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McDougall, Azarian Have Testy ZBA Exchange

Azarian believed McDougall was questioning his integrity on a potential re-hearing.

Salem Zoning Board of Adjustment Chairman Gary Azarian took offense Tuesday night to what he believed was an attempt by fellow board member Patrick McDougall to question his integrity on a petition.

During the exchange, Azarian referenced the pending criminal charges against McDougall.

It all centered around a request for a third re-hearing from Edward Lynch, an abutter to the property at 9 Atkinson Road. The property, owned by Tommy Porter, has enjoyed a preexisting, non-conforming use. A re-hearing was held in August in which the board's decision was upheld.

The request for a third re-hearing did not contain any new information about the lot and its use, but instead called into question Azarian's relationship with Porter, which Azarian said doesn't exist.

"I vote in regards to the lot, not in regards to who the lot owner is," Azarian said. He acknowledged he knew Porter, but not in any fashion that would preclude him from being able to vote on the matter.

"I understand what the chairman is saying, but it does seem like the chairman had somewhat of a relationship with Mr. Porter," McDougall said. "I'm wondering if we should reverse that decision and have it heard again."

Azarian fired back at McDougall, suggesting McDougall had questioned his integrity. Azarian said in almost 15 years on the board he'd never had an integrity issue.

"To hear something like that coming from you really ticks me off," Azarian said to McDougall. "This is a person that's sitting on the Budget Committee with a conflict with the Fire Department, the Police Department and the town. And for you to sit there and say to me that I've compromised my integrity on a petition, it ticks me off."

McDougall was charged over the summer with six different crimes related to three different incidents starting with a charge of obstructing government administration in June when he refused to allow paramedics to take his wife to the hospital after she'd called 911.

Nearly two months later, after McDougall has been warned not to contact witnesses in the case, he was charged with three counts of felony witness tampering from two alleged incidents, including one with Salem Fire Chief Kevin Breen that resulted in criminal threatening and disorderly conduct charges.

McDougall has stated his innocence and remains on both the ZBA and Budget Committee to which he was elected.

McDougall asked how the cases against him were relevant in this matter.

"It's relevant because I didn't compromise my integrity on this," Azarian said. "I don't have any relationship with Tommy Porter."

McDougall insisted he was never questioning Azarian's integrity and was citing Lynch's concerns on the matter. McDougall called Azarian's reference to his charges "inexcusable."

McDougall and fellow board member Bob Uttley expressed a concern about the cost of going to court of the matter, to which Azarian said that might be the best thing to put the matter to rest.

"Let the judge decide, because we've beat this to death," Azarian said.

Vice Chairman Steven Diantgikis reminded the board they are charged with deciding on petitions based on "the five criteria" for granting variances.

"Our decisions are based on the five criteria, not whether or not we'd go to court," Diantgikis said.

McDougall reiterated he felt there should be one more hearing to clear up the issue.

"What's wrong with having one more hearing?" he asked.

Azarian insisted there was no relationship with Porter, and the last time the board heard the issue Azarian's connection to Porter wasn't brought up until two hours into the discussion.

"I don't even know Tommy Porter's wife's name," Azarian said. "I have never had coffee with Tommy Porter. I haven't seen Tommy Porter in 10 years."

Eventually the board voted 3-1 to not re-hear the petition with McDougall in the minority. 

David Kincman October 05, 2012 at 09:02 PM
@Patrick, so you are saying you have already cost the taxpayers of Salem money in legal fees, the exact thing you stated you were trying to avoid in the zoning board incident. In addition, we the people, vote for people to represent us to make the RIGHT decisions. Just because a lawyer or lawyer says something is right, does not always mean that it is the right thing to do.
F Jackie Marlow October 05, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Patrick, although you certainly do not believe it, you have overstayed your welcome. You may have signed up for the budget committe and the zoning board believing you could help, but unfortunately things went horribly wrong. Your opinions are tainted and widely disregarded. You have alienated yourself from, in no particular order, the fire department, police department, school board and administration, town manager and the members of the zoning board. I cannot think of, in all the years I have lived here, anyone who has done so much bad with virtually no good. And now the frosting on the cake is that you will now be costing the town thousands of dollars because of your ridiculous behavior. Please for the good of the town, pack it in. I, for one, do not feel good about you in any position of authority. You could never represent me. Never.
Patrick McDougall October 06, 2012 at 12:10 AM
@F Jackie Marlow that's fine that's your opinion but understand there is alot more people who support me because despite how much they try to knock me down and humiliate me i always get back up and defy there attacks against me because until everyone in salem is respected and not forgotten i will be there for them and speak on there behalf. Make no mistake i am not going anywhere i am a decent law abiding citizen who loves my community and just like the spirit of this great country i will fight for the people of salem's interest to do what is right on there behalf even the people who some say stand in salem's progress of becoming a completly wealthy community. So in closing deal with it i'm not going anywhere and i believe that me being involved in town government is a good thing because i have no hidden agenda's that may cloud my decision's on behalf of my fellow citizen's!
F Jackie Marlow October 06, 2012 at 07:45 AM
Law abiding? Are you drinking your own bath water? You have been charged with six crimes just this summer, some felonies. I know charged is different than convicted, but that's just a timing issue. And as far as your alleged support, that will become apparent the next time your name is on the ballot. Last time you didn't fare so well.
Love NH December 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Not any more. Charged and convicted.

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