To The Daily Sun,
I read with interest Peter Morrissete's letter to Warren Hutchins in regard to the property he purchased, which was the former St. Helena Church. As in all things in life, there are many issues that seem to be festering between Mr. Morrissette the Planning Board and Zoning Board that I was not aware of that appear to have political overtones, at least in Mr. Morrissete's view. But I am not involved in such.
My wife and I happen to live directly adjacent the former church. When we bought our home we did not envision a "storage area" to be built on this property and I am quite sure if there was a storage area already in existence we would not have been interested in the property.
This letter is written to Mr. Morrissette and in essence to the Zoning Board because it reflects a view that seems to be lost in all the legalities of the issue at hand. Does anyone in their heart really think a storage area etc., would not affect the surrounding residential homes? Would Mr. Morrissette and any board members really consider buying a home next to a storage area? Of course, some may say they would. Well, I have lived in a major industrial city next to factories and other businesses and I can tell you that the nature of the community will definitely change.
If you want to actually see and feel the change, then just park your car near my property and watch the activity that presently surrounds the "empty church". Here is what I see: Various trucks parking to either check their rig or just stop, RV campers who stop for the day or the moment or even a few nights, new motorcyclist learning how to operate their newly bought bikes, car drivers leaving rubber i.e., for those who don't know what that means, revving their engines at high rates of speed while holding the brake and then letting it go to leave a patch of rubber on the tar, and there were times when I thought they might lose control of their vehicles and just come flying through the adjacent trees lining the lot, fireworks being lit at late hours, and if any major work is being done in the local area, paving trucks, cement trucks, etc., always park their rigs on the lot which I can understand. But there is always accompanying noise.
I should note that if there is a couple talking at about where the church stands, I can hear them talking from my house. I'm not complaining about that, I am just pointing out how sound carries their voices.
And that is the essence of my concerns. My issue isn't with Mr. Morrissette, it's with the future of what will happen if this variance is granted. I believe Mr. Morrissette presents some valid points when he says, "The funny part about wanting to store a few motorcycles or wave runners inside the former church is that if I build inside the former church is that if I build the 20 residential units there, the resident can all use the church building for storage or a community hall, with all of them going in and out, with nose and or a community party — whatever they want. And the neighbors have no say because that's okay."
Now, this statement, Mr. Morrissette is both true and false. Yes, it is true that if you build 20 residential units and a storage building that people in that community would be able to use it. But it is false in the sense that neighbors do have a say about the noise and use of any property owned in a community and the the level of noise that goes on in such a community. We have the same rights as you, Mr. Morrissette and I don't expect you would tolerate the very issues you pose if they were taking place next to your home.
So, Mr. Morrissette, go to the meeting, as you say, "ready to battle," in this country, so far, you have a right to do so.
But I would like to point out my wife and I, do not belong to the Pendleton Beach Association. I didn't even know Mr. Hutchinson until I attended the last Zoning Board meeting. My wife and I are just a hard-working couple who have worked hard for all of our life's and moved to Laconia to enjoy the beautiful area we live in. We don't know how the board will rule on your variance application and we harbor no ill feelings toward you. We are just posing our feelings and concerns about the future long-term use of the church property. We trust the board will view all of the public's concerns as it views your application.
Someone once said, "It isn't what people think that is important, but the reason they think what they think." I look at the law with the same view; the laws are giving to us as a rule to follow, they have a purpose, they are made to protect us. But it is the judges and board members who are appointed to interpret the laws for the greater good of the public. The letter of the law says if a man goes through a red light he gets a ticket, but the spirit of the law takes into consideration that if a man has a baby in the car who is dying then that man may be the exception to the rule. That is, by going through the light rather than stopping he has saved the baby's life, but he has broken the letter of the law. Who among us would hold him to the law? So, I'll trust the Zoning Board will do what is right as they interpret what is best for all in the context of the spirit of the law.
I have noticed that attorneys have a way of presenting the 'letter of the law' to judges and board members when they are representing a client, but when they represent themselves and the law goes against them, they wish to be treated within the spirit of the law. How much better would this world be if all were treated equally in terms of the spirit of the law.
Lastly, Mr. Morrissette, you say, "... I hope the neighbors from the Pendleton Beach Association like big orange snow fences because we're going to keep all the people and illegal parking out."
Well, as I previously stated, I don't belong to the Pendleton Beach Association so I won't speak for them, but I personally think pink would be more politically correct in going with the times. It isn't the color of the fence that is the heart of the matter, Mr. Morrissette, it is rather the hearts of all the individuals associated with the issue at hand. And since I will not be able to attend the next board meeting, I took time to write this letter hoping that all the parties concerned would take time to think about how this property would be used for future uses.
And, a bit of advice, Mr. Morrissette, I have learned over the years, the hard way, that when a man is angry he is seldom reasonable, but a reasonable man is seldom angry. Hopefully when you are at the next Zoning Board meeting you won't be talking about orange snow fences, but what is reasonable for both yourself and the community. I wish you well in your future endeavors.
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