Valley News Forum for Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023: Hanover zoning nightmare

Published: 11/17/2023 3:02:59 PM
Modified: 11/17/2023 3:02:12 PM
A Hanover zoning nightmare

Like a lot of veterans, I came home mad and sad after my service in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the next chapter of my life was going to be good, starting with the rehabilitation of my dilapidated duplex in Hanover. I built a garage with a second floor in 2013. Hanover Zoning bureaucrats told me I could use the garage, but my new second floor could not be finished and used as living space. What kind of lunacy is that, I wondered, which is when my Kafkaesque zoning nightmare began.

I naively thought that Hanover Zoning bureaucrats would apply common sense. Improved Hanover housing benefits all concerned. But they’ve done nothing but make things worse.

I applied for a variance to put a second floor on the front half of my house. The lack of a second floor on part of my house is a hardship for me. The board didn’t see it that way and swiftly dismissed my appeal. I then appealed to the voters through the amendment process at Town Meeting. The Zoning Board put a disclaimer on the ballot recommending a vote against all such proposals. Invariably, the citizen’s request is denied by the voters.

I did have one other option: I could modify the old workshop behind my house as the master bedroom I could not put on the front part of my house. Hanover must have liked the results, because they jacked up my taxes to almost $16,000 per year. They must not have liked me because a letter soon arrived accusing me of building an unauthorized third unit on my property and threatening me with fines of $275 per day. The accusation was a detestable lie, but unelected bureaucrats have the power to crush a citizen if they want to.

So, here is how things stand. I cannot improve my home, a home I have owned and paid taxes on for 40 years. The last 10 years of my life have been squandered by bureaucratic stupidity. By now I should be living in a well-built, well-insulated home that would serve me and generations yet to come. Instead, I’m a 67-year-old man in a 70-year-old house and both have issues. This is remarkably lousy government.

Warren Coughlin


Sticker shock at Listen

Several times a year I donate to Listen. I also shop there occasionally. Some of my favorite articles of clothing have come from Listen. I went to the Listen in White River Junction yesterday, hoping to find new sweaters and a pair of snow pants. I was shocked to see the sweaters were marked at $15-$20. When I moved to the snow pants, the first pair I looked at were marked $40! This was not in a boutique section of the store, but in the regular section. I left the store without purchasing any items.

I am shocked at the price increases and wonder how this came about. I also wonder how people who live paycheck to paycheck can afford to shop there. I thought Listen was for people who needed some financial assistance. The prices they have on items are outrageous.

While I can shop elsewhere, I feel for others who do not have an alternative. I would like to understand the thought process of the organization and why they decided to raise prices to the point of turning away customers.

Deborah Burnham

White River Junction

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