To The Daily Sun,
According to Marshall Bishop's letter dated August, 16th, Gail Ober's article must have been incorrect. He would like everyone to believe he has "all of his permits to have a winery and restaurant". I was at the same meeting Gail Ober attended and I also heard the Planning Board tell him he was NOT permitted to have a restaurant. Gail wasn't the only one in the room to hear those words, everyone in attendance heard them. Mr. Bishop will have to go to the Zoning Board to gain approval for a restaurant as he is in a Rural Zone, where restaurants are not permitted.
On Mr. Bishops initial application dated May 9, 2011, he actually began to write the word restaurant and then crossed it out. Why would he do that? Did he know at the time he wouldn't be allowed to have a restaurant? The way I read the Planning Board's minutes from June 9, 2011, Mr. Bishop didn't even receive FINAL approval for his winery and function hall and no signed or recorded plan.
Our initial question to the Planning Board was, does Marshall Bishop have a permit to have a "restaurant?" The answer the Planning Board gave last Thursday night was NO, he is not permitted and must go to the ZBA. The other question we asked was, were Marshall Bishop's directional signs permitted? The answer again is NO, as each one needed to be approved by the Planning Board.
I'm not sure if Mr. Bishop wasn't listening last Thursday night or if he is just trying once again to use the old smoke and mirrors trick. Mr. Bishop advertises on his website that he has a restaurant. He needs to go to the ZBA for approval and he has not. Perhaps he is afraid his neighbors might have a chance to speak in opposition of his establishment if he goes to the ZBA.
The Planning Board told us at their June meeting that they would issue a "cease and desist" order if Mr. Bishop was found to be lacking a restaurant permit. I guess we'll see if they will follow through or will they give Mr. (Selectman) Bishop a free ride — favoritism vs. doing the right thing.
Brett and I have been made to look like the villains for asking the question. This is not anything new, whenever we've brought something controversial out in the open we've faced the fallout. Some in Gilmanton don't like to be held accountable and when they're backed into a corner they lie and attempt to rewrite history. I fully expect the Planning Board to go back on its statement regarding the cease and desist prder. We've already been told "they don't want it to appear they are siding with the Curriers," How about doing what's right and making Mr. Bishop follow the same zoning regulations all other businesses have had to follow? Cease and desist or Sweep Mr. (Selectman) Bishop's violations under the rug? We'll have to wait and see.
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