Former Freedom ZBA Chief Questions Selectmen’s Actions In Marina Case

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
Freedom

11 Comments

  1. MEAngler 14 years ago January 25, 2008

    Public officials who let their friends violate the law and make the rest of us stay in line eventually get thrown out of office. Putting Tim Kupka on the zoning board is the ultimate insult. What did the selectmen do with the “fine” Kevin Price “paid” last summer for using Alvino Road? They said they would put the check in the safe and not cash it until Price’s “concerns” could be investigated. I’ll bet it’s still sitting there. Another example.

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  2. bill-o 14 years ago January 25, 2008

    I can’t rebuild my deck without getting a permit but the marina gets to do what they want and the selectmen wiggle them out of any jam. We flatlanders pay for this and can’t vote to stop it. At least soemone is speaking out.

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  3. Tom 14 years ago January 25, 2008

    This whole thing has stunk to high hell since the beginning. Price violates town and state law at whim. When the town, the state, and others affected by his actions stopped him, he whined that people were trying to put him out of business. B.S. — everyone has to follow the law, and business is obviously VERY GOOD at the marina. So he gets his own board of selectman, town attorney, and now zoning board, and they not only give him whatever he wants, they spend our money to pay for it.

    Time for a state audit, if not a wider investigation.

    At the very least, the next time he yells that people are putting him out of business, he should have to produce his tax returns and the marina’s books as proof — if he’s going to make that argument he should have to back it up. Put his money where his mouth is. I suspect he’s doing JUST FINE. And why not? He doesn’t have to follow any laws, and the town pays to fight his legal battles for him.

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  4. ac 14 years ago January 25, 2008

    I’m not saying I agree with one side or the other, but I will say that I don’t like government (small town, state or federal) getting into and restricting individuals or business. When I read something like ” it set reasonable limits ” referring to the zoning boards decision for boat storage I immediately get suspect. My experience with town zoning boards and planning boards is that quite often the folks on those boards get locked in “power struggles” and let too much emotion drive decision making. In this case I have to ask how can boat storage cause damage to the environment. The boats have to be stored somewhere, regardless.
    As far as the cost is concerned, as a seasonal resident, I pay heavy taxes and don’t receive commensurate services when compared to other states and the taxes I pay. And, I’m not the only taxpayer that feels that way. So if this “good money ” (some of which is mine) can go towards getting an unbiased decision from the state supreme court, I am all for it.

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  5. Tom 14 years ago January 25, 2008

    So I have to obey the law, but Kevin Price’s business doesn’t?

    And I have to pay for his legal battle over it, and for the town to argue the exact opposite of a case it already won? Only so the state can make the same unbiased decision they already made?

    That’s not a town “restricting individuals,” that’s a town spending everyone else’s tax money on behalf of one wealthy and influential person, regardless of everyone’s else’s interests, and despite the fact that they will most certainly lose again.

    I just don’t understand why the business interests of one rich guy who doesn’t even live in the town come before the interests of the residents and the taxpayers, and why the law applies to everyone but him. If Price decides to put a strip club and casino in at the marina, will the town make me pay for the cost of defending him against the state?

    Jeez, I can’t cut down a tree within 100 feet of the water, but Price can clear-cut a residential lot and put outhouses on it. He must have some pull. Maybe my you-know-what stinks and his doesn’t.

    If I ever get fined by the town I’m gonna ask if they’ll put my check in the safe and not cash it. Yeah, right. Try it with your taxes and see what happens.

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  6. MEAngler 14 years ago January 26, 2008

    I agree with AC that town boards can get emotional but that’s not what happened. I was there ten years ago the marina asked the zba to let them store boats and build two buildings to put them in. Guess what? The zba gave him what he asked for! A lot of lake people were furious because they didn’t even know about the meeting (this was before the internet) but they accepted it and hoped for the best. Of course, he started storing boats all over the place and the selectmen did nothing. He can store plenty of boats in the two buildings and at his Big Dig on Route 16, but it’s never going to be enough. He wants UNLIMITED storage. This is in a RESIDENTIAL neighborhood! You know the expression give an inch take a mile? That’s the marina. The zba did its job 10 years ago. Its the selectmen and current zba that failed the town.

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  7. Don MacLeod 14 years ago January 26, 2008

    What moxie the freedom selectmen must have to again test the logic & tolerance of the courts, and their community, with an issue apparently so contemptuous that even its principle benefactor wants no active association with it. And to heck with the BAR association’s “appearance of conflict” standard, Freedom’s crackerjack town council is going ahead and working both sides of the issue. With the advent of the town’s new obligation for fair & equal access, what a wonderful entitlement each lakeside property owner has just gained for their own legal costs for future zoning issue

    Maybe the OLD MAN in mountain couldn’t take it anymore…. and just jumped….

