Ossipee – January 22, 2009 – A lake property owner has hired an attorney and a civil engineer to oppose dredging the Lovell River to remediate environmental damage caused by his neighbor, Donald Lee.
In a January 7th letter to DES, an attorney for James Lamm said his client is concerned that the dredging plan ordered by a Superior Court judge last April will “adversely affect the lake environment without accomplishing any lasting benefit.”
The attorney, E. Tupper Kinder of Manchester, asserted to DES that Lamm’s property rights extend to the center of the Lovell River and the agency “has no authority” to approve dredging “without his permission.” Kinder also said his client opposes dredging adjacent property if it will have an adverse impact “on the portion of the Lovell River bed which is owned by him.”
Lamm’s concerns stem from a report he commissioned from University of New Hampshire civil engineering professor Thomas Ballestero. After visiting the site and reviewing many of the technical documents filed in the Lee case, Ballestero concluded that the information at hand is “inadequate to predict a favorable outcome of a dredging project.”
Lamm wants a new study of the situation, according to Kinder, who put DES on notice that if it proceeds with a dredging plan it must impose conditions that include a project design that ensures his client’s property “will not be adversely affected over the long term,” and “financial assurances that any adverse affects…are corrected immediately and at the sole cost of the applicant.”
But who the applicant might be is anyone’s guess. More than two years after a State Court judge ordered Lee to file a remediation plan with DES there is still no approved plan for the project, raising the possibility that the State itself may have to remove thousands of tons of sediment and debris from the lake.
Last April, Superior Court judge James D. O’Neill ordered Lee to apply to DES within 60 days to implement the “preferred alternative” plan that was detailed in the trial by environmental specialists.
Instead, Lee filed an entirely different plan with DES, prompting abutting property owners from the Ossipee Bluffs Association to file a Motion for Contempt against him in July. The Motion asks the State to impose civil fines and place a lien on Lee’s property to cover the $850,000 estimated project cost.
The Motion was scheduled to be heard in November, but was continued to January 20 after Lee asked for more time to prepare. This week, the scheduled court date was postponed again after the presiding judge said he was not finished with a murder trail that is running late.
A history of the Lee case can be found by clicking here.