First In Line
Self-dealing is when a fiduciary acts in their own best interest, rather than in the best interest of their clients, or in this case, Deep River citizens. Municipal employees have always had a code of ethics for which they must abide by, with or without the existence of an Ethics Commission. But what about Deep River itself?
I am reminded weekly how the Town turned its back on residents to generate revenue and appease big businesses. My property abuts Incarnation Camp and Region 4. In 2007, the Town was approached by Haynes and the Incarnation Camp to request a “short-term” special permit allowing Haynes to blast on camp property, 1,700 feet from my property line. While a typical homeowner is routinely denied a five-foot variance, the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) approved changing a camp into a quarry.
We filed a lawsuit against Haynes, PZC, and the camp. The Town, spearheaded by PZC, had a clear path to denial, but would not stand down. We exhausted our savings and the Town won. And despite the label “short term,” weekly blasts continue to this day with no end in sight. No third-party oversight exists, Haynes is in complete control of monitoring the effects of its blasting and addressing damage complaints. They claim that their explosions cause vibration equivalent to a triaxle truck hitting a bump in the road. Hilarious.
The Town's willingness to rezone a camp into a quarry in exchange for revenue and fireworks is a blatant act of self-dealing and misuse of power. While I am first to admit that policing Deep River is not necessarily in their purview, nevertheless I will be first in line when the Commission opens for business.