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  8. Alliance Staff 14 years ago January 30, 2008

    The following letter by Bill White is from the 12.30.08 issue of the Conway Daily Sun:
    To the editor:
    This letter is in response to Donald Bossie’s letter regarding the Ossipee Lake Marina. For the past 30 years, my wife and I have owned a vacation home in Carroll County, the last 17 of those years in Freedom. One of the first people we met was Tim Cupka. Tim is one of the most reliable, honest and hard working people we know.
    Mr. Bossie is correct when he questions the actions of the board of selectmen. The first court case and the legal expenses incurred by the taxpayers were necessary to protect the 1997 zoning board of adjustment limits. However the recent actions of the current zoning board of adjustment and the legal expenses incurred by the taxpayers are totally unacceptable. Now the board of selectmen is adding to these costs by appealing the recent court ruling.
    Not long ago, Freedom established a shorefront district and significantly increased the tax burden to a minority of homeowners. Most of who don’t reside full time in the town and use few of the services. In doing so, they also reduced the tax burden on many of themselves in the other parts of town. How Nice! Although we can’t vote at the town meeting, those who can should demand a full accounting of how much each of these cases have cost the taxpayers. Certainly, Police Chief Shackford and/or Fire Chief Doe could put that money to better use.
    Having served both in compensated and non-compensated elected positions in the past myself, the amount of time involved never matches the compensation. So we owe a thank you to those who do serve in the taxpayers’ best interests. I agree that either voting out or recalling those who insist on continuing the “marina” matter should take place this March.
    With regard to Tim Cupka serving as an alternate to the zoning board of adjustment, was he the only candidate to offer his time, or was he selected over someone else? Either way, to imply that Tim Cupka would do anything other than serve the town with complete integrity amounts to a cheap shot and Bossie should apologize immediately.
    Bill White Freedom and Lynnfield, Mass.

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  9. Alliance Staff 14 years ago February 4, 2008

    The following appeared in the 2.4.08 issue of the Conway Daily Sun:
    —To the editor:
    This is a response to the “flat lander” Bill White, who is enamored with a Tim Cupka, yet agrees that the Marina and town selectmen have gone further than one would expect.
    It would have been nice if he even took the time to spell my name correctly. I’m not French, so eliminate the “e,” since I’m not French and proud of that. I’m Swiss-Italian and an American.
    But then again if he took the time to fully read my letter he may have agreed with all my findings instead of making those ludicrous statements.
    But then again we can’t expect a rational discussion with one who has “served in compensated and non-compensated elected positions in the past.” How nice!
    Step up to plate Bill and admit your errors. I’m not about to apologize to anyone in this matter.

    Don Bossi
    Freedom

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  10. ac 14 years ago February 4, 2008

    Don,

    Any credibility you may have had with your first post (and there was not much) was just lost with this most recent one.

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  11. Alliance Staff 14 years ago February 9, 2008

    The following appeared in the 2.8.08 issue of the Sun:
    Stick with the facts and stop chasing ghosts
    — To the editor:
    This letter is a response to Donald Bossi’s Feb. 4 letter, and my final comments on this matter.
    First and foremost I would like to formally apologize to the Bossie families for mistakenly dragging their good name into this debate. I am sure that they, like Donald Bossi, are very proud of their heritage, and based on the comments in his letter, will most likely remind him of that either in person or by phone.
    It is always pleasant when someone I am having a discussion/debate with proves my point, as Mr. Bossi has done. His derogatory remarks regarding a perceived lack of integrity by Mr. Cupka, the Bossie family name and me, proves, without a reasonable doubt, how small minded and totally out of touch with reality he is. So I thank him for clarifying that. As an alternate to the Freedom zoning board of adjustment, Mr. Cupka would only serve if a sitting member can’t make a meeting. This is critical, as people are awaiting decisions from the board or have taken the necessary time to present their case in front of the board. Should a case involving the marina ever come before the zoning board of adjustment, Mr. Cupka would be required to recuse himself. This was precisely the point I was making in my Jan. 30 letter.
    In the future it would behoove Mr. Bossi to stick with the facts and stop chasing ghosts when publicly commenting on a matter. You do owe Mr. Cupka and now the Bossie families, as well as anyone else of French descent, an apology, so be a real man Don, and do it.
    Bill White Freedom and Lynnfield, Mass.

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