The state owns a small boat ramp on White Pond, but Ossipee’s highway department has been repairing it for years, citing the state’s “negligence.” DES says the repairs have degraded the lake water and should not have been performed without a permit. Now it has given the town a deadline to clean things up.
A petition signed by 37 town residents seeks to “promote the ‘live free or die culture’ and possibly spur economic development” by dumping zoning, which has been in place since 2000. The town’s Planning Board and most members of the public attending a January 17 hearing on the petition think otherwise.
Ossipee’s town attorney told a Superior Court judge the Select Board is committed to developing a plan to prevent the kind of crowding that occurred at the November 28 special town meeting, at which some people were kept outside during the discussion. The court will consider the town’s plan at a review hearing in August or September. The town attorney also said discussions to resolve legal issues between the town and Camp Sokokis seller Dianne Sheehan are proceeding, with responsibility for legal fees still on the table.
Sheehan didn’t waive her constitutional right to free speech when she signed an agreement to sell her land, the court ruled. Moreover, it would be impossible for the town to prove that 15 people — the margin of loss in the vote — changed their mind because of Sheehan’s actions.
Two Ossipee residents, Joy Gagnon and Joshua Arnold, have filed a civil complaint alleging the right of residents to vote on the Camp Sokokis purchase was compromised by the town’s failure to meet the open meeting provisions of the state’s right to know law. Specifically they said people who waited outside because of a lack of seating could not hear or register as voters or get handouts to explain how the meeting would operate. The complaint asks the court to mandate a new vote to be held in a larger venue.