, “Henniker selectman makes motion to remove board chairman from position.”

In  that story we learn for the first time, from Concord Monitor reporter Caitlin Andrews, that Selectman Bob French drove to Chairman Blomback’s place of business specifically  to discuss an email he received regarding town business;

  • “French said Fortner misunderstood what Blomback was trying to accomplish with his emails. He said he avoided emailing Blomback back in regards to the NEC letter because the board has talked about how email correspondence can violate right-to-know laws. Instead, he said he drove up to Pats Peak, which Blomback manages, and talked to Blomback about whether the building would be tax-exempt, and then said he was okay with the letter.”

In a right to know request filed by OHB on March 21, 2017 NEC PERFORMING ARTS 3 21 2017, we specifically asked the town to disclose, among other items, the following;

  • external communications of any kind including cell phone communications via text, computer or cellular email or phone log from private cell phone or email accounts information created before-during and after the marxch [sic] 21, 2017 Board of Selectmen meeting and all items pertaining to agenda item New England College Performing Arts center.

I received no documents indicating that the public record contained any information regarding Mr. French and Mr. Blomback having a face to face meeting to discuss this topic.

In fact Mr. Blomback’s rebuttal to a previous Concord Monitor Blombeck rebuttal to CM fails to mention this face to face meeting with Selectman French. He mentions only Mr. French’s intent to support.

Despite my specific request, the town chose not to disclose this private meeting where town business was discussed!

This is serious act of willful omission!

 

OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..

http://www.onlyhennikerbruce.com

 

 

Chairman Blomback’s rebuttal to Concord Monitor…Reveals new violations of the Right to Know Statute…

PAUL REVERE II At the Tuesday April 4, 2017 BOS (Board of Selectmen) meeting Chairman Blomback provided the public with an explanation and timeline in an attempt to clarify the recent violation of the Open Meeting Statute. Blombeck rebuttal to CM

In his summary, Chairman Blomback, admits to sending an email with the intent to conduct business outside of a regularly called meeting. In his summary, he admits to receiving responses from Select-man French (page 1;March 15, 2017) and phone call support from Select-woman Hooper on Thursday March 16, 2017.

OHB submitted an email Right to Know request on March 23, 2017. NEC RIGHT TO KNOW REQUEST

The request for information can be read here. NEC PERFORMING ARTS 3 21 2017

The town responded but failed to include any affirmative response from Mr. French or Ms. Hooper. NEC Community Support Why?

This clearly indicates no documents were in the possession of the town of Henniker to validate Chairman Blomback’s claim that he had a majority of the board’s “blessing”, when he returned the “Letter of Support” to NEC on Thursday March 16, 2017.

OHB’s Right to Know request is quite extensive.  Failure to disclose all communications would be a failure to comply with our request.

There are several problems that should concern all of us:

  1. Why is the Select Board Chairman doing business outside of a properly noticed meeting?
  2. Why are Select Board members participating in these violations of the Open Meeting Statute?
  3. Why did the town fail to produce all dated communications as per our request?

The town’s BOS has been caught numerous times doing business via email and text messages. It is the fiduciary duty of the BOS to openly deliberate the prudential affairs of our town! Failure to do so shows contempt for the process in which the BOS has sworn a duty to uphold.

How long should we tolerate this insolence?

OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..

http://www.onlyhennikerbruce.com