Farmington Planning Board Wimps Out

At a public hearing on July 15, the Farmington Planning Board (Jim Horgan, Hiram Watson, Gary White, Charlie King, Don MacVane, Troy Robidas, Bill Tsiros) wimped out by postponing voting on whether or not to put before the voters the Interim Growth Management Regulation (IGMR) which, for the period of one year, would halt all large residential subdivisions, multi-family projects, and condominium schemes so that the Planning Board can get some actual planning done.

The hall was packed; more chairs had to be set up for the overflow crowd. Many of the people in attendance were among the 251 residents who had signed the petition urging the Planning Board to do one simple thing on July 15: to let the people decide by a special ballot vote whether or not to put the IGMR in place.

As expected, there was a handful of surveyors and developers in the crowd who argued against the IGMR, but most people weren't fooled by their pretty speeches. And on the Planning Board, a couple of the cronies of the vested interests made sly arguments against putting the thing before the people for a vote, saying, as Barry Elliott said, we need "[still] more input, more people involved" - as if to say the 251 residents who signed the petition were not "enough" people "involved."

It was interesting to note that the surveyors and developers with vested interests, along with Planning Board member Bill Tsiros (the latter to the tune of 1251+ words in his rambling speech), held the floor longer than just about all the residents, who simply wanted the Planning Board to let the people decide.

What follows here is what people had to say at the July 15 hearing. The CCC has transcribed, word for word (except where the tape was unintelligible), many of the speeches delivered that night, some of them long. And where appropriate, the CCC interjects its take on those speeches.

The members of the Zoning and Master Plan Subcommittee (ZAMPS) were identified: Brad Anderson, Charlie King, Hiram Watson, Ann Alexander (absent that night), Norman Russell and Paul Parker. These are the people who, guided by our professional planner, Mike Gareppy, put together the well-crafted, legally-correct IGMR.

WH Anderson
After BRAD ANDERSON explained what the IGMR was all about, the Planning Board (PB) took comments from the people in the hall. In what follows, take note of the developers and surveyors who - no surprise here - make a concerted effort to kill the IGMR.

Selectman JERRY MCCARTHY asked if the ZAMPS subcommittee was unanimous in recommending the IGMR, and was told it was.

NORM RUSSELL read the following:

Zoning is a tool for a community to regulate development in a way that is consistent with a vision which citizens of that community conceive.

The key elements of the zoning concept are citizens, community and vision.

The master plan is intended to achieve a vision for the manner in which a community develops derived through broad public input from citizens of that community.

The master plan adopted by the planning board in 1998 is fundamentally flawed. It is widely perceived and abundantly clear that the 1998 master plan is not a product of broad public input by citizens of the community.

Regardless of how the 1998 master plan was derived, many of the planning tasks identified in it to be accomplished have not been achieved by the planning board.

Among the roles and responsibilities of the planning board is the responsibility to facilitate the vision of the citizens of the community by developing regulations and ordinances that support the vision generated as a collection of broad public input.

The planning board members individually or collectively do not have the responsibility or authority to modify the vision of the collective community, regardless of how they might personally feel about that vision.

The planning board is about to consider an Interim Growth Management Regulation. This IGMR is likely the most important issue the planning board has ever considered since zoning was established in Farmington.

Simply voting for or against the IGO without a well- reasoned dialog would not serve the citizens of this community that want to understand how the planning board will determine the outcome of whether the citizens will have an opportunity to vote to decide if this should be implemented.

Board members should make statements that support their positions on the IGO.

Those statements should address as a minimum the record of the planning board accomplishments since 1998 by the planning board.

Any noteworthy information members have acquired about IGMRs- e.g. "I attended a law lecture series on growth management and I support/ do not support IGO because ." ( then explain why)

Any future plans by the planning board to get planning tasks accomplished, with an identification of those tasks, and a time frame for their completion.

A discussion of the findings of fact by the ZAMPS subcommittee.

An evaluation of the time the planning board spends receiving applications verses time spent on planning tasks.

It is my sincere hope that the planning board will recommend this IGMR, and recognizes that to delay action to adopt it will result in irreversible change to the character of the community, and that the planning board recognize that there is much to accomplish and very little time to accomplish it.

JOHN WINGATE presented the PB with a petition signed by 251 residents of Farmington urging the PB to put the IGMR before the people, post haste.

WH McCarthy WH Russell WH Wingate

MARILYN ROBICHEAU said she didn't see a downside to bringing the IGMR before the people at a Special Town Meeting.

CINDY PAULIN said, "It is important we realize we have an all-volunteer board, so I really support this, because if we don't take this break that the IGMR offers, we will see a lot of changes that will be difficult for us to live with. So I support this, and again, since these are all volunteers, we need to give them the tools they need."

JEAN PEASE said the scuttlebutt on the streets of Farmington is that it is already too late - that the growth is out of control. She asked if we can we keep the horse in the barn, or has the horse already gotten out of the barn?

WH Robicheau WH Paulin WH Pease (left)

And then up rose surveyor RANDY ORVIS, who said:

BH Orvis

CCC:   ORVIS has a vested interest in killing the IGMR, since he makes a hefty chunk of change surveying off lots for developers. Notice that he blathers on, with a certain conviction and a measure of confident suavité, about the IGMR being poorly written, but doesn't point to a single specific example of that alleged poor writing. In fact, the ordinance is carefully crafted, and legally sustainable. Also notice that ORVIS tosses in a scare tactic - i.e. the PB will be swamped with applications from developers after the year's moratorium is over. So, is he acknowledging that our town is swamped with developers' schemes?

"I've read this proposed regulation here and I find some of the statements in here rather misleading . . ." Next Randy read, and questioned, some of the figures for new houses in Farmington, and then, by way of playing down the number of houses being built in town, went on, "First off . . . a subdivision lot is not a building permit. Just because a subdivision is approved this year doesn't mean a house is going to be built on it this year . . . This document talks about current zoning regulations and subdivision regulations and everything being poorly written. I think this document is poorly written - just as poorly written as our other documents are, and I'd like to go on to say . . . if this is passed, it will have absolutely the opposite effect of what's intended. First off, it doesn't limit building permits. If there's a market, people are going to build . . . they're going to come to Farmington if there's a market . . .and they're going to go for the lots they they can build on - lots of record . . . out at Lancelot Shores, lots of record out on Meaderboro Road; they're gonna bring in sprawl to these lots . . . [garble] . . . Further, you're gonna give developers a whole year to get their land surveyed, and then when the moratorium comes off on subdivisions, then the Planning Board will be inundated with [garbled] 72 applications in one meeting. It's just not gonna work. What I suggest is that the Planning Board get rid of looking at the details of the meeting. Let the planner do that. Let the planner make recommendations through the Planning Board, and have subdivisions go through in just a few minutes. There's no reason why they can't. I suggest that maybe the Planning Board attend some of the other local towns. Go up to Wolfeboro, see how they operate. See how their planner up there prepares the applications. Go to Alton, go to some of the other towns. I think the Planning Board can find time to write regulations and ordinances, and review subdivisions at the same time, if the planner takes care of the details for them . . . [this IGMR] is a bad ordinance . . . it will do the exact opposite of what it's intended to do."

