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The Dartmouth
February 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Neighbor appeals clubhouse case

The Hanover resident who is seeking to halt the construction of the $2 million rugby clubhouse appealed his case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court on July 21. Frederick Crory will seek the Court's decision on whether the clubhouse fits the town zoning ordinance's definition of educational use or if it is a building associated with outdoor recreation.

If the Court rules the clubhouse can be used for educational purposes, the College will be able to proceed with construction. If the ruling puts the clubhouse in the category of outdoor recreation, the College could face zoning board review and the possibility of restricted use of the clubhouse.

The Supreme Court has not decided whether to hear Crory's appeal, according to the Valley News.

Since last September, Crory, a resident of Rip Road whose property touches the proposed site of the clubhouse, has gone through the succeeding levels of the courts in an attempt to submit the clubhouse to zoning board review.

In June, Justice Edward J. Fitzgerald III of the Grafton County Superior Court ruled the College may build the clubhouse without the approval of the zoning board, as it qualifies as an educational tool, which, under the town's zoning ordinance does not require a special exception.

In the zoning ordinance, "education" is listed as a use allowed in the Institutional Zone without special exception. This includes "schools, colleges, trades schools, vocational schools, and similar type of establishments," according to the Valley News.

According to the town's zoning ordinance, any building associated with outdoor recreation has to be granted a special exception. The zoning board must consider its effect on the surrounding area, its residents, town services and facilities.

Residents then have the right to voice their opinions about the positive and negative effects resulting from construction.

Crory said Fitzgerald introduced a definition of education which is not in the Hanover zoning ordinance.

Fitzgerald "interpreted that outdoor activities are directly related to education and institutions but that is not what our ordinance says," Crory said.

Whether or not the appeal succeeds in halting the construction of the clubhouse, Crory plans on bringing a proposed amendment to the zoning laws to the annual Hanover town meeting.

If his appeal fails in the Supreme Court, the proposed amendment would be applicable to future situations, not the rugby clubhouse.

"My impression is that it isn't just rugby field -- I hear there are proposed tennis courts at Chase Field and changes on the golf course as well," Crory said.

The clubhouse situation raises questions, Crory said, about the practicality of the current zoning ordinances if they do not apply to the College, which owns the most recreational courts and fields, and the only golf course, in Hanover.

If his appeal fails in the Supreme Court, Crory said, he will drop all further actions against the clubhouse.