Freedom — January 24, 2008 — To the editor: Is it time for a change? Freedom’s selectmen should explain to the citizens of Freedom why they are taking the Ossipee Lake Marina boat storage case to the state Supreme Court. Another court case?
This case has a long history but is not complicated. When the zoning board, of which I was vice chairman, approved storage in 1997 it set reasonable limits to protect the environment and value of the surrounding residential neighborhood. In 2003, Kevin Price, the owner, sued the town to be rid of the limits and he lost.
A year ago, the zoning board voted 3-1 to eliminate the limits, and their decision was challenged. In November, a superior court judge reversed the zoning board and re-established the limits. The town won again. The selectmen, however, are now appealing that reversal to the state Supreme Court. Why?
Freedom benefits from having a marina on the lake, but the questions about this marina and this owner have always been — at what cost? Is there more than meets the eye when we consider the selectmen’s actions?
From a strictly financial perspective the town taxpayers have already paid to take this case to court twice: once to have the town attorney defend the limits, and again to have him argue against it a few years later. How much has it cost us to date and how much more will be charged because of the selectmen’s reluctance to accept the courts actions?
This makes no sense, but it’s even worse if you don’t learn anything from past outcomes. In both cases, the court ruled the limits set by the zoning board of adjustment in 1997 were legal and reasonable, and in the current case the court said the current zoning board had no business overruling the decision of the predecessor board. How many times does the court have to rule against the town?
In addition to the cost of this case, there is the disturbing fact that Kevin Price was allowed to openly violate the storage limits for years. Instead of seeking enforcement, the selectmen issued an order allowing him to circumvent the limits. They later had to rescind this order on the town counsel’s advice. Do you sense there may be more to it than what we can ascertain from these irresponsible actions?
Further, Timothy Cupka, the marina manager and husband of a current selectman, was recently appointed as an alternate to the zoning board of adjustment. How nice!
This case is spending more of our good money even after several court decisions have been made against these actions. Why?
The board of selectmen has set a new standard for raw indifference to the courts and to the citizens of Freedom. We are all poorer for this indifference and are owed an explanation. After 11 years, enough is enough.
Don’t you think it is about time for a change in leadership? Let’s start making this change when we vote in March.
Donald E. Bossi