BH Jacobs
Hard on the heels of surveyor Randy Orvis's speech came the equally interesting speech of CHRIS JACOBS, of Crown Point Engineering and Surveying. Jacobs is a resident of Milton, and a selectman in that town. His long rant is interrupted; notice how eager Don MacVane and Jim Horgan are to let him have his say. Also notice how he keeps saying "we", as if he is a resident of Farmington. And note his bringing up the irrelevant matters of porn shops and public water ripoff (like the USA ripoff of Nottingham's water). Here (with additional CCC comments) is what this guy (whose money-making at our expense might be slowed up a tad if we enact the IGMR) had to say:

CHRIS JACOBS: "For the record, I want to be clear. I am not a resident of Farmington; I'm a resident of Milton. Our communities are very close in their structure and how they rely on each other . . . One of the concerns that I have is that the way the ordinance is written, it has to be approved by the local legislative body. It's my understanding it would be the Town Meeting. Your next Town Meeting is in March, so the only way you could actually get another Town Meeting is to go to superior court . . . get a decision . . ."

MARGARET RUSSELL interrupted, saying that we didn't need to go to superior court to hold a special town meeting. Gee, wouldn't you think JACOBS, given his line of work, and given the fact that he's a selectmen in Milton, would know that?

JIM HORGAN interjects: "My understanding is you don't need a court to do a special Town Meeting." Others straighten JACOBS out on this point, but still, he goes on:

JACOBS: "Because that's always been the acid test as to whether you can get something approved or not approved . . ." Then he rattles on about how in Milton ("over the ridge," he says, chummily) they wanted to have a special town meeting because money was involved, blah blah blah . . . "So I wanted [your] board to be clear whether they were actually going to be able to get a special Town Meeting. The other concern I had is that . . . really the ordinance . . . Charlie [King?] mentioned that it would give . . ."

Here JACOBS is interrupted by gripes that this guy isn't a citizen of Farmington, so why is he given this time to speak?

CCC:  Ah yes, he does work regularly in this town, surveying off lots.

HORGAN answered: "Well, because he does work regularly in this town. He does provide a lot of input to the Board . . ."

There are more vociferous objections from the citizens, which are overridden by HORGAN'S saying, "I would like you to hear what he has to say."

ALICIA SPRAGUE: "As a voter in Farmington, I don't want to hear what he has to say."

MATTHEW MACVANE: "As a voter in Farmington, I want to hear what he has to say."

Then, Board member HIRAM WATSON chimes in to say he wants to hear what JACOBS has to say.

There is more heated discussion, with HORGAN overriding objections with, "It is public . . . I think he has an input that is important. It may be a different perspective from where you . . ."

(Here it sounds as if someone is saying you can come from Hong Kong and have your say at this meeting.)

CCC:  It is true that the PB gets criticized for not listening to the townspeople, but they don't get criticized for not listening to developers who rape our town and our pocketbooks; the PB has a track record of being great at listening to them. At a PB meeting a couple of years ago, when a member of the CCC, by way of determining how many new kids might be coming to town, asked developer Craig Lancey of R&W Realty how many bedrooms one of his proposed apartment housing schemes would have, MACVANE, then chair of the PB, told Lancey he "didn't have to answer" the question.

Then there's this interesting bit from PB member DON MACVANE: "Mr. Chairman, we get criticized for not listening to people."

HORGAN gives the nod to JACOBS to continue; meanwhile, Jane Wingate insists on asking JACOBS just what he does. He says he is a licensed land surveyor, a licensed civil engineer, a selectman for the town of Milton. Wingate asks whom he works for; he says he owns his own company (i.e., Crown Point Engineering and Surveying). Wingate asks if he works for developers. He says he works "for people who want fences put up, pools installed, houses located . . ." Wingate presses on, "And developers?"

CCC:  Why is that question "inappropriate"? Seems it is highly appropriate, since the guy has a vested interest in killing the IGMR.

At this point, MACVANE interrupts, saying, "Mr Chairman, this is inappropriate."

CCC:  Well, duh, yeah - that's the idea: the IGMR will have a year free from "spending time with prospective new subdivisions." Pretty transparent here, Mr. Jacobs.

JACOBS magnanimously says "It's a legitimate question . . ." [then, unintelligible] Then he gets back to his objections about the IGMR. "The concern that I have is that the Interim Growth Ordinance is . . . that it limits the amount of time the Planning Board has to spend with prospective new subdivisions that would come before the board in the coming year . . ."

JACOBS goes on (and notice how long he goes on):

"From my perspective, the horse is out of the barn. We're trying to close the door and not let any more horses out of the barn . . . " [tape garbled here: he's saying something about 200 house lots already approved] " . . . What we've experienced over the ridge is we haven't had a tremendous amount of big subdivisions before the Planning Board..but [we] are tied up with leftover lots from 1989 . . . back in the last seven years [?] that are now getting developed and what we've seen, and Farmington is seeing the same thing, is [that] house lots in Dover are now $100,000 . . . $65,000 in Rochester. Two years ago you could have bought any house lot you wanted to and a little old building [?] for $20,000 . . . now you can't touch it for $45,000 . . . It's the pressure of 'We're all scared in our community . . . our chance to grow is heading north . . . not everyone can afford a $100,000 lot, so we're coming up to Farmington and Milton and going up to Wolfeboro and New Durham and wherever. Someone else made the comment, and the part that I'm concerned about is . . . we [CCC: Who's the "we" here? Since when did Jacobs become a resident of Farmington?] put down something as that's most critical: sexually oriented business. This is something that does affect us . . . by living 3 miles away up on the ridge.

CCC:  Ya gotta love the way this guy pulls out the scare tactics about porn and water ripoff, which have nothing to do with this ordinance.

