Town of Jaffrey asks court to dismiss appeal of zoning decision

  • Robert Aho, pictured here, is one of three abutting neighbors who has filed an appeal with the Cheshire Superior Court against a prior decision of the Jaffrey zoning board to grant three variances to Belletetes.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, December 27, 2017 7:52PM

The town of Jaffrey has asked the Cheshire Superior Court to dismiss an appeal challenging the Jaffrey zoning board’s approval of three variances for a Belletetes expansion project.

The town and board filed their motion through attorney Kelly Dowd last month. The motion claims the superior court “lacks subject matter jurisdiction” in the appeal as the petitioners – Randy Christmas and Robert and Joan Aho – had not filed for a motion for rehearing after a new decision was made by the board on Sept. 26 and have failed to comply with RSA 677:4. 

Three variance requests submitted by Belletetes were first approved by the zoning board on July 8. The variances permit the filling in of two small man-made wetlands, permit impervious cover within the wetlands conservation district, and permit pavement within the town’s required 30-foot setbacks for the general business district.

Christmas and Aho requested a rehearing of the variances, which was granted. The board once again approved the variance requests on Sept. 26.  

Christmas and the Ahos filed their appeal with the superior court in October. Both Christmas and Aho have been vocal throughout the approval process, worried about adverse impacts that Belletete’s planned expansion could have on their abutting properties. 

Belletetes is proposing to build a 7,200 square-foot maintenance garage and a 13,440 square-foot material storage warehouse. Both buildings would be placed on property that Belletetes owns, expanding the business’s Peterborough Street location.

Dowd wrote in the motion that the second decision made by the planning board differs from the first as “it deals with new substantive issues relating to the new evidence introduced at the public hearing on September, 19, 2017.”

Silas Little, who is representing Christmas and the Ahos, has since responded to the motion to dismiss. Little argued in court documents that the only difference in the two decisions is that one decision was written by town counsel.