Dartmouth Plans to Appeal Denial of Indoor Athletic Facility

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/4/2017 12:25:19 AM
Modified: 1/4/2017 11:53:27 AM

Hanover — Dartmouth College officials said on Tuesday that the school planned to appeal the Hanover Planning Board’s denial last month of a permit for the college’s proposed indoor practice facility off South Park Street.

The 70,000-square-foot facility, which would cost at least $17.5 million to construct, would stand near the Tyler Road neighborhood east of campus.

Residents there have fought the project every step of the way, citing concern over its size and appearance, and on Tuesday, neighbors said that they planned to participate in any appeal in court.

After the Planning Board denied the college a site plan permit on Dec. 13, Dartmouth had a 30-day deadline, town officials said, to file an appeal to Superior Court.

College officials immediately after the ruling said they were considering whether or not to contest it.

Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said in an email on Tuesday that the college has reached the decision that it will appeal, but has not yet formally filed.

“It’s not surprising that they would want to appeal,” neighbor Maureen Doyle said over the phone Tuesday evening; however, she added, the Planning Board made its 4-1 decision based on solid legal grounds.

“It’s obvious when you look at the site plan (regulations) that (board members) cited that there’s ample reason for the Planning Board to say no,” she said. “That’s why there’s a Planning Board and not just a Zoning Board.”

The sole board member to vote in favor of the Dartmouth facility was Chairman Judith Esmay, who said the board could not deny a permit based on aesthetic considerations in the town master plan, a visionary document that describes the town’s land-use aspirations but does not serve as a regulation.

Other board members, however, cited sections of state law that allow site plan regulations to address, among other criteria, “the harmonious and aesthetically pleasing development of the municipality and its environs.”

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