Something of that nature occurs in Farmington, it would affect us. It would appear that while this ordinance is intended to limit new residential growth, it does nothing to limit a sexually-oriented business from showing up tomorrow. It does nothing to . . . [something about the likes of USA Spring coming into town, aiming to withdraw our water]"

JACOBS continues: "So that the problem I have is what we're trying to regulate. If we're regulating residential growth, [that's] not one of the things listed as most critical, and that what we're trying to

CCC:  Now he's really one of us, with his rampant "we's".

control and what we're trying to pass are two different things . . . Are we in some respects missing the boats? Should the growth ordinance also limit sexually-oriented businesses? It doesn't limit . . . you see what I'm driving at? There's three different horses coming out of the barn. We're catching one and we're letting the other run willy-nilly down the street. That's the problem that the growth ordinance has.

CCC:  Why would JACOBS be against capital improvement plans and impact fees? If Farmington has a CIP, it's no money out of his pocket; and as a surveyor, he doesn't have to pay impact fees.

I have to also agree with Mr. Orvis that this isn't really going to stop growth in Farmington . . . the pressure . . . it's a machine bigger than all of us. All's we can do is regulate it, manage it, come up with CIP's (capital improvement plans), come up with impact fees - things that I'm not against . . ."

JACOBS goes on: "They're part of [garbled] doing business. [NOTE: he stumbled over that: not clear whether he said part of his doing biz, or "everybody's" doing

CCC:  Aha - now we get to the nub of it, eh?

biz - i.e., the developers he works for.] But that we're still going to be doing a lot of surveying, and come March 2004, we are going to be in here for probably close to 100 lots over ten different projects."

Perhaps sensing he's in over his head now, JACOBS rattles on: "What happens, it's gonna be a . . . stopgap . . . If the ordinance is intended to limit the impact on schools, it won't have any effect . . ."

The rest of JACOBS'S speech is garbled: he may be saying something about his lots having a "longer-term effect" - he might have said because the lots wouldn't be built on right away. With that, he's finished. Whew!

BRAD ANDERSON then said the IGMR is intended only to give the PB time to plan, by lessening its work load for a year.

JOHN HUCKINS, who owns land in Farmington and who is on the Barrington Planning Board, asks if the town has interviewed any consultants for the Master Plan. ANDERSON says there is about 20 grand in the budget for the Master Plan alone. At a previous PB meeting, HUCKINS tried to put the PB off the IGMR, citing the work that would have to be done. It is not clear where he is coming from with his nay-saying. He did say that the Barrington Planning Board has no professional planner, so we ought to question why that is, since Barrington is suffering tremendous growth. Perhaps he ought to be encouraging an IGMR for Barrington, rather than discouraging one for our town.

After HUCKINS, others spoke in favor of the IGMR. Among then were PAUL PARKER, TOM BRENNAN, and MARGARET RUSSELL. Margaret read from a prepared statement:

It's obvious from the number of citizens urging the Planning Board to give them a chance to make the decision on the interim growth regulation with their vote that they see a need for the Board to take planning for our town seriously.

They see the town growing at a rapid, uncontrolled speed and they're very concerned.

Some members of this board - and you know who you are - have in public spoken out against the need for this growth regulation. It's quite obvious to people who attend public meetings that you have your minds made up to vote against allowing the citizens of Farmington to decide the fate of their town at the polling booth.

By supporting the interim growth regulation and allowing it to go before the voters you'll be sending a message that you are serious about planning for our town's future and that you respect the wishes of the citizens of our town.

The direction of our town's growth should be the choice of the people of the town, and not reflect the personal feelings or agendas of just a few.

If you Planning Board members decide not to support this ordinance, the people who have urged you to do so at this time will have this ordinance placed on the ballot in March.

I'm urging you to support this ordinance now, and to allow the citizens of this town to make the decision about the future growth of our town sooner, rather than later.

WH Russell, WH Parker WH Brennan

Another developer, BOB FRIZZELL, rose to diss the IGMR:

BH Frizzell
" . . . I am building in Farmington . . . of the six houses on Governor's Ridge that I have sold . . . only one house. . . two houses have children . . . If every town in the seacoast that is having - they're all having growth problems very similar to what Farmington is having [Note: He recognizes there is a problem with growth] - if every town in the seacoast did the same thing that Farmington wants to do, then you'd probably see, before that year was up . . . 20-30,000 people laid off, because that's really the biggest industry in the seacoast industry right now - lumber yards, concrete companies . . ."

FRIZZELL cites two drivers for concrete companies that were just hired - essentially repeating, laying out what would happen if all towns enacted an IGMR along with Farmington, at the same time . . .

CCC:  Note his pitch: if Farmington enacts the IGMR, jobs will be lost left and right. The old "jobs, jobs, jobs" scare rearing its ugly head. Never mind that all those builders, all those concrete pourers, all those drivers are contributing to the surge in building in Farmington, at the expense of the rest of us who pay the resulting taxes.

FRIZZELL continues: "It's gonna happen. If that was the way to manage growth through the whole seacoast area, it wouldn't be long before you start seeing a lot of layoffs . . . My company's grown. I have 25 employees; three of them live in Farmington; a couple of them even travelled to Massachusetts to work before they came to work for me. I'm not saying it's a bad thing; I know you have problems with growth, I just don't think that's the way to go. I know some people that have 3/4 million dollars invested in property that they bought, knowing they can do a certain thing that it's legal to do, but now . . ."

Here the tape becomes garbled, but FRIZZELL goes on a bit, saying in euphemistic terms, how those unfortunate speculators might not be able to make the killing they thought they would make. Again, at the expense of the rest of us.

In response, MARGARET RUSSELL nails it:

"When anybody buys a large parcel of land, or makes a speculative purchase [of property], they don't have a given right [to make a fortune from it] . . . The Interim Growth (Management Ordinance) isn't to stop growth. It's so you guys (the PB) can get your act together and get regulations in place so that we can handle [growth] . . . We're not trying to stop anything. In a year, we're not going to ruin this person's [Frizzell's] development. Maybe we might even increase [his profits because] in a year's time, he probably will get more for it. So I don't see how we're hurting anybody . . . "It's our town, and the people in this town should have the right to go to those polls and decide what it is we want to do to this town. It's our town."

CCC:  Once again, this is slippery stuff: Orvis doesn't give a single specific; doesn't point to a single Finding of Fact in the IGMR to illustrate his case against the IMGR.

