Supreme Court Challenge Withdrawn Against Town of Londonderry

Crowell’s Corner, the company owned by Chris Paul of Nutfield Publishing, has withdrawn its lawsuit challenging the Town of Londonderry’s demand that they comply with town building requirements or cease using the property at 2 Litchfield Road for business purposes.  The withdrawal follows an order from the state Supreme Court telling Crowell’s Corner to hire a lawyer to pursue their suit, or drop it.

The suit had no success in lower courts.  In October, 2010, Judge Kenneth McHugh ruled in favor of the Town of Londonderry, calling the lawsuit “frivolous” and “meritless,” and ordering the company to vacate their building by December 1, 2010.  He stated that “the planning board was being used or strung along by the plaintiffs for several years.”  Nutfield Publishing subsequently ceased operating from the building after more than 1,500 days of occupancy in violation of town rules.

According to court documents, Judge McHugh denied a motion made by Crowell’s Corner to reconsider the case on November 10, 2010. Crowell Corners then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, but were told they could not file such a motion without an attorney.  During this time, the company also filed a motion to stay with the Rockingham Superior Court. The motion would have allowed Nutfield Publishing the opportunity to continue operating from their building on Litchfield Road. Judge McHugh also denied this motion.

To return to their Litchfield Road building, Crowell’s Corner must first work towards reinstating their site plan for renovating the building. “They will need to pay the required fees and state the reason(s) for reinstatement,” said Arthur Rugg, Chairman of the Planning Board. Timothy Thompson, Town Planner, added that the company would need to show a measure of good faith to ensure the work will be completed, “which is why the restoration and inspection funds precede the request to the Board for reinstatement.”

Fees that Nutfield Publishing would need to pay, according to Thompson, include a $16,000 restoration surety with the Department of Public Works (DPW), a $3,400 site inspection escrow with the DPW, a Traffic Impact fee of $1, 914, a Police Impact Fee of $291.02 and a Fire Impact Fee of $1,207.44. Crowell Corner is also required to pay $9,700 for legal fees, but Rugg is unsure whether these fees would affect reinstatement. “I don’t think that payment of the attorney’s fees could be made a condition, but that would be a question for our attorney.”

Once all fees have been paid, Thompson said, the company must “prepare a letter addressed to Planning Board requesting reinstatement of the site plan, with justification and realistic commitment to complete all required site work and inspections.”  Once that was delivered, Thompson continued, “our staff would review all submissions they have made requesting reinstatement and would make a recommendation. If this is favorable, and they have met all the requirements and paid all the fees, I would think that it is reasonable to say that there would be support for acceptance,” Rugg added.

Both Rugg and Thompson agreed that Crowell’s Corner would then need to show “active and substantial development” of the property within one year. “Before the building can be occupied, all site improvements will need to be completed and inspected by the DPW, all building and fire code improvements will also have to be completed and inspected by the Building Inspector and Fire Inspector,” Thompson stated. The Certificate of Occupancy would then need to be signed off by the DPW, and Building and Fire Inspectors before Nutfield Publishing could move back into the building.

For links to past stories and PDF files of the court documentation read the rest of the story.

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Court orders Londonderry Times to cease doing business from 2 Litchfield Road by December 1

Lawsuit termed “frivolous” and meritless; threatens jail for failure to obey

2 Litchfield Road Londonderry, NH Used by Nutfield Publishing without Certificate of Occupancy since Sept 2006

Superior court judge Kenneth McHugh’s ruling on Nutfield Publishing’s appeal of the Londonderry Planning Board’s order to cease using its property at 2 Litchfield Road for business purposes was released on October 18. The judge ruled in favor of the Town of Londonderry and against Nutfield Publishing, calling the suit “frivolous” and “meritless,” and stating that “the planning board was being used or strung along by the plaintiffs for several years.” The judge also found that “for four years now the plaintiff has been illegally occupying” the premises.

Nutfield Publishing, owners of Londonderry Times and two other local weekly newspapers, will no longer be allowed to conduct business in the home on Litchfield Road after December 1, 2010.

Since 2006, Nutfield Publishing has asked for three extensions on their site plan to bring the building up to code. The Town of Londonderry, in the spring of 2010, ultimately denied the company’s third request for an extension after no progress had been made in the preceding year and none could be assured in the upcoming year. This decision led to the law suit filed by Nutfield Publishing against the Town of Londonderry in June, 2010. A court date was subsequently scheduled for the morning of October 13.

When no representative from Nutfield Publishing appeared in court, Judge McHugh spoke in private with the Town’s attorney and issued the Final Order. The order indicated that “the plaintiff’s failure to process its site plan application was lack of finances. That reason does not justify the plaintiff’s extended illegal occupancy of the premises.” The order also stated that, “Under the facts of this case, the filing of the within Planning Board appeal can only be deemed to be frivolous.”

