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Peru business, town at odds over permit

PERU – The owners of the Bus eatery on the west shore of Worthley Pond and the Board of Selectmen disagreed Monday night on whether the business complies with state law.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has said signs for the takeout enterprise on Greenwoods Road are not allowed in the shoreland zone and must come down.

The business started seven years ago in an old bus by Randy and Christine Oldham. Randy Oldham said they were issued a mobile license by the state.

Tim Holland, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, told him Monday that the state recently advised the town that the area had to be rezoned limited commercial to satisfy shoreland zoning laws. The light commercial zone would overlap the shoreland zone, according to a previous statement by Code Enforcement Officer Jack Plumley.

Holland said officials are trying get the matter resolved so the Bus could open on schedule this year.

He said the Oldhams only needed to come to the town to get a new permit for a change in zoning.

Oldham said he didn’t see the need.

In another issue Monday, John and Martha Witherell asked that wording from a petition they submitted last week be used for a town meeting warrant article, not the wording from an article drafted by Holland and approved by the board.

The petition requests that town employees be barred from simultaneously serving as selectman.

The issue was raised after selectmen’s secretary Kathy Hussey was elected selectman last year. Her brother Rick Vaughn is also a selectman and an employee of the highway department.

Holland said the board would decide the issue at its meeting next week when he, Ed Ferland and Selectman Laurieann Milligan are present to make a quorum. Hussey and Vaughn would be prohibited from voting because of a conflict of interest.

Milligan was absent Monday.

Ferland read a personal letter to Hussey apologizing for his words which he said may have been inappropriate when he talked with her at the town office where she works.

Hussey refused to accept it.

Ferland said he would not discuss it in an executive session because he wanted to take care of it in public.

Hussey and Holland immediately voted to go into executive session, left the room, returned soon after and he announced the executive session was over.

In another matter, Town Clerk Vera Parent said RSU 10 Superintendent Tom ward said the worst case scenario for Peru in the 2012-13 school budget is a 4 percent increase. She said she told Ward the town couldn’t even handle any increase.

Bill Hine, chairman of the Wind Ordinance Committee, announced that attorney Andy Hamilton has offered to oversee the certification of the committee pro bono.

One person objected because Hamilton worked for a firm that has represented some wind power companies, including EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas. That company received a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line. It is considering building possibly 25 to 35 turbines, a representative told the committee in February.

A month after the permit was approved, the town passed a six-month moratorium on projects to allow time for an ordinance to be adopted.

Hine said the legal firm Hamilton is with had done some work for wind power companies, but Hamilton wouldn’t be representing any of them while helping Peru.

The board reappointed Steve Fuller to the Finance Committee as of Jan. 1, 2012.