RANDY ORVIS: "I agree. The voters of this town should have the right to go to the polls. The only thing I don't agree on is that this is not the ordinance we should be [voting on?]. It should be modified [from end to end????]. Reading this, it does not have the effect that's intended. Take something, go to the polls, rewrite it, have another public hearing, and then let's go to the polls."

JANE WINGATE (scarcely intelligible): The gist of what she said: 251 people signed the petition urging the Planning Board to let the people vote on this. More people would have signed if there had been than three or four people gathering signatures. It isn't right for the Planning Board to give the vested interests (Randy Orvis, Chris Jacobs, Bob Frizzell) equal say to the residents of the town who want this to go to a vote.

CCC:  Twice the PB was asked to go through the 15 Findings of Fact that justify why we need an IGMR. Twice the request was ignored.

MARGARET RUSSELL: "I would hope you would do what Norman [Russell] suggested before you make a vote: to go through the Findings of Fact and tell us why it is you want this or don't want it, so it will be on record why you voted the way you did."

After a recess, chairman JIM HORGAN ended the public comment and asked each board member to state his thoughts about the IMGR.

TROY ROBIDAS: "Obviously I . . . want this to go to town vote. Be crazy not to . . . I'd like to know a little bit more about how we're going to collect information . . . (to hear from more people on what our Master Plan ought to be, rather than 200 people who have their say; they aren't the whole town) . . . Then when we make the zoning changes to go along with the Master Plan, we find out it's not what everybody wanted."

BRAD ANDERSON (on the ZAMPS committee, but not on the PB since being axed by the Troika on April 28, 2003) said there is a better awareness now than when the Master Plan was last revised; there are ways to gather public input - the community profile process, the SWOT meeting.

DON MACVANE: said he thought it was swell that 10% of the townspeople responded to the questionnaire sent out (in 2000) asking people questions

CCC:  see MacVane's long rant, below.

about how they wanted the community to be. He said he was "impressed" by the turnout at this meeting, and "also at the number of people that signed the petition."

OTF King

CCC:  Charlie King is a recent addition to the PB, and seems well-intentioned and conscientious. However, In his zeal to be "fair," he tends to hew to his notion that any one of the town's residents has a "vested" interest in the town equal to what (to cite an example a propos to the IGMR) surveyor Randy Orvis has, or to what big-time developer Packy Campbell has. Charlie perhaps would be wise to follow the money, and consider who among us subsidizes a few of the really "vested" interests.

CHARLIE KING: " . . . I'm a member of the ZAMPS subcommittee and one of the people that was in support of putting this forth before the . . . [people] . . . There's a lot of reasons we're in this position . . . This is a proposal that Mike Garrepy [town planner] had a lot of input . . . to some of the information there that was presented . . . and I'm glad to hear there's some additional input, and I challenge Randy [Orvis] to bring forth his thoughts because I know from [his] being on the Zoning Board that he's active person in the community and wants to make a difference, and I'm challenging him to bring that input forth so we can put something potentially better to the town . . . . But  . . . I'm not short-sighted to putting this forth is going to solve our problems. What we're doing is turning up the volume for us to get our homework done, and as Mr. Huckins has pointed out, it is somewhat potentially unrealistic unless we get people in the community to participate . . . if we're going to form additional boards. So, I'm in support of this, but I'm also recognizing the amount of additional work that I myself will have to put in by supporting it, and I'm urging anybody else to also participate, not only if this goes through, but in the future, because that is what will help Farmington become a better community . . . people in the community participating. What you see on this board are all volunteers who are trying to make a difference. We may not agree with everybody at the same time, nor do they agree with me..but . . . I respect their contributions and urge other people in the community to try to [do that?]"

And now we come to the 1251+ word ramble by Bill Tsiros. Notice how Tsiros starts off saying he has been speaking out against the developers who come to town, do their thing, clear out,and stick us with the ensuing problems of their schemes, then rambles all over the map, and ultimately comes up with a handful of lame excuses why we ought'nt enact an IMGR. His speech is quite the study; you might want to jack yourself up on a stiff dose of caffeine before tackling it.

BH Tsiros
BILL TSIROS: " . . . I agree that the [ZAMPS] subcommittee did an excellent . . . work . . . a lot of hard work - hours . . . on a volunteer basis. That is to be commendable, especially . . . the younger generation because they have many more things to do." (Next Bill goes into a riff about being one of the oldest members of the board, "not part of the good ole boys, part of the old boys . . .") Some people didn't know: five years ago, four years ago, three years ago, even, I was the one who wanted to do something about those developers. They're coming into Farmington, taking a nice chunk of land, subdivide it, and all they're looking out for [is] a profit - take the profit, and then move out. And they leave us with non-quality housing. The people are nice people because eventually we all blend together. I'm one of them, twenty-six years ago, and we [are] trying to make the best of it for us and our family. And these developers, they're out there, and then, they hire the best - some of them, they're experts, and we deal with them every day . . . but [they do work for the best - garble here] . . . But, and I haven't made [up] my mind how I'm going to vote yet, by the way . . ." Garble follows, and then: "What I see with this document is all [these] probabilities that we have . . . those statements . . . they're all probabilities - no facts. 200 permits, yes. What is a permit? Definition of a permit is when somebody [?] gets a permit for $10 to do their porch, or their roof, or it is a new house . . . So I am not going to go and claim [blame? - garbled] . . . But with no facts, I see those probabilities are only probabilities. We don't know. Anybody has a crystal ball that says we're that gonna have another developer coming into Farmington - no - as someone stated, it is strictly economics that drive[s] their thing . . . But if you have a crystal ball, I would like to have a crystal ball, too. That would make me smarter, too. Those probabilities, I . . . will give two points, what will happen to Farmington - that's another probability. If we pass this today, and tomorrow ,the state of New Hampshire, or the county, or the university comes in and says, 'I'm looking right [up?] - you know, because we have a lot of rivers [?] - to build a 6,000 square-foot building to . . . university to do a study . . . [garbled - in other words, they have another extension?] and they want six acres. They cannot subdivide. So isn't the town losing an opportunity for a good, healthy growth in the tax base? And I'll go another example. What about elderly housing? That's a healthy - you know, those communities - they fight for elderly housing. What about if some one of those good developers gets a grant from the federal government and says, 'Sixty units for elderly housing with the sidewalks and everything' - good for the local downtown business, good for our - everything. But now we are excluding it. So . . . it's a probability, because [garbled: what's a probability is a probability for the other side, too]." So I think all those things are very important for us to consider before we vote on this, because we are excluding ourselves from some good things happening. And it could be some good things, but it could not. Another statement was made: 'If we pass this, there will be tax reduction.' That's what I heard. Unless . . . (murmurs of protest here) . . . or our taxes are not going to go up? Who can predict that? The taxes are going to go up because we're building new schools, and of course, any development will have an impact. But within that, I ask a question to myself. I says, okay, this ordinance will pass; it will control (any) big subdivisions but will allow building permits - one to two - so, and then i says, ok, another probability: in the next year, code [enforcement officer] issues 30 individual building permits [on] the existing [lots] and nobody gonna know . . . for a building permit, they don't come to the Planning Board; they don't go to nobody - strictly the rules. Then, when this board, and the school board, and the selectmen come up after two years, they say 'Whoops! we have to build another two or three classrooms because we have 40 kids coming in.' . . . And I'm not saying we should have 30 homes in one place - development - but . . . think it, we got a way, because at least, when a developer comes in with (his) plans, we give it to the planner, and then he can say, "Lookit, guys, you [Planning Board members?] ask for some studies - ask for some impact studies to our roads, to the police, to all that. We can do that."