Superior Court Ruling Snapshot

  • The Publisher has been using the building illegally for 4 years
  • The owners have been stringing the planning board and the town along for several years
  • The Publisher must stop using the building for a business by December 1st, 2010
  • The Court warns that the principal owners could be fined or face incarceration for contempt of court if they do not obey the order

Judge McHugh dismissed Nutfield Publishing’s appeal and granted the Town’s Requests for Findings of Facts and Rulings of Law. The order ends, saying, “The plaintiff is given until December 1, 2010 to cease all commercial use of the property. A failure to do so shall subject the plaintiff to additional penalties which may include a finding of contempt of court, which prescribes as a potential remedy incarceration of the plaintiff’s principal. The defendant is also awarded all of its reasonable attorney fees in having to defend this meritless appeal.”

When asked what the enforcement action by the town will be Town Manager Dave Caron said, “The Court Order requires that all commercial operations cease at that location by December 1,  should that not occur, the Court will be notified that the property owner is in contempt of a Court order.

Planning Board Chairman Art Rugg when reached for comment said, “All I can say is that due process has been pursued, and finally justice has been served. This begs the question of what has the Town Council been doing the past four years concerning this.”

To read a complete copy of the Final Order in Court, and links to past stories click Read More.

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Nutfield News, Largest Acorn Crop Again This Year

You can not walk, hike, jog, bike, or drive through Londonderry without noticing them, Acorns thousands and thousands of acorns plummeting to the ground, creating a carpet of shells.  The unlucky that have an oak tree near the driveway this year likely have some dents in the hood and roof of your car!

Under the spreading oak trees the nuts and caps litter the ground, making the lawn hard to deal with.  A neighbor deals with it by hiring the local kids to pick them up and place them into five gallon pails.  Others rely on nature to pull them into the ground over the winter, then when they sprout up in the spring the little trees are chopped short by the mower.

Around the newsroom we have other methods, collection depends on an army of chipmunks and squirrels.  They do a fine job most the time, although you have to wonder where all those tunnels go underground?  The hollow trees are clearly a great storage bin for the winter feast.  Hard to say but you would think they are laughing at you as they scurry off leaving the caps behind.

Even so, sometimes you have to bring out the big guns.  Yesterday afternoon planting it’s lumbering low slung body just feet from the window, right in a pile of acorns, this backyard beaver just sat and kept crunching on the acorns.  Using hands to hold the nuts while they were cracked open one after another were lifted from the lawn.

Beaver from one of the Londonderry Wetlands, munching on some Acorns

The chipmunks were relentless jumping and chirping around the burly beast from the wetlands.  After an hour or so, off went the beaver to the marsh left dry from the summer drought.

Now with snow coming soon if we could just find some fisher cats to clear the driveway.


Samuel Eliot Morison’s Nutfield Connection

My daughter lives in Back Bay, Boston.  It’s a lovely neighborhood for walking, and my favorite section has always been the Commonwealth Mall.  It’s a green oasis in the city, a long avenue divided by a green park dotted with statuary of famous Bostonians.  I had never examined these statues up close until recently, when I noticed that all the statues seemed to be literary figures. One of my favorite statues is that of Samuel Eliot Morison.Resize of P1040652

Morison was a famous Boston Brahmin, an Admiral, and most famously, a Harvard professor of history.  However, his stature shows him wearing casual clothing, perched on the edge of a rock in a pose that looks as if he were gazing out to sea.  Since he was very famous for his books on maritime history, it seems appropriate.  His most famous books were about New Hampshire’s own John Paul Jones (John Paul Jones, 1960) and Christopher Columbus (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, 1943).  He was a sailor, as well as a scholar, and earned two Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Being very outspoken and fairly old fashioned for the twentieth century, he was criticized for justifying slavery, and parents often boycotted some of the textbooks he co-authored.  The elementary schoolbook “Growth of the American Republic” was criticized since its first publication in 1944, but changes were not made to its racial distortions until 1962.  Morison is also well known for being the last professor to ride a horse to the Harvard campus.   FDR was so impressed with his book on Columbus that he allowed Morison to join the Navy as a historian, where he wrote his fifteen volume set “History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II”.  I supposed this was equivalent to today’s “embedded journalists” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I began to wonder about the name Morison when examining the statue, and since Londonderry has a plethora of Morrisons in its history, I soon found a match in the good professor’s family tree.  He was indeed a descendant of some of the original Nutfield settlers, and also a descendant of U. S. Senator Harrison Otis Gray, of Boston.


