And then up rose surveyor RANDY ORVIS, who said:
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."
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
ALICIA SPRAGUE: "As a voter in Farmington, I don't want to hear what he has
MATTHEW MACVANE: "As a voter in Farmington, I want to hear what he has to
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
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
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
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
They see the town growing at a rapid, uncontrolled speed and they're very
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
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.
Another developer, BOB FRIZZELL, rose to diss the IGMR:
" . . . 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 . . .
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
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
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
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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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?"
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
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
The PB thrashes some more, and then HORGAN says the PB has to decide
CCC: Let's hear exactly what changes Chairman Horgan
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
After more discussion, HIRAM WATSON asks how many more changes there might
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.
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
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?
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
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
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