Town Officials Say Appeals Are a 'Very Costly Step'

Board of Selectmen chairman Mike Newhouse was among the town officials who offered a strong reaction to the appeals that will delay construction the new high school.

With , parties on both sides of the debate continue to voice strong opinions in the wake of the .

Friday was the deadline to file an appeal of the , and two appeals reached town officials by the close of last week. As a result, construction will not begin on Tuesday as originally planned, and delays and cost increases are both possible.

“Obviously I am disappointed,” said Board of Selectmen chairman Newhouse. “These folks are intent on being disruptive and obstructionists. That is my opinion. At this point we have to let our attorneys and technical people prevail on the appeal. What’s really a shame is the amount of time and money that this going to cost the town, but I have every confidence that the town is going to prevail.”

In addition to the abutter appeal by Gerry O’Reilly, a second appeal was filed by Kevin MacDonald, George Lingenfelter, O’Reilly, Michael Bodnar, Mike Shay, Larissa Bodnar, Len Coffill, Arthur Jensen, George D’India, Grace Block, Winifred Gioiosa, Robert Clark, Evelyn Grassia and Ilona Lingenfelter.

Members of the Headwaters Stream Team are not signees of the current appeal after they were among those who appealed to the DEP earlier this summer. The DEP’s Superseding Order of Conditions addressed the issues HST members found in the original plans approved by the Conservation Commission.

Lingenfelter weighed in on his group’s decision to appeal, and said the 11 appellants are not the ones responsible for school construction delays.

“This is all the fault of Mike Caira and the Board of Selectmen,” said Lingenfelter. “None of these problems would exist if it weren’t for the way they approached this project.”

MacDonald, the spokesman of the 10-resident group, declined comment when reached by Wilmington Patch on Sunday night, but said he may issue a statement later in the week.

Town Manager Michael Caira declined to discuss how long the appeals process might take. But Caira, like other town officials, remained confident that the DEP’s position would be upheld as the appeal moves forward.

“We’ve had some discussions as to what the impact of the delay is,” said Caira. “But I think we need to reassess where we’re at and provide that information once we feel confident in what that information is. The town will take the appropriate steps to join with (the Department of Environmental Protection) to defend our position.”

Selectman Mike Champoux said he was not completely surprised by the appeal, which could end up in an adjudicatory hearing.

“My gut reaction was immediately a grave sense of disappointment,” said Champoux. “I had hoped that Mr. O’Reilly, or anyone else for that matter, would have felt that the process we have followed was thorough and comprehensive to the point that it would be unnecessary to go to any further level of appeal. I can’t think of any scenario where there would be grounds for any further appeal.”

Newhouse said there are ways to make up for lost time when construction does begin in an effort to keep the school on track for its scheduled opening. The town could hire subcontractors capable of working at night or on weekends, but Newhouse also said project managers also would need to research those companies and find out what cost would be associated with the hours required for the job.

The Board of Selectman chairman did not address the specifics of potential delays, saying there are too many variables to predict exactly how the process will go. But Newhouse did say that he does not expect the latest appeal to be resolved overnight.

“There’s no getting around that this was a very costly step for the entire town,” said Newhouse. “It’s certainly going to take a couple months. That’s just the way it is. Even if everything goes as efficiently as possible, we still cannot expect a decision in any less time than that. But I do presume the town will prevail. I’m more confident of that than I have ever been.”

