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Attorney blasts Goffstown board's decision to rehear request

GOFFSTOWN — The rehearing for a special exception to allow construction of a seven-unit townhouse on Roy Street was continued after the applicant said that “no good reason” was given for granting a new hearing.

Attorney Andrew Sullivan, representing the applicants, started the May 5 meeting by saying the rehearing request relied heavily on the denial of a 25-year-old variance for the lot. However, his client is requesting a special exception, not a variance. Further, Sullivan said variance law has changed significantly over the past 25 years, and the facts could not be analyzed in the same way.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment had all the necessary information beforehand, Sullivan said, and abutters had ample opportunity to do research before the original hearing.

A new hearing would only be justified if the board believed that new facts existed that were not available at the original hearing, Sullivan said, calling the granting of the rehearing “arbitrary, capricious and illegal.”

Board’s discretion

ZBA members maintained that it is at the board’s discretion to hold a rehearing to review, clarify or change a decision.

“The point I’m making is under the statute you have to have a good reason, and the petition that’s presented, in my opinion, does not provide good reason,” Sullivan said.

After a brief discussion, the board continued the rehearing to June 3 to allow time for its members to review the letter presented by Sullivan and speak with the town attorney.

Special exception granted

Applicant GPS Properties and property owners Gary and Melissa Pronovost received a special exception from the ZBA in March to demolish a single-family residence and build a seven-unit townhouse at 11 Roy St. The exception is required to allow multifamily dwellings in the Residential 2 Zone.

A request for rehearing was granted April 1 after the board received a petition from residents saying the deliberations did not examine information critical to the character of the neighborhood regarding existing density and offering to provide new information illustrating the difference between the applicant site and developments mentioned as “similar developments” in the supporting evidence.

The petition letter asked the board to consider a subdivision proposal that was denied on the applicant site by the Planning Board in 1989 for reasons the petition said were relevant to the current proposal.

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