Then, completely off the IGMR, Tsiros launches a rant about the about "fine print", drifting into building permits, and on into architectural-façade review for buildings in the downtown:

OTFE Ern nods off
"Let's take the hardware store, a "beautiful historic building, which you all recognize. What would happen in three years if the sills rot, and all that, and we pass this ordinance? He has to come in for a building permit, and [is told] 'Oh no . . . you have to go to the Planning Board to ask for an architectural review to make sure that you match [the current facade]. Anybody been lately to an architect? He charges $8 per square foot. [When I built my Main Street Pizza], he offered [services] for $6, because he was a friend of mine. So if you want to do that hardware store, he needs $10,000 for the architectural fee. So he's gonna say, 'I'm not gonna fix it.' So therefore, you're gonna have a deterioration of the building, if this (IGMR) passes. . . . Let's say we pass this, and one of our citizens . . . owns forty acres somewhere, and they have three kids in college, or grandchildren in this case, and they need the money to pay for tuition, and they want to sell that land. Guess what, folks? Probability again. That land, [the owner] will not get that value from, as in Milton or in surrounding communities, because the developer says, 'I can not do anything with this, because I don't know whether I can build on it or not.' So therefore, your price goes down. So . . . there was a statement - you could have a negative effect. So, also . . . this is a good job, it's a start . . . but I would have recommended, and I would like to see it [here he refers to prior talk about the horse being let out of the barn] . . . well maybe here we are putting the cart before the horse. We should start from the Master Plan - fix that first, address it, then come down to our zoning ordinances, which let the people vote. I agree 100%. Then, once the ordinance is attached[?], then this board, and with you citizens - the adovocates - there are many advocates here . . . I've been around too long and see many familiar faces here. So instead of putting a political smell on these documents, work together and say, 'This is for Farmington.' . . . I also learned in my tenure [that] I'm a team player, so in recognition of my colleagues that have worked so hard, I will vote yes for it, but  . . . .for the record . . . that these things that need to be addressed before we go any further."

OTF Watson
HIRAM WATSON: "I'm on the ZAMPS committee, and I think you know what my vote is. I'm one of the old boys; I'm not one of the good ole boys - [Bill Tsiros] and I are the oldest here. Some things I like are the comments from this fine lady [Jean Pease?] right here; she made some nice comments. Chris Jacobs - Randy [Orvis] did - Brad Anderson - real positive comments and it really turns me on and really makes me interested in working for the committee. But when I see things like. 'There are some people on this board' . . . [here the tape was turned over; Hiram was referring to Margaret Russell's comment that "some members of this board - and you know who you are - [are opposed to this IMGR]"]  . . . it really turns me off and it kind of sways me the other way. I respect everyone on this board. I trust their integrity. The integrity of these people is unquestionable. They're all volunteers and I just think everyone working together cohesively gets things done. If we make these really snide remarks out there, it just doesn't work well with me . . . I think we ought to utilize Mike Garrepy more when we do revise the Master Plan. I think it works real good . . . I'm on the ZAMPS committee so you know what my vote's gonna be."

CCC:  While it is to his credit that he sees the worth of our planner, Mike Garrepy, Watson tends to dismiss whole letters, whole well-reasoned arguments, by picking up on one phrase in that letter or document, and getting his dander up over it. Above, he says he is on the ZAMPS committee and therefore in favor of the IGMR, but when he heard Margaret Russell point out that some on the Board are against the IGMR ("and you know who you are"), Hiram says her comment "kind of sways me the other way." Margaret has a right as a citizen to say what she said, and it would be odd indeed if Hiram said he was against the IGMR because he didn't approve of her dissing the integrity of some members of the PB. As to the validity of Margaret Russell's comment: at the May 28, 2002 PB meeting, the matter of an IGMR was under discussion. Brad Anderson moved to simply forward to the town attorney what the board had gone over that might justify enacting an IGMR. All were in favor of getting the ball rolling but Jim Horgan, who uttered his usual blather about how careful the town has to be in order not to incur lawsuits. PB members at that meeting were Norman Russell (then chair), Marty Chagnon, Jim Horgan, Hiram Watson, Bill Tsiros, Kelly Parliman, and Brad Anderson. And then, at the June 25, 2002 PB meeting, Chairman Norm Russell discussed the challenges to putting in place an IGMR, and then Jim Horgan said, "Can we assume at this time that a limited 'Growth Control Ordinance' is a non-issue? First of all we have to have a crisis and then it is only good for as long as you can maintain that crisis." Norm Russell replied, "We are not trying to maintain a crisis; we are trying to get over a crisis." Horgan said, "We need to be sure this is not an immediate reaction to something like [Packy Campbell's] 60-unit development but rather what is in the best interests of the town." The discussion went on at length; Jim Horgan, heels dug in, by way of repeating he was against an IGMR, said "if you can change my mind, more power to you."

So Margaret Russell brings up a salient point: Jim Horgan said from the outset that he was against any IGMR (perhaps by now he has been enlightened), and therefore, we might assume, against even putting it before the public for a vote. And then, Margaret's charge that some board members ("and you know who you are") are already predisposed against letting the public have a vote on the IGMR: at the PB meeting prior to the July 15, 2003 public hearing, two other board members, Don MacVane and Barry Elliott, were the only two members of the PB (Horgan abstained; he usually votes only when he wants to break a tie, to nudge the vote the way he wants it to go) to vote against holding the July 15 public hearing on the IGMR. So, Hiram, exactly where is yer beef?

