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Conservation Commissioner Bishop Accuses Selectmen of Violating State Constitution
by Cheryl Killam 4-12-15

Raymond Conservation Commission member Frank Bishop called a public meeting Saturday, April 11, pursuant to New Hampshire Bill of Rights Article 32 Rights of Assembly, Instruction and Petition, claiming that Raymond officials may have violated residents’ constitutional rights.

Bishop said he asked the board of selectmen during the joint Board of Selectmen/Conservation Commission meeting on Monday, March 23, to verify whether the 2009 warrant article 28, to put a conservation easement on Flint Hill, complied with the constitution. He said the selectmen refused to answer the question.

However, the selectmen voted unanimously that they would not address his request, they did not refuse to answer him.

The Raymond Board of Selectmen are not lawyers, but the town’s legal counsel has provided an opinion that the warrant article was valid.

Warrant article 28 from 2009 was approved by the voters 601 in favor to 352 opposed, granting the board of selectmen the authority to complete the conservation easement on the Flint Hill property. That easement was completed last week.

At a sparsely attended meeting April 11, Bishop said residents have the right to go to the General Court (legislature) to file a grievance, and he asked the Town’s State Representatives to file a Bill of Redress because he wants a hearing before the legislature.

State Reps. Kathleen Hoelzel and Carolyn Matthews were in attendance at the meeting; State Rep. Mike Kappler was not.

Hoelzel reminded Bishop that new bills cannot be introduced until September and won’t be heard until January 2016. She also told Bishop he would have to provide proof of the grievance he claims to have suffered.

Bishop said he wants to know if the selectmen have the right to give up control of town land and tie the hands of future voters regarding that land.

However, in 2010, in a similar situation, Bishop sued the Town in Rockingham County Superior Court (case 218-2010-CV-00760) in an attempt to stop the Cassier conservation easement and have the question put back on the 2011 ballot.  Bishop lost the case and the court authorized the town to complete the transaction as a result of prior voter approval.  The sum of $14,580 of town taxpayer money was used to defend against Bishop’s lawsuit.

At the Saturday meeting, Matthews read from the final order papers on the Cassier court case: “In this case there was voter approval for the Town’s actions. The Town of Raymond is authorized to complete the transaction that it entered into as a result of voter approval of the conservation easement and said easement may be recorded forthwith on the property.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raymond Town Office
4 Epping Street

895-4735

Raymond NH Website

 


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