Letter: Time to replace Tiverton Town Solicitor

Posted 1/18/23

It is time to remove Tiverton’s town solicitor. One need only look at the hearing before the Zoning Board on Wednesday night. The subject of the hearing was the appeal by Seasons to overturn …

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Letter: Time to replace Tiverton Town Solicitor

Posted

It is time to remove Tiverton’s town solicitor. One need only look at the hearing before the Zoning Board on Wednesday night. The subject of the hearing was the appeal by Seasons to overturn the decision of the Planning Board concerning their proposal to build a 24-hour, 8-bay gasoline station and convenience store on the corner of Main and Souza Roads. As you know, the Planning Board had denied that proposal after holding hearings that extended over a period of a year and a half. Guiding and advising the Planning Board in its deliberations and eventual decision is the same firm that was advising the Zoning Board to overturn it. There is an old saying that says, “Nice work if you can get it.” Needless to say, the Town Solicitor and his firm get paid for both assignments. They got paid to advise the Planning Board in how to write a legally compelling decision denying the proposal, and then they got paid to advise the Zoning Board to overturn the Planning Board decision due to “clear error.”

A closer look at Wednesday night’s hearing indicates that the Town Solicitor was ill-prepared by design or otherwise to advise the Zoning Board of cases that would have supported and defended the Planning Board’s decision. Instead, the Town Solicitor practically invited the Zoning Board to overturn the Planning Board’s decision, which they eventually did. The real losers here are the abutters, all of whom are residents of the town and who testified at length against the proposal, as well as all of us in the town who believe in and support the town’s Comprehensive Community Plan.

Louise Durfee

Tiverton

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.