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Newhouse, Town Officials Await Next Step for High School

After Wednesday's ruling by the Department of Environmental Protection, Superior Court would be the next step for the high school appeals.

Mike Newhouse said he’s been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel for a long time. But for town officials, it’s getting a bit brighter after the latest Department of Environmental Protection ruling.

After the DEP Commissioner ruled late Wednesday that he would not reconsider his decision to allow the dismissal of both high school appeals, Newhouse said it did not come as a surprise.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all seen the light at the end of the tunnel from the beginning because we never doubted the validity of the town’s position, and the DEP’s position,” said Newhouse, the Board of Selectmen chairman. “The light has been at the end of the tunnel, it’s just been a matter of how long is the road we need to travel. Because of the rules, that is beyond our control.”

The next step in the appeals process would be for the petitioners to appeal the decision to Superior Court, which must be done within 30 days of Wednesday’s decision.

Kevin MacDonald, who is the spokesman for the 10-resident group appealing the project, did not return several attempts for comment about the appeal dismissal on Thursday.

Abutter Gerry O’Reilly, who is also appealing the school, declined comment when reached by Patch. His attorney was not immediately available for comment.

Reilly’s attorney and MacDonald have indicated in the past that they would be willing to take the school decision to Superior Court, however it is not officially clear if that is what they still plan to do.

Newhouse would not speculate on how long a potential case could take at the Superior Court level. He did say that the cost of the extended appeals continues to grow the longer the process takes, though he didn’t provide a specific estimate of what increase the town is currently looking at.

“It depends when that question is asked, but that number is quantifiable,” said Newhouse. “It’s ever changing because of inflation in terms of labor and materials. That is an answer that the town is prepared to discuss with its consultants. I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves, because I am not going to presume whether or not there will be another appeal.”

Though Newhouse said only time will tell how much longer it will be before the project gets underway, he did say that Wednesday’s ruling was good news for the town.

“For every milestone that we meet to make the new school become a reality, it is good news,” said Newhouse. “We’re pleased about each one of those milestones. The decision is certainly not a surprise and we look ahead to moving the project forward.”

George Lingenfelter November 19, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I suppose there are many people who do not care about the petroleum contaminated soil being at 6 feet. But I believe that the citizens should have been told the honest facts before voting! Remember that only two people were allowed to speak in opposition to the high school project at the special town meeting. There was no LSP Opinion at the special town meeting as stated. The LSP Opinion (which in my opinion as an LSP myself is technically flawed), was submitted to DEP on June 29, 2012.
Wayne Sullivan November 19, 2012 at 03:56 PM
George all these continuous posts and after thought ramblings. You are making it look like your hitting the sauce in the early morning here. You are losing your case and now you're pouting and putting blame on others. You are a self proclaimed expert in this field and you're still losing your case. Move on and focus on your blue tarp fence problem. That's more your speed.
Richard Jertz November 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM
George, Is this all about your fence problem?
Matt Schooley November 19, 2012 at 09:42 PM
A comment was removed from the site for violating Patch's terms of use. Let's please refrain from personal attacks and stay on the subject. Thank you.
Steve H November 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM
George, i was at that meeting and watched you leave early. I sat there to the very end, and never saw any attempt at intimidation. I watched Mr. Newhouse ask one of the appellants if he was willing to reconsider, that was after the appellant spoke about not wanting to be the reason the project was being help up, but george that was after you left. So can you please explain what intimidation you are talking about

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