Submitted by Ed Naile, Chairman of the Coalition of NH Taxpayers.



Zoning attracts snobs like some stuff attracts flies – zoning boards especially. And if you want a short update on what is going on in the world of elitist snobs look no farther than Portsmouth, NH and the frightening issue of carports and their resemblance to mobile homes.

Story starts with the usual need of a taxpaying citizen to upgrade their property to accommodate something that is really of no business of anyone else except of course the local zoning board’s elitists.

The taxpaying citizen wants a carport to protect her car and 90 something mother’s health and safety. You would THINK that the issue of a carport would be a no-brainer except thinking has nothing to do with zoning. Here is the clue. Zoning, like planning, is all about FEELING because certain people with hyper intensive control issues have FEELINGS that need to be placated. This is why handbooks, laws, and common sense have no real place in zoning. Zoning is mostly about feelings.

I enter some comments made in a public forum by a 14 year member of the Portsmouth Zoning Board:

“This would be the only free-standing carport within the neighborhood,” Witham said. “ I feel in some way, part of the thing is that we can’t change the essential character of the neighborhood. Would this do that? Maybe not. But all of a sudden if we had 20 of these free-standing metal carports scattered in that neighborhood, I think it’s a very different feel to the neighborhood. I feel it’s almost trailer parkish to me because that’s the only place you really see these types of structures.”

Right away the feelings of the board member, David Witham, are the most important feature of the request for a variance – not facts, not precedent, not the ordinance – feelings.

And then you have the person who asked for the variance and now has to accommodate feelings instead of setbacks, noise, vibration, dust, etc:

Crossen-Langelier (applicant) said Witham’s comments made her feel “minimized.” (I could point out the need for a “minimized feeling” instead of a “minimum setback” but that would be another bad zoning joke.)

Zoning is a scam that plays out on a rigged stage.

You have zoning proponents promising to enhance the property values of everyone in exchange for submission to various elitists feelings of how they think everyone else should live. And the whole municipality is dragged into the scheme.

My suggestion would be to adopt zoning neighborhood by neighborhood and see where the elitists and normal people settle. I would pay extra to be left alone by snobs and snobs could drive the lower class people out of their neighborhood with carefully crafted ordinances and rulings based on feelings.

That is really what zoning is all about – in the real world. When elitist zoning snobs say they are protecting property values, what they actually mean is they are keeping trailer trash out of their town.

David Witham of the Portsmouth ZBA points that out unwittingly and perfectly.