Public History of Bauchman Towing and the Town of Windham
Last updated: February 17, 2010
Written by Heath Partington
This is the history of Bauchman Towing in Windham, NH as we know it. If any of the historical data is not accurate please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that it may be updated. I intend to update this history as it unfolds so if you are interested in how things are going check this link again. The original timeline data from 1993 to March of 2008 was provided by Al Turner (the planning director until 2008) in 2008 and is part of the public file at the planning office in Windham. The history during that time may have been edited due to additional information becoming available or apparent.
BLUE – supporting documentation including pertinent court cases
GREEN – Town of Windham Board meetings (Selectmen, Planning, Zoning)
ORANGE – Town of Windham meeting video originally aired and recorded by WCTV. These videos are only the portion of the meeting regarding Bauchman Towing. Complete videos of the entirety of the meeting can be acquired from WCTV.
YELLOW – Press coverage from the Eagle Tribune
RED – editorial data; these are thoughts residents or myself might have on the subject which may carry potential bias. The thoughts and views of the authors of these sections are not necessarily the thoughts and views of the Neighbors of Windham or this website.
- November - Mr. Bauchman purchases the property at 120 Haverhill Road. What the property looks like in 2009
- April - The Town of Windham sends Mr. Bauchman a zoning violation letter because he is running a towing business on that property and is storing large towing trucks outside.
- November – The Town of Windham serves Mr. Bauchman with a court petition to stop towing related activities and storage of towing vehicles.
- March - The Superior Court rules that Mr. Bauchman can store 3 towing vehicles on his property and that no business is running on that site and that all towing related activities are done offsite. This allows Mr. Bauchman the ability to respond to towing calls during the night without driving to get his trucks at a secondary location. March 10, 1997 Superior Court Ruling.
- November - The town of Windham issues a zoning violation to Mr. Bauchman for running a commercial auto repair business and for construction of an additional storage building on the property without a permit.
- December - Mr Bauchman writes a letter to the Town of Windham stating he will make the corrections necessary on his property and his business to comply with all regulations. Apparently he does not make these corrections.
- March - The Town of Windham sends another zoning violation to Mr. Bauchman for running a commercial auto repair business and for the construction of a storage building without a permit.
- April - Mr. Bauchman writes a letter informing the Town of Windham that that he has hired Attorney Mason and Herbert Associates to bring his property into compliance
- June - Mr. Bauchman verbally informs the Town of Windham that he no longer repairs vehicles at that site and that he is in compliance with the 1997 court order that allows him to store 3 towing related vehicles but not run a business there. Whether he complies for a short time or not is not part of the record but it doesn’t stay that way.
- March - Mr. Bauchman applies for use variances to build an additional commercial building with the Zoning Board of Adjustment. He testifies at that meeting that he is running a towing business on that property; has 4 employees; 8 tow trucks and is storing towed vehicles at that location. March 28, 2006 ZBA Minutes
- April - The Town of Windham sends Mr Bauchman a letter citing zoning violations for running a towing business on his property.
- June – 7 residents that live on Galway Road submit a petition requesting the planning department to enforce the zoning ordinance at 120 Haverhill Road where a towing business is being run.
- June – Mr. Bauchman withdraws his Zoning Board use variance request to build a 50’ by 60’ garage.
- August - The Town of Windham sends Mr Bauchman a letter threatening legal action for violating the zoning ordinance by running his towing business at 120 Haverhill Road.
- October The Town of Windham turns the case over to town counsel for legal action
- November The NH Superior court issues an order to stop Mr. Bauchman from towing or accepting vehicles at 120 Haverhill Road. He has 30 days to remove all vehicles other than his personal vehicles from the property. He cannot repair vehicles on that property.
- January – Mr Bauchman shows up in front of the Planning Board for a site plan review. The board indicates that the towing business and auto repair business is not an allowed use in the rural zone and he needs to go to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. January 3, 2007 Planning Board Minutes
- September - Herbert Associates submits a plan for compliance with the zoning ordinance for Town review on behalf of Mr. Bauchman. The Town sends the plan back to Mr. Bauchman with extensive comments – it does not address the zoning violations.
- October - Superior court grants permission to Mr. Bauchman to pursue use variances through the Windham Zoning Board of Adjustment provided he does not further delay the enforcement process. This was more than 2 years ago.
- October Mr. Bauchman applies for use and area variances that do not address the existing zoning violations.
- November - The Town of Windham sends Mr. Bauchman a letter indicating that his application does not address the existing zoning violations.
- December - Mr. Bauchman withdraws his application to the Windham Zoning Board of Adjustment.
- February - Mr. Bauchman applies for use variances that would allow for both a commercial towing business and an automobile repair business at 120 Haverhill Road.
- March 11 – The Windham Zoning Board of Adjustment grants Mr. Bauchman a use variance to allow a towing business at 120 Haverhill Road with 10 towing related vehicles. March 11, 2008 ZBA Minutes March 11, 2008 ZBA video (191 minutes) Eagle Tribune: Windham zoning board OKs towing operation
- March 28 – Marc Sneider and the neighbors sue the Town of Windham over the March 11th ZBA decision.
