Selectmen Won’t Intervene in Alvino Road Issue

Freedom — July 27, 2009 — No, we won’t intervene in the Zoning Board’s decision regarding Alvino Road. That was the Freedom Select Board’s answer to Ossipee Lake Marina owner Kevin Price at their meeting on Monday, July 20. Alvino Road is a dirt road that runs close to the shoreline between Ossipee Lake Marina and Ossipee Lake. It’s not Alvino Road itself but access to it from the Marina that is the point of contention.

Leaving the opening un-gated allows for a circular traffic pattern in and out of the Marina. With access to Alvino Road closed off, Marina traffic is confined to its one driveway. Price had submitted his request to the Select Board two weeks earlier, at their July 6 meeting, when he presented them with his attorney’s written opinion on Alvino Road. According to meeting minutes, Price had “asked the board to consider overturning the condition the ZBA placed on the property with its 2002 approval.”

Price based his request upon the fact that the ZBA, when it made its decision, thought that Alvino Road was a Class VI road whereas, in fact, Price claimed, it is a private road. At prior Select Board meetings, Board members had agreed that Alvino Road is a private road and had questioned the town’s jurisdiction over private property.

At the July 6 meeting, Enforcement Officer Ned Hatfield stated that he has “the opinion that the town does have jurisdiction over a private road.” Furthermore, Hatfield urged the Board, before making decision either way regarding Price’s request, to “be sure” that they have “the authority to overturn the ZBA decision.”

The July 6 meeting ended with Board Chair Les Babb stating that the Board would review the information submitted by Price and discuss it again at its July 20 meeting. Price’s attorney’s opinion, though a public document, was not available for review at this time.

The ZBA decision being reconsidered is dated July 12, 2002. The application asked for a special exception to approve a bathroom building on Marina property. The bathroom building had already been constructed and the Marina was seeking “after the fact” approval for it.

The bathroom building located on what is known as Lot 42, which Price had purchased in 1999 and which is a residential lot adjacent to the original Marina lot. (The entire Marina is a grandfathered business in an area that is zoned as residential). The ZBA approved Price’s application for the bathroom, with several conditions, including: “Alvino Road’s entrance be accessible for emergency vehicles only.”

As the Board took up discussion on July 20, Select Board member Neal Boyle stated that it wasn’t “wise” for the Board to make any decision at this time. He urged the parties involved to enter binding arbitration and made a motion to table the agenda item. His motion was not seconded.

Board Member Jim Brown wanted to be able to respond to Price’s request, as did Babb, who, though he liked the idea of arbitration, felt that the Board needed to make a decision. Brown stated that Alvino Road shouldn’t be included in this discussion because, in his opinion, the issue at hand isn’t Alvino Road, it’s Lot 42. As such, Alvino Road’s status as a private road and the issue of town’s jurisdiction over private roads are irrelevant.

He wants to stick with the ZBA’s 2002 decision and stated that the Select Board does not have the right to “overturn” the Zoning Board’s decision. The Marina is not to use Lot 42 for commercial purposes, he said, other than those specifically allowed by the ZBA’s July 12, 2002 approval of the bathroom building. Driving to Alvino Road over Lot 42 from the original Marina would be a commercial use of Lot 42 and would therefore be impermissible under current regulations.

Babb agreed. He stated that he doesn’t think the Select Board has the authority to overrule either the Zoning or the Planning Boards; in his opinion, the Select Board’s duty is to “oversee the enforcement” of other boards’ decisions.

Their answer to Price: your attorney had asked us to “intervene” in the 2002 ZBA decision and “we’re not going to” do that.

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