Letter to the Editor (27 December 2011)
The Zoning Board of Adjustment needs new members who will be fair minded and willing to apply the zoning ordinance to all residents equally in the Town of Goffstown and not play politics or play follow the leader. There are 4 vacant spots for alternatives now and one member spot up for reelection this March. My recent appearances before this ZBA were a real eye opener. Only one member was willing to question why the packets and some information was missing and she ( Vice Chair Cathy Whooten ) also took time to drive by the disputed area to see firsthand what the issues were. She abstained from voting which takes courage in this Town. I am publicly calling for the resignation of the current ZBA Chairman Kevin Reigstad and the the other members who voted to just uphold the Zoning Officer's opinion despite the fact they were concerns raised that the information packets were incomplete. Chairman Reigstad took an oath when he was elected. Part of the oath was that he he would "Faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all duties incumbent on him" He has failed to live up to his oath. Board member Edward Luppi mocked the length of my appeal. If six pages, including pictures, is too much then Board member Luppi should also resign.
The new Zoning Code Enforcement Officer ( who does not have to take an oath) told me he does not like to put things in writing! Really! That's his job. He later stated in a ZBA hearing that driveway permits are issued by DPW and DPW can do it how they want. Really! The Zoning Ordinance has clear sections on driveway restrictions in a residential area. The Zoning Officer is still responsible to make sure the Zoning Ordinance is enforced. The ZO should review every permit before it is issued by DPW to ensure zoning ordinance compliance. It is not only unethical to rule on an appeal but it is dishonorable to do so in a punitive manner especially when it violates the ZO section 1.3.1 and 1.3.7. It goes against purpose the Zoning Ordinance itself.
By NH law the ZBA must state reasons why it voted as it did so that as the appeal process progresses so the courts will have all the information. The 4 members who voted not to do so know that it would just cost me extensive legal fees and without all the facts a judge would send it back to the same ZBA. That is how the Chairman can punish a resident for appealing the Zoning Code Enforcement Officer's ruling. The son-in law of the Town Administrator who is now the Asst Town Administrator ruled that " He did not apply a section of the Zoning Ordinance because no body had ever asked to before. That does not mean that zoning law is not to be applied. It is current and must be applied. It's the law. Goffstown politics.... somethings never change they just get worse.
The permit was originally issued when it was supposed to go to the Planning Board because it did not meet the Zoning requirements. It also expired which rendered it null and void. Again, that means it has to go to the Planning Board. But board member Lupi stated that it was only 11 days expired so it should be extended, in his own words he stated it's not like it was 20 or 30 days. I filed my complaint that the permit should be null and void and DPW extended it after that. If you missed a deadline in the process it doesn't matter if it's 11 days, 20 days, or 1 day, the law is the same for everyone. There are state laws that determine the deadlines for the appeal process.
We need more ZBA members with the open-mindedness and fairness necessary to apply the Zoning Ordinance fairly to all and put politics and difference of opinions aside. ZCEO Brian Rose it's time to man up and admit you made a mistake.There is still time to make this right.
1.3 Purpose - The Ordinance is designed and adopted for the following purposes:
1.3.1 To protect and promote the public safety, convenience, comfort, aesthetics, prosperity, health, and general welfare of the inhabitants of the Town of Goffstown, New Hampshire; and 1.3.7 To conserve property values by preventing the harmful encroachment of incompatible uses, and by providing for the control and regulation of those uses which adversely affect the character, development, and value of property;
The filing period to be on the ballot is coming up soon but you can apply to be appointed as a alternate before then. The ZBA meets the 1st Tuesday of each month.
Freedom of Speech has its price in Goffstown. In my case I have paid for it with my health. These punitive rulings have lead to hostile actions against me. It has cost me well over $5,000 and it looks like the ZBA will continue to make sure I continue to pay for speaking out.
An internal email obtained under the Right to Know Law shows correspondence between Derek Horne, Brian Rose and Sue Desruisseaux who all agreed that my issue had to go before the Planning Board for a conditional use permit. It never did. It still has to now. It is simple and clear. It's time for the biased members to rule correctly enforcing the zoning code , Not based on my past stand on town issues.
I would run for the spot myself but my I cannot because my kidneys continue to fail at an accelerated rate. The stress and high blood pressure caused by these town politics and hostilities by my neighbor and his friends over the past year has caused severe irreversible damage. I now need kidney dialysis and a transplant in the near future. There are 90,000 people on the waiting list and 16,000+ just in our region alone. I am in the process of trying to be accepted into the Mass General Transplantation Center Program. The ZBA Chairman, Zoning Officer and Town Administrator should be aware that their failure to follow the law and their negligent actions have made the Town liable.
In closing, I will leave you with this. How would you feel if a new neighbor moved in next to you and would not get permits or follow zoning ordinances which created a hostile environment and then the ZBA Chairman Reigstad decided not to uphold those zoning ordinances?