Town manager gets 3-year deal
“I appreciate the board's confidence in me to go with me for another three years”
Selectmen have signed Town Manager John Petrin to a three-year contract extension that will keep him at the head of town administration through March 2011. via Boston.com
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#1 Dec 28, 2007
Did you hear this one?
Payback in zoning dispute
Official must shut home business
Text size By Calvin Hennick
Globe Correspondent / December 23, 2007
A longtime Norfolk zoning official, forced to shut down his home-based masonry business last week because of zoning violations reported by disgruntled citizens, says he doesn't know whether he'll ever reopen.
"This is a tough stage of your life to start over again," said Bruce Simpson, a Zoning Board of Appeals member who will turn 65 in February.
Building Inspector Robert Bullock ordered Simpson - a member of the zoning board since 1984 and a former chairman - to cease operations at E.A. Simpson & Sons, based at his Rockwood Road home, after investigating the complaints.
Bullock found that Simpson had a commercial barn and that he stored more than one commercial vehicle and employed more than one person on the property, none of which are allowed under the zoning bylaws for the residential area.
Simpson said that a previous zoning officer had approved his operation in 1983, and that any nonconforming uses should be grandfathered. Although his employees picked up vehicles and equipment each workday, no work is done on the site, he said.
The three men who filed the complaints that brought the violations to light have a "personal vendetta" against him, Simpson said.
"They're not going to be satisfied until I'm a burning ember out in the middle of the road," Simpson said. "They're going to stop at nothing."
"He's done this to himself," said local developer Jack Scott, one of the three who filed the complaint. Scott has accused Simpson and his wife, Marie, of blocking him from developing land that he owns.
"He thinks he's above the law because of his position. He hurt me, and he hurt my business and my family, and I did the same to him. You want to call it personal? Absolutely."
Scott and the two others - Peter Chipman, the town's Board of Health chairman, and Gregory Kay, who owns Shady Tree Landscaping, now based in Walpole - all acknowledge they are unhappy with Simpson's past handling of their businesses and projects. But, they said, Simpson shouldn't have meddled in other people's affairs while he was flouting regulations himself.
"All I did was file a complaint saying he's running a business out of his house," said Kay, who contends that Simpson was instrumental in forcing his landscaping business out of town over a zoning issue. "Whether it's personal or not, he's violating the law."
Chipman said he was incensed when Simpson wrote a letter to the Planning Board that advised against approval for his request to close off an access point to his property on Main Street, where Chipman plans to develop a mixed-use building.
"My complaint was, here I am following the rules, and here's a guy who is basically openly and grossly violating them and has the nerve to step in my way," Chipman said. "He's a hypocrite."
Simpson said that complaining to the town and getting his business shut down was "over the top."
"You don't like somebody, you talk to them," he said. "But you don't annihilate them."
Bullock said it doesn't matter whether the complaints were personally motivated, but whether Simpson is in violation of the town's bylaws. Simpson may have a case that the barn should be grandfathered, he said, since it was built before the bylaw that prohibits it went into effect, but the bylaws concerning the number of commercial vehicles and employees predate Simpson's masonry operation at his home.
Norfolk's building inspector said that Simpson has two options if he wants to reopen his business. He can either take his case to the Zoning Board of Appeals - recusing himself from the proceedings - or he can find another site for his vehicles and employees.
"It's pretty much black and white," Bullock said.
#2 Dec 28, 2007
Does anybody work at the ZBA office anymore?
No one's ever there....
#3 Dec 28, 2007
Does anybody work at the ZBA office anymore in Norfolk Town Hall?
No one's ever there....
#4 Nov 19, 2008
Did you hear this one...
Norfolk developer faces ethics probe
State ethics commission investigators claim a Norfolk developer tried to buy conservation commission approval for his single-family home by offering the chairman a free week at his Pennsylvania fly-fishing cabin two years ago.
Developer Jack Scott now faces a public adjudicatory hearing before an ethics board member within 90 days, ethics board spokesman David Giannotti said Tuesday.
The full ethics commission then will deliberate in executive session.
In paperwork filed with the ethics board Tuesday, the board's enforcement division alleged Scott violated the state's conflict of interest law in May 2006.
Scott had applied to the conservation commission to build a single-family home on Applewood Road. On May 12, 2006, before the commission voted, Scott e-mailed the offer of his cabin, a stay worth about $700, to then-Chairman Jeffrey Kane, investigators said.
"Scott made the offer with the corrupt intent of influencing the ConCom chair in the performance of his official acts and/or acts within his responsibility," investigators said.
Kane e-mailed Scott back later that morning, "thanking Scott for the offer but making no other reference to the cabin," investigators wrote.
Kane told Scott that his board had approved Scott's project the night before, and that he would tell Scott's wife when the document was available.
"The ConCom chair never took advantage of Scott's offer of a free week's stay at the cabin," investigators wrote.
The law "prohibits anyone from corruptly offering anything of value to a municipal employee with intent to influence any official act or act within his official responsibility," according to the ethics board.
The ethics board can impose a fine of up to $2,000 for each violation of the conflict of interest law.
Scott's attorney, Robert George of Boston, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Giannotti said adjudicatory hearings typically happen after investigators and the accused try to resolve a matter without one.
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