Thursday, December 29, 2011

Group sues to block Winchester dollar store

Looks like our little town is getting a lot of press lately

Union Leader Correspondent
Published Dec 26, 2011 at 3:00 am (Updated Dec 25, 2011)

WINCHESTER — Zoning board approval of a Dollar General store on Main Street is being contested by a group of residents in a lawsuit filed in Cheshire County Superior Court last week.

In October the zoning board approved the demolition of the 200-year-old Wheaton-Alexander Home at 71 Main St. to make way for the construction of the 9,100-square-foot store.

Approval of the Dollar General flew in the face of a decision made by the Historic Commission during the summer that denied the applicant permission to demolish the home that sits in the town historic district. The 1810 home was once a residence for prominent doctors in the community.

The project was proposed by the Zaremba Group, a Lakewood, Ohio, company for the Tennessee-based Dollar General chain of stores.

The project required a special exception to town zoning regulations which forbids a 5,000-square-foot or greater footprint of commercial buildings, petitioners say in the lawsuit.

In its special exception decision, zoning board members agreed with property owners, Margaret Sharra, current town land use clerk, and her two brothers, James S. Shannon and Michael P. Shannon, that rehabilitation of the old home was cost-prohibitive.

This reasoning undermines the work of historic building preservation, the petition says. “The Wheaton-Alexander House is part of a cluster of Federalist houses that were part of the original Winchester Village. It is also on the border of the historic district. Tearing it down permanently impairs the historic and cultural value of the entire historic district. … Given that many of the structures in the historic district are dilapidated, this decision creates a precedent that undermines the integrity of the entire district.”

In its approval the zoning board also referred design plans for the new store to the Historic Commission for approval.

“The Zoning Board of Adjustment has no legal authority to partially remand the decision to the Historic District Commission, and erred in remanding the matter back to the Historic Commission,” the petition says.

Petitioners also said the zoning board violated the right-to-know law by holding a secret site walk of the property the day before it met to deliberate on the matter.

The petition asks the court to vacate the special exception approval. The lawsuit was filed by four residents and Kulick’s Inc., a market located about 2,100 feet from the proposed project on Warwick Road.

The court requires the town to file a plea by March 8.

Zaremba has proposed other Dollar General stores in the area recently. The Marlborough zoning board unanimously denied a special exception to Zaremba Group on Dec. 7 that would have permitted a Dollar General store on Main Street/Route 101.

The project had included the demolition of a 150-year-old farmhouse. And Zaremba recently made preliminary inquiries about building a Dollar General in Swanzey, said Sara Carbonneau, Swanzey town planner.


Anonymous said...

It's very clear to outsiders what has gone on here with this unlawful decision by our zoning board members. They should all be ashamed of themselves for making such a controversial and obviously biased decision in favor of Margaret Sharra and in direct violation of established town regulations. They should all step down immediately for the good of the town. As long as we allow the select board to hand pick the members of this board based on their allegiance to certain cretins in power than we have no one to blame for the bad press Winchester continues to receive in the newspapers across the state.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Julia wrote this story herself. Without a doubt all the quotes about the history of this house come from her. She is the only one who came up with calling it the "Wheaton-Alexander house" no other residents have called this place that name before. And what gives with "prominent doctors"
I'm pretty sure they were just ordinary town doctors

"town zoning regulations which forbids a 5,000-square-foot or greater footprint of commercial buildings" If this true we have a whole lot of buildings in town in violation of these rules including Kulicks how did this happen?

Anonymous said...

.. and here is one of them commenting again, badmouthing people who come forward to contest the bs that goes on in this town constantly. Hey fool, do some reading, it was not Julia who called this house the Wheaten-Alexander house, it was the society who did and doctors are prominent people. And Kulick's market is not in the downtown district. What an idiot !!

time for her to go said...

There is no shame at our town hall!
Ms. Sharra has to much influence over to many boards. The selectmen are not willing to restrain or restrict Ms. Sharra what she calls her “dual roll capacity” . Try “her quadruple roll”. She is a power grabbing “B” that influences every board decisions because they are afraid of her tantrums and out bursts of anger. They know if they cross her or need her for a land use request she is very vindictive and spiteful. What is real scary is the fear this vindictive psycho becomes town code enforcement officer.

The selectmen are spineless idiots who refuse to reign her controlling powers in. We have a conflict of interest town ordnance passed in 2010 and Ms. Sharra should be removed from many of her positions. With the number of law suits filed in Cheshire County Superior Court that involves Ms. Sharra, it's no wonder our Legal fees are so high, it is astounding ! (The list will be posted soon on the blog). We can not afford her.

Is it any wonder we do not have enough money for our school children to take a class trip. What money we waste on law suits against the town involving the planning board and land use we could fly all of them to Montego Bay for two weeks !

Everyone should call the budget committee members to let them know. You are sick of her bull chitt! She is not worth the cost to us tax payers!

Anonymous said...

if the town starts loosing some law suits then we will believe your statements. but until then no one can control how many bogus law suits gets filed.Its amazing how we hear about all the ones filed but when they are thrown out our the town wins we hear nothing from you.

too many idiots in this town said...

Just what makes you think the town hasn't lost dozens of suits filed against it or settled out of court? Who's your source of information as it surely isn't the courthouse. What gives you the right to call any lawsuit a bogus one, where's your facts? I know for a fact that the lawsuit filed by abutters to the Van Dyke project was heard by the court and sent back to the planning board because of Margaret Sharra because I followed that case, so tell me that suit was bogus. I also know of several others, one in particular comes to mind filed by Mr. Moser over RSA 91A and the right to know law that the town lost. You really need to put up or shut up, your statements are so obvious influenced by your hatred for this blog, but little fact.

Anonymous said...

Yes there is one filed case that comes to mind I was told that was settled out of court, Sherman Tedford James Harrison vs Town of Winchester petition for unused sick day over a 30 years period. Can anyone imagine not getting sick in 30 years. That cost the tax payers I understand $75.000. Two of Winchester’s finest ripping the town off.

Anonymous said...

Wanna bet they lose the suit that was just filed by patrol officer Parker regarding sexual harassment?

And word has it that a suit by Danny Black will be filed soon too in regards to the taser probe that was lodged in his chest as a result of sloppy police work by former officer Jette.

They just keep piling up in this town don't they?