Town seeks second hearing

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/3/2021 12:08:16 PM

The Francestown Select Board is pursuing a rehearing after the state Housing Appeals Board reversed the town Planning Board’s rejection of a four-lot subdivision on the corner of Stevens Road and the 2nd NH Turnpike.

The HAB ruled in favor of landowners Ron and Melissa Shattuck in a May 7 order, the first conclusion they handed down since forming in 2020. In their ruling, the HAB said that the Francestown Planning Board had made an “unreasonable” decision in rejecting the subdivision and had not cited any objective zoning ordinance violations in their decision.

The Select Board voted 2-1 to proceed with the rehearing request on Monday, May 24, Select Board Chair Henry Kunhardt said. A rehearing is a requisite step if the case were ever to go to the state Supreme Court, he said.

Francestown spent a little under $10,000 in legal fees associated with responding to the Shattuck’s appeal, Kunhardt said.

“Personally, I feel that’s something we pretty much had to do. Our local board made a decision, that decision was appealed,” he said, so the town had to support its board in the initial appeal. For Kunhardt, however, the mounting legal costs discouraged further action, and he cast the dissenting vote to proceed last week. Francestown budgets about $10,000 annually for legal expenses and an expendable trust fund is dedicated to legal fees or public assistance as well, he said.

Francestown expects to see a draft of the rehearing request from the town’s legal counsel later this week, and must submit the final version by June 6. The HAB can then either accept or dismiss the request, Kunhardt said.

Select Board members Marsha Dixon and George Ravalico did not respond to requests for comment by press time.


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