Now we come to a really juicy speech by Barry Elliott, the selectmen's representative to the PB. The CCC has broken up his speech, in order to address what he says as he says it.

BH Elliott (right)
BARRY ELLIOTT: "I'm the representative from the selectmen on this board, and I wish everyone would stop using water, sewer, the landfill and roads, so we can start to work on those, too. But I know that's not gonna happen.

CCC: That's our Chippa - always ready with a joke.

ELLIOTT: "I am concerned about the cost to develop what we need to do in the next year if this is passed. I talked to Ernie [Creveling, Town Administrator] at the break and there's about 10 thousand available and 6-8 thousand in other . . . funds available to maybe work on something like this. So I do have a fear that we are underfunded to . . . start this process . . ."

CCC: Whatever we need so spend on professional help to polish and improve our Master Plan and zoning laws during the time the IGMR is in place is well spent - especially in light of what it costs the town when big developments devour the town (Anyone for another school - tomorrow?).

ELLIOTT: "And I wish everybody [to] really understand that because you stop today and say, 'We're gonna design new zoning and new planning and new master plan,' that's all well and great, but those are documents that need to be modified constantly. No town can ever say, 'We've got it, we've perfected this.' It just is not gonna happen. Your community changes way too often. So, you have to go ahead and weigh some of this about how much time you need to take, and how many people you're going to use."

CCC: Yes, our Master Plan and zoning ordinance are always changing, always evolving as the needs of the town change and evolve. But Barry is missing the point of the IGMR, which is to give the town a year to work on those documents, free from the press of developers' applications. Since when did our Chippa Granite, a Yank to the core, ever shirk from hard work?

ELLIOTT continues: "You know, one of the things that came out in the 'Threats' of the SWOT committee, which only 38 people attended, is citizen apathy. You know we've got about 50 people in this room, including the board members . . . To be honest with you, that's kind of pathetic . . ."

CCC: Barry, as a member of the Economic Development gang, was a principle mover behind the SWOT meeting. How much campaigning did he do to get more people to turn out for that gig? And he calls the turnout for the July 15 hearing "pathetic." That is insulting; usually a mere handful turn out for PB meetings.

ELLIOTT: "I serve on a lot of different boards, and if you go to these meetings, it's the same people that show up time after time after time . . . I almost feel that if you sit and you take all this time to do all this work, you're gonna get the same bunch of people to the same meetings . . . three guys are gonna be on the Master Plan committee, that'll be on the Planning Board committee, that'll be on the Selectmen's committee, that'll be on the Economic Development Committee . . . it's gonna be the same group of people."

CCC: While it is unfortunately true that there is a mere handful of hard-core activists in Farmington, there are more people getting involved, and plenty who recognize growth is what is killing our town.

ELLIOTT: "And I don't know how - maybe someone out in the audience can help, by trying to get people in this community energized - to come to meetings. Obviously Jane [Wingate] did a good job tonight - Jane, probably a few others, but I'd like to see more of that. I'd like to see 200 people show up because then you get a better response of what your community wants and really needs."

CCC: Is Elliott referring to the packed hall or to the 251 signatures gathered from people who want the IGMR to go to a ballot vote? In any case, that's more than the "same old three" that end up on all the committees. Is Barry saying that unless 200 people show up at meetings, we don't go forth with an IGMR? Jeesh! some people are never satisfied!

ELLIOTT: "One of the other things . . . if you guys can get a copy of the SWOT brainstorming results - and it's very unique that - maybe it's because the same people that did the ZAMPS showed up at the [SWOT] brainstorm meeting - but you look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and they really coincide with the priority list summary that's in here." [referring to the Findings of Fact that justify the need for an IGMR]

CCC: This is really interesting. It was Elliott who was a prime mover for the SWOT gig. Now he fusses that most of the SWOT participants recognized growth as a threat and the loss of our rural, small-town character lamentable, and gripes that their observations were the same as the Findings of Fact for the IGMR. Apparently the SWOT thing Barry engineered didn't yield the results he expected it to yield. So, why didn't he pack the SWOT meeting with people whose thinking is more to his liking?

ELLIOTT: "So, you know . . . maybe that's what everybody in town thinks, but boy, it sure would be nice to get everybody in town to say that.

CCC: And what better way to find out what "everybody" in town thinks about the IGMR than letting it go before the public for a vote?

ELLIOTT: "You know, really, anybody that can think about how to get everybody involved - come up with the idea - and I'm sure we'll entertain that."

CCC: What is the "that" that he is sure "they" will entertain? - ideas about how to "get everybody involved"? So now Barry is soliciting ideas about how we can "get everybody involved." Perhaps he can head up committee to do just that. Oh goody, another procrastination tactic. Table the IGMR, and leave it tabled until we can come up with some idea (to Barry's liking) about how to "get everybody involved." Talk about stalling.

ELLIOTT: "But I do have some of the some concerns that some of the other people have . . . and even some of the concerns that Bill [Tsiros] has . . . Will this really change things? Documents need to be modified all the time. So this isn't going to be anything new. This is gonna happen this year, next year, the year after, and forever. Is it gonna have an effect on the growth if we institute this? I don't think so."

CCC: Another red herring, Chippa. The idea of the IGMR is simple: it will give the PB and those "three-member committees" you mention a year's time to work on those every-changing documents that currently they have no time to work on.

ELLIOTT: "We have so many building permits available right now . . . in this community, you could be building another new school in two years, and everybody's gonna say, 'Well, gee, you just put in this growth zoning ordinance to stop all this stuff, and we're building new schools.' It's because a lot of this stuff is still in effect. We see now Lancelot Shores. I mean, how many new building permits have we approved just for that one small area in the last month? What's it, about ten or twelve? Yeah. There's an old development. We got one guy . . . I guess my point is, I think the voters really need to decide on this, but please get all the voters in the community to deal with this issue [of building permits?] when it comes due. Have everybody have some ownership in what they want their town to look like. You know, when I said at the SWOT meeting, and I guess I am old, I guess I am old, boy, but basically how many people in this room have lived in Farmington over 30 yrs? But there's just so few people [who have lived in Farmington over 30 years] . . . I didn't realize, I guess. I keep looking at faces . . . how many new people are in this community and how many new ideas are available? But I don't think we should discount anybody . . ."

CCC: Elliott is off on another red herring. Yes, there are lots of building permits being issued, and maybe a annual cap on building permits is something to consider, later on. Beware Elliott and Orvis and others who say we ought to be monkeying with building permits rather than spending time the IGMR would give us to tighten up our Master Plan and our Zoning regulations. They would muddy the waters, kill the IMGR by incurring the wrath of those who might like to build a house for one of their kids. And NOTE: Elliott, in all his rambling about apathy, etc., avoids saying we ought to give this to the voters.

