Lake Wearebegone

Zoning takes a shot at a home that is not above average in the Town of Weare NH.

Weare adopted zoning in 1988, thereabouts, with the seminal issue of "grandfathered" being found in 3.4.1. which makes all pre-existing uses of buildings and parcels exempt from the ordinance.

Then in 2004 along comes a taxpayer, and a friend of mine, who bought a small parcel of land, less than two acres, with a house on it built back in 1874. He starts to fix the place up and along comes the brand new Weare Code Enfocement Officer named - are you ready - Chip Meany.

Mr. Meany, at the persistance of the next door neighbor of my friend, issues a Cease and Desist order on the property based on "abandonment" because, according to the neighbor, no one had lived in the house for two years - another part of the Weare Code having to do with pre-existing non-conforming uses.

We went to Mr. Meany in 2004 and showed him several State Supreme Court cases regarding "abandonment" and once he read them were told, forget it, just go ahead, no problem, sorry.

Now, in 2007, a day after getting a septic approval permit from the same Code Enforcement Officer my friend gets another Cease and Desist based on "discontinued use of a non-conforming use".

So off last Tuesday evening we went to plead our sorry case to the Weare ZBA.

Our case: The use is an exempt, permitted, pre-existing use - a residence in a residential district - not a non-conforming use.

And it has not been abandoned nor discontinued.

We lost in a two to two tie because:

We did not have enough evidence.

Stay tuned. This is going to get interesting.