Crowell’s Corner, the company owned by Chris Paul of Nutfield Publishing, has withdrawn its lawsuit challenging the Town of Londonderry’s demand that they comply with town building requirements or cease using the property at 2 Litchfield Road for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.