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Wilton seeks to remove fishing cabin

WILTON — A prefabricated fishing cabin on Isaac Frye Highway next to Stony Brook is causing tension between the owners and the town, which has filed suit to have the structure torn down.

The town’s building inspector, John Shepardson, has told the Select Board that the newly constructed cabin that replaces a previous structure falls short of several state and town regulations, and should be taken down, Shepardson said in an interview Monday. When the fishing cabin went up, the owner, NTV LLC — a Wilton company registered to Nicolina Valente — did not obtain a building permit, but should have, according to Shepardson.

According to papers filed at the Hillsborough County Superior Court South, the construction of the cabin began early last summer. On July 30, 2012, Shepardson informed the owners that a building permit was needed. The owner, arguing that the cabin is a replacement and not a new structure, continued to build without a permit and without appealing Shepardson’s decision to the town’s Zoning Board. In March 2012, the construction continued and a second structure adjacent to the first, but closer to Stony Brook, also went up without a building permit, according to court documents . Now, Shepardson said Monday , it will be a matter for the courts to decide, as the town has filed suit against NTV, seeking for the cabin to be torn down and the lot returned to its prior state. “I’ve been very clear that they couldn’t build there,” Shepardson said in an interview Monday. “The place to deal with this kind of thing at this point is at court.”

The town’s zoning ordinance does not require a permit to replace an existing small hunting or fishing camp where the purpose of the building hasn’t changed. But the former fishing cabin the new one replaced had been so long in disuse, it had rotted away and was clearly abandoned, Shepardson said. The town’s zoning ordinance states that if a building that is a non-conforming use — which Shepardson said he original cabin was — is abandoned for longer than a year, it cannot be reestablished without going through another permitting process. “They were in ruins, rotted away, nothing remaining that could be considered a structure,” Shepardson said. “My contention is, when the owners say their structure is grandfathered, that there is no legal grandfathering in this case.”

According to the motion for a hearing filed by the town at the Hillsborough County Superior Court in Milford, NTV allegedly made the improvements on the property in violation of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, the building code and the N.H. Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act. The cabin is within 50 feet of the high-water line and ground cover within that area has been cleared, both of which are violations of the state Shoreland Protection Act, Shepardson said.

The lot is also under two acres, which requires the owners to obtain a special exception for building, and does not meet the requirements of a new structure constructed within the Flood Plain Conservation and Wetland Conservation Districts, as it is within 50 feet of a wetland. “There’s a bunch of things they have violated,” said Shepardson.

The town has requested an injunction to bar NTV from continuing building on the site until the issue has been resolved. The town will also be seeking a restitution of legal fees should the court find in town’s favor.

A preliminary hearing for the case has been set for April 16 at 9 a.m. at the Nashua court. Calls made to Griffith and Associates, the law firm representing NTV, were not returned by press time Monday.

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