Cohasset ConCom Denies building permit to DeCaprio Neighbor

By Tanna Kasperowicz

What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends.
Beatles lyrics

What’s wrong with Cohasset?  Nothing that a fresh blast of new town officials won’t cure at the 2013 Tune Up Elections. Ok. A little political catch-up here.

In summer 2011 Selectmen (now Chairman) Paul Carlson, Fred Koed and Lee Jenkins decimated the Cohasset Conservation Commission in order to protect their Cat Damn pals from…OhMyGod! The Tide!!! The appeal of that issue is apparently dead now, as the Town refuses to file an engineering report with MEPA and then…you guessed it. Politics at a higher level raised its ugly head. Cat Damners have lots of friends in high places. But I digress. It’s the lower places we’re talking about here.

The conservationists fired were: Environmentalist Debbie Cook and Sarah Charron, an Environmental Engineer; Richard Karoff was demoted from a fully vetted member to an associate member.

Selectmen made the following political appointments: James Marten (a member of the Cat Damn E-20) and E-20 friends James Gilman, Alexander Koines. Mike Milanoski was appointed as an associate member. Milanoski resigned from the conservation commission after he was appointed Acting Town Manager early in 2012.  Selectmen’s friend and E-20 supporter Jack Creighton was already on the board.

Now, it’s almost a year later. Let’s look at the records of the new political appointees.

James Gilman has missed 6 out of 16 meetings (37.5 percent)
Vice Chairman James Marten has missed 5 out of 16 meetings (31 percent). Marten spends every other month in England.
Alex Koines missed 3 out of 16 meetings – not so bad.

Now, Readers, let’s learn what political appointments “do” or do not do on a permitting commission sworn to uphold local, state and federal conservation laws, particularly when it involves one of their pals – namely, Peter DeCaprio, Chairman of the Cohasset Water Commission and a member of the Cohasset Cabal. DeCaprio has been enjoying a lot adjacent to his property. Yes, it would be a shame to lose use of that property.

At the May 17th meeting of the Conservation Commission the vote was 4-2 against allowing a home to be build at 559 Jerusalem Road, on the site of the former Black Rock Hotel.

All reports say the owners of the property met all requirements, and the Conservation Commission’s vote was stunning– as it was, reportedly, only the 3rd time in 18 years that the commission had denied a landowner (who had gotten all other permits)  the right to build.

The final votes against the project were: Koines, (Jack) Creighton (an E-20 friend) and Marten. ConCom Chair David Farrag and Vee Roebuck voted in favor. It is not wise to cross DeCaprio, a member of the Cohasset Cabal. You vote with the Cabal or you are gone, as many who have crossed DeCaprio have discovered.

ConCom Secretary Nancy Noonan’s HOT May minutes are not yet available and so this reporter had to reconstruct what happened at the last hearing.

Here’s what we found. At crucial hearing dates, Jan. 19, Feb. 18 and April 5, several members of the Cohasset Cabal were absent:

On January 19th Gilman, Graham and Koines were not present.
On Feb. 18th and April 5th James Marten was not present.

Nevertheless, The Cohasset Cabal voted on behalf of DeCaprio and against the property owner. This is spite of the fact that they had not attended all of the hearings regarding the same and should have recused themselves and/or reviewed the material and signed affidavits regarding the same before voting; none of which we are aware that they did.

I am not going into the details of the hearings. I can only tell you this. The property owner should not have to go before Superior Court (expensive) where he will win. He should not have to appeal the Conservation Commission’s vote, which he will win.

Political machines are expensive for everybody. Please realize this. Town Counsel will be at Superior Court representing Peter DeCaprio, not the Town, not the Public.

Town Counsel should not be asked to protect us from the Local, State and Federal laws that we support.

Selectmen did this with Cat Damn, Treats Pond…and now their Cabal is continuing the practice on the Conservation Commission.

This has to stop.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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  1 comment for “Cohasset ConCom Denies building permit to DeCaprio Neighbor

  1. June 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Lots of people commented on the above blog, but did not wish to do so on the blog, anonymous or otherwise.
    Comment #1:
    …the ConCom has devalued the land by not giving a permit to build. In our industry, this essentially can result in a land taking.”
    Comment #2
    …We are not attorneys, as you know, but spend more time talking to lawyers than any group other than public officials in our work, so a bit of what concerns the ladies and gentlemen of the bar tends to rub off and color our view of things. Your item on the Black Rock situation and the potential for conflicts using Cohasset’s Town Counsel in that matter when a Town official has a visible potential interest in the outcome has our antennae up. All the recent controversy surrounding Cohasset town governance make public confidence is a fragile thing these days. For this reason, alone, we would want to see any Town bodies that are or potentially will be involved in Black Rock meet with legal counsel, have serious discussion regarding the potential for conflicts in that matter and take appropriate action.In addition to appearances there is the matter of cost. Using Town Counsel for Black Rock is probably less expensive than hiring outside legal counsel – unless the court finds that Town Counsel has a conflict and the Town ends up having to hire outside counsel anyway. In which case the bill and the burden on public officials’ time can balloon significantly. Everything is likely on the up-and-up where the reasons for Cohasset’s action on the permit is concerned (not saying whether the decision was correct or not), but failing to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on conflicts can be more costly than a preventative legal review.
    Comment #3
    …Great blog! Yes — the homeowner will sue the town on the grounds that the ConCom action constituted a taking. The Town Attorney would usually represent the ConCom — in this case the best course would be that special town counsel would likely have to be appointed… in some towns – guys in DiCaprio’s position have been forced to “intervene” in the litigation as an interested party and thus pay the bulk of the town’s legal costs.

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