Corruption, Plymouth Selectboard, Reckless Development

Plymouth: Water deal with Claremont Development raises questions about accountability, transparency and Open Meeting Law Violations

Update: 2/22/2023 Plymouth Selectboard agenda reveals Open Meeting Law violations – backlog of 14 sets of minutes on the agenda. The failure to “reasonably review” and approve minutes, within 3 meetings, is a huge OML violation. What’s going on?

Public bodies in the Town of Plymouth demonstrate a complete disregard for transparency and accountability. The Open Meeting Law violations pile up. The are rushing to approve a backlog of minutes and to try to fix their glaring violations. What has been going on inside Town Hall for all these years?

The Town has released the Executive Session minutes of the controversial November 15, 2022 meeting of the Selectboard and Zoning Board of Appeals over the Claremont Development project.

The minutes reveal that at the Executive Session (a closed door meeting)  the Selectboard acted as the Town’s Water Commissioners and claiming to use their authority under state law, voted to waive water, sewer and building fees for Claremont “contingent upon the Zoning Board of Appeals approval” of the project.

The minutes reveal new Open Meeting Law violations and new Open Meeting Law complaints have been filed against the Selectboard-Water Commissioners and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Original appeals were filed in December and appealed to the Attorney General’s office on January 23, 2023. See the ZBA appeal here and the Selectboard appeal here.

On November 16, 2022, the day after the controversial Selectboard and Zoning Board of Appeals “Executive Session” the ZBA held a public hearing on the Claremont special permit.

The recording of the  Nov. 16, 2022 public hearing is here. Again Selectman Bletzer advocated to the ZBA on behalf of a developer. According to a letter  from Town Counsel Bergeron, at the public hearing Bletzer:

“was advocating to the Board that if certain parts of a potential project between the Town of Plymouth and Claremont Development come before the Zoning Board, it is his request that the Claremont group be treated “fairly.” Further, Mr. Bletzer’s stated rationale for this request, were, words to the effect, that Claremont Development has expressed an interest and partnership with the Town of Plymouth in helping it come up with water solutions in conjunction with their project. The comments, which can be described as encouragement to the Board moving forward…” 

Is it proper for a Selectboard member who appoints the ZBA members who have to grant the permit granting to be “advocating” for a project?  Is this using his political position to influence a permit decision?