Rindge ZBA rejects PURD development’s rehearing request

  • The Rindge Meetinghouse Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/28/2021 3:19:09 PM

The Rindge Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected a request for rehearing for a proposed development on Route 119 during its meeting Tuesday night.

The development, proposed by Navian Development in Rindge, applied for a special exception from the Zoning Board to allow the crossing of wetlands with a roadway.

The applicant, through its attorney, John Ratigan, requested a rehearing of the issue after its initial proposal was rejected by the board. Ratigan outlined six points where he felt the Zoning Board erred, which were reviewed, and ultimately rejected by the board during its meeting Tuesday.

Ratigan argued the applicant had met extensively with the town’s planning office and officials prior to the application, and were told that their plans were not dissimilar to plans the Planning and Zoning Board had found acceptable in the past. Ratigan argued the plans were not in conflict with the town’s wetlands ordinance, and issues the Zoning Board found with the plan had been accepted in the past by the board.

One of the main issues members of the board found objectionable about the plans was a drainage plan which emptied within the required 50-foot buffer of a wetland.

“That was our main reason for denying. That was pretty clear,” said ZBA member Bill Thomas.

Chair George Carmichael said each application was reviewed in isolation, and that there was not a precedent created when a decision was made. Though the board disputed that it has always or historically approved plans similar to the Navian development, it was irrelevant, the board said.

“Every case stands on its own merits,” Carmichael said.

Navian also challenged the inclusion of Zoning Board member Deni Dickler as a voting member on the issue, arguing she had shown personal bias against the case and speaking on it prior to her recent election to the board. The letter also alleged Dickler, in her capacity on the Conservation Commission, helped to draft a letter from the Commission to the board rendering an opinion on the project.

Dickler, who is an alternate on the Conservation Commission, said she had no part in drafting that letter, which was written by the Conservation Commission Chair David Drouin.

Dickler also denied that she had a personal bias in the case, and that said while she had spoken on the project as a citizen, she had never said she opposed it, and had merely pointed out regulations she wished to see addressed in the process.

“My view has always been that we have regulations that should be followed,” Dickler said. She added that she had been part of the town’s Planned Unit Residential Development, or PURD Committee to revise that ordinance because she believed PURDs were important to the future development of Rindge.

Ratigan also alleged the applicant had not been provided Zoning Board minutes in a timely manner following the hearing.

By law, draft minutes of public meetings are meant to be created and available for public viewing upon request within a week. Cummings told the board the minutes for the meetings were delayed, but had been completed and submitted to Navian Development prior to the board’s meeting on Tuesday.

The board voted 4-1, with member Phil Stenersen opposed, to find that the board had not made any error in fact or in law in their decision, rejecting Navian’s request for a rehearing.


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