At Monday's board of selectmen meeting, DPW director
Carl Quiram came to the board with an unusual
request. Quiram asked for the board's approval to
change the Requests for Proposals (RFP) for the
reclamation of Mountain Road to include a pipe sleeve
with the installation of one of the new bridges on that
Changes to RFPs are not out of the ordinary.
What was unusual about Quiram's request is that he made
behalf of a developer who is currently suing the town.
Quiram's request is that the sleeve be installed at the
expense of developer Jim Coughlin, who wants to run a
sewer line to Mountain Road. The sewer line would
accommodate the future residents of a proposed
development Coughlin is planning for 92 two-bedroom
multi-family units on
67 acres of land owned by Peter Morgan.
Long road ahead
Coughlin wants to run the sewer line now even though his
project is far from a reality.
The proposed development is nothing new to
Goffstown. Last year, the Zoning Board of
Adjustment (ZBA) denied Coughlin's request for a
variance to build 92 three-bedroom multi-family
units on the same parcel, having determined the project
did not meet the requirements for the special exemption
that the development would need. Those
requirements, according to the town's zoning ordinance,
18.104.22.168.1 - The variance will not result in the diminution in value of surrounding properties;
22.214.171.124.2 - Granting the variance would be of benefit to the public interest;
126.96.36.199.3 - Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner seeking it;
188.8.131.52.4 - By granting the variance, substantial justice will be done; and
184.108.40.206.5 - The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance.
The ZBA also denied Coughlin's subsequent appeal of that
Then Coughlin sued the town.
That lawsuit, originally scheduled for earlier this year, will now
go forward in July. But Coughlin wants
to run the sewer line and have the bridge sleeve
installed now - at his expense - even though his project
is far from a reality. Without the sleeve,
Coughlin faces a dilemma: If
eventually goes forward after the new bridge is
installed, he would have to choose between
waiting five years to connect to the town sewer line or
use septic/leeching systems for the development.
This is because Goffstown
enforces a five-year moratorium on tearing up newly reclaimed/fixed/paved
Coughlin faces a long road ahead towards seeing his
development come to fruition. The project is mired
in his lawsuit against the town, and he has yet to
submit his plans to the state Department of
Environmental Services for approval.
commission will hold a public hearing on the matter on
Town departments assisting?
Interestingly, while in the midst of his lawsuit over
denial of the variance for his three-bedroom units,
Coughlin submitted a nearly identical plan calling for
92 two-bedroom multi-family units to Derek
of the town's zoning department, who accepted
that application on April 10th.
Coughlin also met with Quiram
to request that the sleeve be added to the town's bridge
installation plans and, accordingly, to the RFPs for the
work on Mountain Road. Quiram told selectmen the proposed
sleeve did affect the design of the bridge footings, so
he had to plan for the bridge footings accordingly because,
he said, "it's a very tight fit." Quiram
admitted he revised
the plans while on "company" time without
first discussing it with the board of selectmen.
He presented that revision at Monday's meeting.
Selectman Nick Campasano disagreed
with the proposal to include the bridge sleeves on
principle alone. During the meeting, he stated the
sleeves would increase the costs of the Mountain Road
reclamation for the benefit of a developer who doesn't have a project approved yet.
Campasano also mentioned his discomfort with the idea of
accepting monies from a developer prior to that
developer's plans being approved by the town.
Campasano cited a similar, past situation in Goffstown,
whereby the town had received an offer by a developer to
contribute towards the costs of a roundabout at the Pleasant
and Main Street intersection in advance of a project that was
under consideration by one of the town's other boards at
the time. That board refused to accept the developer's
contribution, citing its intent not to imply that
acceptance would result in any kind of approval of the
project, or interference in any planning or zoning process.
"I think this is the same situation, because no matter how you paint it, if you allow a developer to put in some infrastructure in advance of his project being approved, what are you basically saying?
'Oh, we're not going to give him any preferential treatment, but he just spent however much money putting in
infrastructure?'," Campasano said.
Quiram argued that if the sleeves are not included
during the installation of the bridge, the cost to
Coughlin could increase ten-fold later on.
According to Quiram, Coughlin is willing to pay for the
sleeve now, and has offered to put money in escrow towards that end.
Selectman Scott Gross questioned Quiram about the
overall cost increase of the bridge installation should
the sleeves be included, but never really got an
difference, Carl, between having these sleeves and not
having these sleeves? How much money are we
talking about?" Gross asked.
Quiram asked "For the sleeve itself?"
Gross tried to clarify his question, saying "You were planning
one without a sleeve, and now you're planning one with a
sleeve. What would, roughly...give me, like, a
Quriam responded by saying, "The sleeve, um, I'm
guessing to be something like a $2,500 item."
Quiram did not provide estimates for any costs beyond
the sleeve itself such as labor, prep, etc., and the
cost for his own time - already expended - for altering
the original bridge installation plans.
Interestingly, when asked
by Campasano what he would do if another developer came along with the same request
Coughlin has made, Quiram said he would not allow it.
Quiram told selectmen he wants to include the sleeve as a
separate item to keep the cost down. He said if he
waited until after the bids were opened to ask for a
separate price for the sleeve, the price could be as
much as $25,000. Quiram also said that by
including the sleeve cost in the bid, the price would be
locked in, and if the town later decides it doesn't want to
install it, it wouldn't have to.
But Campasano disagreed, telling Quiram, "What I'm saying is, it doesn't need to be in the bid because we're not paying for
it. Keeping costs down for us is not an issue here because we're not paying for it."
Bids for the Mountain Road reclamation are due by June