Ossipee – May 18, 2017 – If the Town of Ossipee is being sued by another town, Ossipee taxpayers have a right to know who’s footing the bill. The Town of Freedom, funded by an established non-profit organization, is suing the Town of Ossipee and its planning board for the latter’s decision to allow a massive expansion of Westward Shores Camping Area on Ossipee Lake.
At the urging of Ossipee Selectman Richard Morgan, selectmen here voted May 15 to send a formal information request to Freedom selectmen. They want copies of the non-profit formation papers, the officers of the organization, and a list of the donors and the amounts they have donated. Morgan said the people of Ossipee have a right to know the people’s names that are paying to sue them.
Morgan said the Town of Ossipee has already spent “several thousand dollars” defending against Freedom’s suit. Morgan also said he finds a great deal of hypocrisy in the fact that Freedom has done far more development on Ossipee Lake yet finds the need to sue Ossipee when developers want to develop this side of the lake.
What right, legally, does Ossipee have that they can demand the donors’ names and the amounts of their donations?
My reaction to Richard Morgan’s “hypocrisy” comment relates to what I would claim as being the more fragile portions of the Ossipee waterway system. I believe that the lower lying portions of that water system include the area now controlled by DRED….extending from Long Sands to just west of the Pine River…and the area extending from Deer Cove to immediately North of the protected loon nesting area (just North of Phillips Brook). Obviously these lower lying areas could be viewed as being a greater environmental threat to the waterway system if development were to be allowed to continue unchecked. Therefore there is no “hypocrisy” on the part of the Town of Freedom.
Even with an ex-police Chief on the Board, Ossipee continues to struggle as a town to follow the right-to-know law, proper abatement procedures, clear instruction and chain-of-command for its employees or even a basic vision for the community. That they don’t realize, or don’t care, what the legal and political ramifications of this inquiry will raise should come as no surprise. In took gross incompetence on Ossipee’s part, over several decades and numerous boards, to allow Westward Shores to become the debacle it now is. You have as much luck changing the course of Ossipee as you would trying to steer the Titanic with a teaspoon!