GILFORD — The Gilford Zoning Board of Adjustment again denied a request for a rehearing from a local man who wants to build a solar panel farm on his property on Kimball Road earlier this week.
The board had previously denied an appeal made by Williard Drew of the Inns and Motels of the Lakes Region on October 18, saying the appeal came more than 30 days after the decision.
In a motion for a rehearing, Drew's attorney, Phil Brouillard cried foul, saying Drew's appeal doesn't challenge the ZBA's interpretation of a zoning ordinance but rather challenges the ordinance itself.
He claims the ordinance and it application constitutes a violation of equal protection and a "taking" — in legal terms something that deprives the owner of reasonable property value by enacting a government regulation.
Brouillard also objected to the way Drew's appeal was handled.
He noted that the ZBA, the Planning Board, the Town Attorney and the Planning Department had been discussing Drew's request for 370 solar panels since January of 2014.
The Planning Board deferred the decision to the Zoning Board until July of 2014, but because neither Drew nor Brouillard had received prior notice of the motion as drafted by the Town Attorney it delayed action until August 18.
At the August 18 meeting the planning director was absent because of long-standing vacation plans and an "abnormal amount of time passed before Drew and Brouillard received written notice of the denial which was received on September 10, a few days before the deadline for the September meeting.
Brouillard said he called the Town Planner John Ayer once he got the written denial and told him he could not be ready for the September deadline but would be ready before the October 14 deadline for submissions for the November meeting.
He said that during the discussions he had with Ayer, the 30-day deadline and ZBA procedures never arose, something he considered a "reasonable expectation".
At the November meeting, the ZBA denied the appeal with no discussion because it was beyond the 30-day deadline.