And now we come to another doozy of a speech, also with the CCC's comments interspersed:

DON MACVANE: "Back in the 60's there was a guy by the name McLuhan. He used to say, 'The medium is the message and the message is the medium.' I am really impressed by the number of people that are for this particular interim ordinance . . . [but] like a lot of people in this room, I don't think it's the right document.

CCC: What do you call a "lot" of the people in the room who think it's not the "right document?" Apart from surveyors Randy Orvis and Chris Jacobs, and developer Bob Frizzell, just about everyone else in the hall (except for a few PB members) were there to say they want the voters to vote on the IGMR. Note (again) that the PB ignored the request to go over the Findings of Fact, and say, specifically, why this isn't the "right ordinance."

MACVANE: "I'm concerned that it's not gonna do what any of us want to have happen. And it's our only shot. We only get one of these, the way I understand it. At the end of this 18 [sic] months, or whatever, if all of a sudden we need another breather, or another respite or whatever, we can't come back to this."

CCC: This is another stalling tactic. Yes, we get a one-shot chance for this one-year IGMR. The ball is rolling, the Findings of Fact verified, the ordinance is written. Do we toss aside all the work of the ZAMPS subcomittee and all the advice of our planner because we might not pull it off in a year's time? Well, MacVane, one excuse is as good as another for keeping this from the people.

MACVANE: "I'm concerned, but right now we're talking about an 8.6% growth rate, and I think most towns would love to have that growth rate. I don't know what the local towns around us - what their growth rates are - but I would dare say they're considerably more than that, and that goes back to what some of the other people here have said, which is that we don't really have the research in front of us make these kinds of decisions."

CCC: "Saying we don't have the research in front of us to make these kinds of decisions" is malarkey. The research is done; let the townspeople say whether they want to enact the IGMR.

MACVANE: "I'm also concerned that if we decide to do this tonight, that we're gonna be sending the wrong message - and when Brad said, 'Let 'em go somewhere else for a year.' Well, you can say that if you want, but people remember those kinds of statements, and in a year and a half or two years, when we do need some housing because some company wants to come in, or, you know, we need something from someone, we may not have the interest to generate that. So that's one of my major concerns.

CCC: Read that one carefully: MacVane is saying if developers can't continue their usual rape of our town for a year, they might not want to come back after a year to pick up where they left off. Ho ho - don't we wish; wouldn't that be a huge loss. MacVane might as well be issuing an invitation to developers: here's Farmington, ripe for the picking. Come and get us.

BH MacVane, WH White
MACVANE: And the money - there's a money issue here that - You know, we need to have talent to do this type of stuff. We need to have the commitment of people - and there's a lot of people - there's 251 people signed that petition, there's what - 80 or 90 of us here? We definitely need some support to pull this thing off, because we only have a window of about 18 months, and at the end of that 18 months, it's over with, so that's my concern. A point made tonight too also: we can put this on the ballot, legitimately, for a lot less money, next March. Any time you do something, it costs you money. If you don't have to do something, you can do it in the normal [garbled here], it cost you less. You know, that's the way I think about it."

CCC: At a recent, prior PB meeting, MacVane said if the town should vote for the IGMR, then we ought to spare no expense; we ought to get in the best professional help we can get, even it takes 70 or 80 thousand dollars (those might not be his exact figures, but they are very close). He was saying that you get the "talent" you pay for and if we enact the IGMR, then money ought not be an issue. But now, bless him, in the interest of "saving" the town more money, we can put the IGMR on the ballot next March. It boggles the mind, how many excuses those who would keep this from the voters manage to come up with.

CCC:  Short, and exactly to the point.

GARY WHITE: "We talked about the horse getting out of the barn. I would say we need this if only because we haven't been using every other meeting as a workshop. We're way behind."

JIM HORGAN: "It would seem to me, if this was to be forwarded, based on some of the comments I've heard tonight, that we need to qualify some of this stuff - specifically, the statement 'new subdivisions.' I think brad alluded to it earlier . . . when he made his presentation, he said, 'residential subdivisions.' However that's to read, it may need some fine tuning. We have 'condominium' down here. Should that include cluster development? Why is it specifically 'condominium' and not 'and cluster development'? I think 'condominium development' seems to cover a wide area; I don't know if that needs to be a little bit focused. Timeline (sigh): it's gonna be tough, I think. But, ah, we can work on the meetings that are necessary to process the paperwork should it become necessary. Building permits? I don't know . . . necessarily that issue needs to be addressed, but it's something that needs to be considered. The backlog that's gonna be at the end of this thing: there's gotta be a procedure built in to address that as it comes. Part of that may be taken care of by other administrative documents that are in the code enforcement office." Horgan then asks Ernie (or Paul) if we are

CCC:  Horgan paves the way for more stalling. Again, note that the PB avoids looking at the ordinance itself and going over the Findings of Fact.

already "on the clock" to forward this to the people for a vote if the Board decides to forward it for a vote. "In terms of saying 'Yes, but we need to tweak this thing,' how much time to I have to conduct a public hearing at which [we?] take time between now and then to fine-tune this to meet some of these concerns, and have this ready to go before the public?"

MIKE GARREPY: "State law requires that you have 90 days between the posting of the ordinance to conduct a special town meeting - "

HORGAN, interrupting, "To vote on this. What about our opportunity for the Board to meet again to revise this prior to it going to the public?"

WH Garrepy
GARREPY: "That opportunity is that 90-day window, so you posted it July 3  . . . you're going to have to have some reasonable time frame to set up that special town meeting with the final language of whatever you come up with. But there are opportunities. You could continue this public hearing process for several more meetings to fine-tune the language of the ordinance before the board votes to adopt it or to recommend it to the townspeople for town meeting. But the state law requires that you have a 90-day window to hold a public hearing, or to not [hold a public hearing]."

Next, discussion about the protocol for revisions, getting it to the people, etc.

HORGAN: "So what it amounts to is, if you accept this tonight, this is the way it goes. If you continue it to the next meeting, you have an opportunity to make some revisions prior to accepting them, at which time it goes to the town."

GARREPY: "And in the meantime, the prohibition on new applications is still in effect. That's been in effect since July 3, so there are no new subdivision applications [before] the board, until this Board votes to either put it before the voters or not . . ." Garrepy added that in fairness to landowners, it behooves the town to come to a decision in a reasonable time frame whether or not to put it before the voters.