The Morison lineage:

Gen. 1:  John Morison born 1628 in Aberdeen, Scotland, died 16 Feb 1736 in Londonderry, New Hampshire; married to Unknown.  He immigrated to America between 1720 and 1723 with his brothers James and Halbert, and settled in Nutfield (Londonderry, New Hampshire.)  He married secondly to Jeanette Steele.

Gen. 2:  John Morison born 1678 in Ireland, died 14 Jun 1776 in Peterborough, New Hampshire; married to Margaret Wallace, born 1687, died 18 April 1769.

Gen. 3:  Thomas Morison, born about 1710 in Ireland, died on 23 November 1797 in Peterborough, New Hampshire; married on 2 October 1739 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts to Mary Smith, born in 1712, died on 29 November 1799.

Gen. 4:  Robert Morison, born on 29 November 1744 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, died on 13 February 1826; married to Elizabeth Holmes, daughter of Nathaniel Holmes and Elizabeth Moor, born on 23 June 1754 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, died on 17 May 1808 in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Gen. 5:  Nathaniel Morison, born 9 Oct 1779 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, died 11 September 1819 in Natchez, Mississippi; married on 13 September 1804 to Mary Ann Hopkins, daughter of John Hopkins and Isabella Reid, born 1781 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, died 27 August 1848 in Medina, Michigan.

Gen. 6:  Nathaniel Holmes Morison, born 14 Dec 1815 at Peterborough, New Hampshire; married to Sidney Buchanan Browne.

Gen. 7:  John Holmes Morison, born Jan 1856 in Baltimore, Maryland, died 1911; married 26 Jun 1886 in Boston to Emily Marshall Eliot, daughter of Samuel Eliot and Emily Marshall Otis, born 14 Feb 1857 at Roxbury, Massachusetts, died in 1925.

Gen. 8:  Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, born 9 July 1887 at Boston, Massachusetts, died 15 May 1976; married to Elizabeth Shaw Greene, and second to Priscilla B. Shekelford.


Several other books by Samuel Eliot Morison:

“The Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis, Federalist”, 1765–1848 (1913)

“The Story of Mount Desert Island” (1960)

“Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647” editor (1952)

“Samuel De Champlain: Father of New France” (1972)


For more information:

“The History of the Morison or Morrison Family,“ by Leonard Allison Morrison and Frederick William Thomas, Boston, Mass:  A. Williams & Co,  1880.

2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


Nutfield Fire Protection Annual Charity Holiday Party

Nutfield Fire FundraiserNutfield Fire Protection District will be holding their 7th Annual Holiday Party on December 14, 2009.  At the “99 Restaurant”, 41 B Nashua Road located in Londonderry, NH  A breakfast buffet  will be served at 9:00 and other festivities begin at 11:00.  Raise a glass to raise funds for Cancer Research.  The Nutfield Fire Protection District is a not for profit fundraising organization. All of the characters are real friends and family of local firefighters willing to share some holiday spirit for charity, so please spread the word and join us.  We will be collecting new/unwrapped toys, for Toys for Tots so please bring one!


ACORN invades Londonderry

The police logs are full of surprise and wonder caused not by a community organizing group, caught on film but by the namesake of our community.

The first sermon in Nutfield, New Hampshire 1719Nutfield so called because in 1718 four Presbyterian ministers of Londonderry, 150 miles to the north of Dublin, Ireland left home with members of their congregation and came to America.  Five ships arrived in Boston and the congregations headed to Casco Bay Maine.  After a bad winter they moved on to Haverhill in the spring of 1719.  According to Willey’s book of Nutfield, it is there they heard of land fifteen miles to the north called “Nutfield, from the abundance of it chestnut, walnut and butternut trees.”

In the past weeks, reports of “youths throwing rocks at cars and cars being shot with BB guns” pepper the police logs.  In all cases the investigations prove… acorn strikes.  A bumper crop this year has many in town lucky enough to have a majestic oak near their home on the lookout for “incoming shots” from the tree above when out to get the mail or the morning paper.  Roadways like High Range and even Mammoth Road will often cause a local driver alert when a nut smacks the center of the windshield.  The poor tourists on a first visit to Nutfield, must be startled as they search for one of the dozen active u-pick areas for a selection of farm fresh fruit to take home.  Enjoying the viewshead, we startle drivers whacking them with a few acorns, just as a reminder, this is Nutfield after all.

Soon the acorns will complete the mission of spreading new oak trees through Londonderry, they will no longer be rapping our cars, roofs and lawns with these nuts.  Instead our cars, roofs and lawns will be covered with a blanket of snow.  That is after all the leafs come down following Londonderry foliage season!