debmar July 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM
This whole situation is absolutely disgusting!!!
jozkid July 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM
The one time Kevin declines comment....
LauraF July 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Although I no longer live in Wilimington, I grew up there and have such fond, wonderful memories there. This is such a sad turn of events, how a small group of people can negatively effect so many others.
Christine July 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM
https://www.facebook.com/groups/328812377208195/?ref Disgusted by the millions this group may cost us? ready for new NEW Wilmington High School NOW.. Join our group :) Trolls not welcome..
Christine July 30, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Looking for the contact info for the DEP...who is in charge of the appeals and who is the case manager..anyone?
Christine July 30, 2012 at 02:29 PM
If you know any of these people please talk to them, their actions in appealing the new Wilmington High School will cost us millions for ridiculously petty gripes. I will publish their addresses later and you can write to them too. In addition to the abutter appeal by Gerry O’Reilly, a second appeal was filed by Kevin MacDonald, George Lingenfelter, O’Reilly, Michael Bodnar, Mike Shay, Larissa Bodnar, Len Coffill, Arthur Jensen, George D’India, Grace Block, Winifred Gioiosa, Robert Clark, Evelyn Grassia and Ilona Lingenfelter
jo July 30, 2012 at 02:57 PM
so let me get this straight.... These 11 people didn't like the way Mike Caira and the Board of Selectmen approached the project , so they took it upon themselves to file an appeal against the expert opinion of the DEP, and potentially cost the town (and therefore themselves) millions of dollars in order to prove a point?!?!?! I certainly hope, and expect, a reasonable and justified complaint for why these 11 would risk so much of Wilmington's future, not to mention taxpayer dollars, to mount such an opposition. And please, Kevin MacDonald, don't respond with "it's a DISASTER, there's an oil spill, Ipswich River drinking water blah blah blah" because that argument doesn't hold any water (haha pun intended) any longer.
Christine July 30, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Any attorney interested in speaking with me about the WHS projects appeals and process please email me at cd2240@aol.com if the appeal is a re-appeal of something the DEP didn't do properly the first time I fully plan to file a complaint and anything else I can do. Anyone have the contact for these cases at the DEP the phone numbers on the website and Patch link are useless in getting a human on the phone. Matt, any additional info you can provide on this?
Matt Schooley (Editor) July 30, 2012 at 03:43 PM
You might be able to get the information you are looking for through the regional DEP office. Northeast Region, Wilmington 205B Lowell Street Wilmington, Massachusetts 01887 Main Phone: 978-694-3200
Kevin Mac July 30, 2012 at 04:11 PM
What a surprise that Kevin was involved in the appeal. I can't wait for construction to start so he can chain himself to the gym doors.
Melissa Erickson July 30, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Disgusted. I want to know where to send my bill to these people.
Concerned Citizen July 30, 2012 at 04:44 PM
This all because Lingenfelter wanted to be the LSP (Licensed Site Professional) for the project and the Town denied him
Joe m July 30, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Site proffesional? Give me a break. Has anyone seen his front lawn? He cant maintain that, let alone a multi million dollar project.
Paul July 30, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Or a loader so we can all watch him spin round and round
Foghorn Leghorn July 30, 2012 at 05:13 PM
This boy...I say this boy just aint right... It's personal...this boy is messing with the wrong.. I say wrong family... http://localhistory.wilmlibrary.org/sites/all/themes/Wilmington/images/2006-03-15.pdfIn July of 2003, Lingenfelter brought a chicken carcass into Town Hall and deposited it on the counter of the Health According to a letter written to Lingenfelter, and signed by Wilmington Director of Health, Gregory Erickson, "The Board (of Health) wishes to express to you how improper your actions were with regard to bringing a bag of chicken parts, leathers, and feces to the office of the Board of Health and to dump the contents on the public counter in the office. You did this in the presence of the Building Inspector and the Building and Health Department staff and citizens who were at the office for the purpose of conducting official business. The area needed to be cleaned and disinfected after you left." The letter further states that, though there is normally a $300 fine applicable lor such an act, SEE FOWL PLAY PAGE 16
NP July 30, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I can't get the link to open....
NP July 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
neva mind...got it...very interestin...
Linda July 30, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Seriously do we as taxpayers have any rights ? Or is it only the "chosen few of negative residents" that have control.
Nick M. July 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM
What really gets me is how the majority of us who, actually want the high school, are going to end up footing the additional costs for this. What legal rights do we have? We are all going to get stuck with a bill caused by such a very, very small number of residents. I don't get it...and when do we get to see the appeals? Don't we have the right to see why the project is being delayed? I really want the opportunity to read these.
Matt Schooley (Editor) July 30, 2012 at 11:31 PM
The appeals are a public record, Nick, and I will be posting them in full on Tuesday morning so readers can get a sense of the concerns of the petitioning residents.
Nick M. July 30, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Thanks Matt. I look forward to reading the claims.
Steve H July 31, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Just reading the the comments of that little troll george, should show everyone what his problem is, he has personal issues with the town, so he found a way to hold the town and the KIDS hostage, Yes GEORGE, you are doing nothing but hurting the youth of wilmington. I hope you are proud of your actions. It must be real interesting to live in a town where only your family and some of the people that signed with you like you. Now the whole town can see why your neighbors act like they do towards you.
Joe m July 31, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Karl we are painting the fence today. Would you mind getting off until we're done and its dry. Thanks


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