The PB thrashes some more, and then HORGAN says the PB has to decide

CCC:  Let's hear exactly what changes Chairman Horgan would recommend.

whether to "accept this thing, if you want to continue it to make revisions, or shoot it down. If you don't shoot it down, then you're going to continue it . . . with some recommended changes, I would hope."

BILL TSIROS makes a motion to "continue for recommended changes for August 6."

After more discussion, HIRAM WATSON asks how many more changes there might

CCC:  Way to go, Hiram!

be? He says he doesn't think the IGMR is "going to get any better" and the suggests they get right down to it, right then, and address what changes might be made.

BH Horgan
HORGAN says: "There was a variety of input that was provided that would indicate to me, anyway, that there's some words that are missing from some of the statements on here that would re-define what we are actually restricting. The document says - paragraph one - new subdivisions. The presentation [?] said new residential subdivisions. The concern was over some commercial implications. You have to decide whether those things are of sufficient gravity to warrant incorporating them into this thing as you forward it or amend it. You don't have to, but those were the inputs that were provided. Those were the concerns that were expressed and if you're gonna amend this those are some of the things you will take into consideration."

The CCC may have missed something, but doesn't recall hearing any complaints that "new subdivisions" are unclear. The three things that come to a halt during the year the IGMR would be in place are all residential developments: large subdivisions, condo developments, and multi-family schemes. So, what's HORGAN'S game here?

CCC:  Way to go, Hiram!

WATSON: "Can we do it right now?"

HORGAN: "You can, if you are ready to do that - "

WATSON: "I am."

HORGAN: "But if you are not . . . you can make your recommendations and then forward them at the next meeting -"

Here WATSON starts to say something else, but is cut off by HORGAN, who pushes for a second to the Tsiros's motion to continue: "But right now the motion is on the table to accept and forward this thing."

WATSON: " . . . still got a question: How are we gonna get input from the people - ?"

HORGAN: "You have your input from the people, at this point."

Some citizens protest that Chairman HORGAN, who runs his meeting with an iron fist, dismisses what are, in effect, spontaneous outburst of protest, and commands, "Excuse me, there's not a discussion here. You're talking to the board. We're discussing a motion that's on the table. Let's limit the conversation. Thank you for your input, Jane [Wingate]. Please limit it at this point in time."

WATSON: "Is the board tonight gonna come up with a list for us for [the ZAMPS meeting] next Thursday night?. Because if they're gonna come up with five items, let's do it now. If you want to allow more time to look at it- "

WINGATE, offering more input, says, "Right!" and there is an outburst of applause for WATSON, who then (oy! ) scolds the very people supporting him by saying, "Anything that turns me off is claps; please don't do it; I don't like those remarks. I'd like to move it on. If there's a couple of items in there we question right now - let's fix 'em right now. It's only 10:30 . . . because we're gonna go back, and do some more changes . . . and we're gonna come back here, and it's gonna start all over again."

HORGAN asks for, and gets, a second on the motion to continue, then asks for further discussion. When Charlie King says he has further discussion, HORGAN, testy, says, "Last shot, Charlie. Get it all out this time."

CCC:  Way not to go, Charlie. Argh . . . Charlie blows it. The vote was there to put this before the people at a special town meeting, and Charlie killed it. Odd: Charlie is on the ZAMPS committee. Several PB meetings ago, he was all for holding a public hearing, but then moved to consider the ordinance some more. At the meeting prior to this July 15 meeting, he moved to put this before the public for this July 15 meeting. The thing was ready to go, and now, Charlie wants yet more "valuable input" from surveyor Randy Orvis. Go figure.

CHARLIE KING: says he's willing to sit there and finish up if it takes all night, but "there is some valuable input that we wanna get in here . . . if the board is willing to continue, why not spend an extra meeting to get it right?"

CCC:  Typical Tsiros copout. Maybe Bill didn't have time to study the information packet that was handed out at tonight's meeting, but he has had, for weeks now, the actual Findings of Fact/Ordinance and it is that which the assembled citizens were asking them to put before the voters at a special town meeting - not the informational packet he wasn't familiar with.

BILL TSIROS, never missing an opportunity to jump back in the sack with the Bad Ole Boys, mutters that he is the most ignorant of the board members: "This document [he is referring to the detailed packet that was handed out], was just given to me before the meeting . . . I need to go through it, so I can put my experience on it . . . blah blah blah . . ." I think if I vote on it tonight, I don't know what I'm gonna vote on . . . (blah blah blah)"

Here HORGAN jumps into the breach, "leading" Tsiros through the process by telling him he'll have time to get up to speed if he votes to continue. This is a typical Horgan ploy - tabling things he doesn't want to vote for himself. Remember, this is the PB member who said at a PB meeting on June 25, 2002 that he was against an IGMR.

CCC:  And tell us, MacVane, just how you would "tweak it?" Neither you, nor any other board member, took Watson up on his suggestion to address those "tweaks" right now - probably because you would find there was nothing that needed tweaking and public pressure would force you to put the IGMR before the people for a vote.

MACVANE: "We have nothing to lose by tweaking this."

THE UPSHOT: All but Hiram Watson voted to postpone putting the IGMR before the people for a vote. The rest effectively tossed aside the 251 people who signed the petition, gave equal say to the vested interests in the hall, and ignored what the people of Farmington were asking them to do - to put the IGMR before the people for a vote.

So, caving in, the Planning Board said they would solicit "more input" about the IGMR, even though as it is written, the ordinance - in large part crafted by our professional planner, who also works for towns in Rockingham County, including savvy Stratham - is simple, straightforward, and well-crafted. And who should be "invited" - nay, "challenged" - to give "more input" but one of the area's busiest surveyors, who, without giving a single specific, dismissed the IGMR as being "poorly written."

The Planning Board voted to hold another public hearing on July 30, at 7:00 P.M. in the "new" town offices. This hearing will be solely about the IGMR, so those who turn out for it will not be kept waiting while the Planning Board deals with applications from developers and the like beforehand, as they typically do - some say to wear the people down and get them trickling out before the topic that drew most of them there actually got on the table.

It is extremely important to attend that July 30 public hearing, to repeat our demand that the people get to vote on the IMGR. You can be sure the gang with the vested interests will be there, in force, to rail against the IGMR, and that they will be aided and abetted by several members of our own Planning Board.

WH Kids retreat
from grownups' shenanigans
RWBH Uncle Sam watches all