- April 8 – The Windham Zoning Board of Adjustment denies Mr. Bauchman a use variance to allow an auto repair business at 120 Haverhill Road. April 8, 2008 ZBA Minutes April, 8, 2008 ZBA video (111 minutes) Eagle Tribune: Windham board rejects expansion of towing firm Eagle Tribune: Business owner claims Windham zoning board made mistake
- October – The Superior Court rules in favor of Marc Sneider and the neighbors. The order indicates that the decision of the Zoning Board of Adjustment in March of 2008 was incorrect. “It is clear from the record that the ZBA misunderstood the status of the Bauchman property when it considered the use variance”. The order indicates that no business should be run out of that property and references the 1997 court order indicating that Mr. Bauchman is only allowed the storage of 3 commercial vehicles on the property. October 3, 2008 Superior Court Order Eagle Tribune: Windham residents applaud ruling against tow company operator
- July – The Supreme Court upholds the Superior Court Decision of 2008 in favor of Marc Sneider and the neighbors. July 31, 2009 Supreme Court Ruling
- September – Attorney Clark (counsel for Marc Sneider and the neighbors) contacts Attorney Campbell (counsel for the Town of Windham) asking that his client be kept in the loop regarding any movement in the Bauchman issue.
- October – Attorney Campbell (counsel for the Town of Windham) indicates verbally to Attorney Clark (counsel for Marc Sneider and the neighbors) that a purchase and sales agreement has been entered into by Mr. Bauchman with a December closing date.
- October – Attorney Cronin (counsel for Mr. Bauchman) indicates to the Town of Windham that a closing date of March 31 2010 is the closing date indicated in the purchase and sales for 2 Enterprise Drive in Londonderry. We are never notified of this change.
- October – Laura Scott agrees to give Mr. Bauchman until March 31, 2010 in order for him to get the necessary approvals for his property in Londonderry. We are never notified of this change.
- November – A handful of Windham residents call into the Windham Community Development Department and learn that the Town has entered into a verbal agreement with Mr. Bauchman which will allow him to run his illegally operated business at 120 Haverhill Road until March 31st. The reason Laura Scott gives for this date is that there is no reason for the town to enforce the court order because Mr. Bauchman is moving his business to Londonderry anyway.
- November 22 – Twenty one Windham residents sign a complaint letter to Laura Scott the Community Development Director and acting code enforcement officer for the Bauchman property. November 22, 2009 Complaint
- November 23 – Letter of complaint is brought to the attention of the Board of Selectmen by Windham resident Heath Partington. It is indicated that this would need to be discussed in non-public as it pertains to an ongoing legal issue. Some board members disagree. (Minutes not yet available) November 23, 2009 BOS Video (5 Minutes)
- November 30 – Laura Scott learns that a plan has not been filed for 2 Enterprise Drive with the Londonderry Community Development Department to date and that according to the Londonderry Planning Department it would take a minimum of 6 months and up to a year for a site plan review to occur once a plan is filed.
- November 30 – The Board of Selectmen meet in a non-public session after a brief public discussion regarding putting the item on the next meeting’s agenda. November 30, 2009 BOS Minutes November 30, 2009 BOS Video (4 Minutes) Eagle Tribune: Windham residents fight towing company
- December 7 - A signed agreement (signed by Mr. Bauchman and Laura Scott) is presented to the Board of Selectmen by Laura Scott. Some members of the board question the content of this agreement and indicate a want for it to be amended. December 7, 2009 BOS Minutes December 7, 2009 BOS Video (70 Minutes) Eagle Tribune: Harsher action wanted against Windham firm What is wrong with this agreement?
- December 14 – Town of Windham counsel (Attorney Campbell) briefs the public on the status of the case at the Board of Selectmen meeting. He indicates that he has recommended to the Board of Selectmen that Laura Scott’s signed agreement with Mr. Bauchman of December 7th not be rescinded or amended. None of the board members offer additional information to address the repeated complaints of Windham’s residents. Board of Selectmen chairman Galen Stearns refuses to allow any public input. When asked why he isn’t allowing public input on an agenda item he tells the residents “this is my meeting”. December 14, 2009 BOS Minutes December 14, 2009 BOS Video (17 Minutes)
- December 18 – Marc Sneider and the neighbors file another suit with Superior Court against the Town of Windham. The Objection alleges that the agreement (filed with the courts as a Stipulation) “contravenes the law and decisions of the court” and should be “declared null and void”.
- January 26 – Marc Sneider and the neighbors are granted intervenor status in the enforcement Superior Court case between Town of Windham and Mr. Bauchman.
- January 26 – Marc Sneider and the neighbors appeal the administrative decision of Laura Scott and the agreement dated December 7, 2009 to the Windham ZBA. The Windham ZBA votes to deny the appeal. January 26, 2010 ZBA Minutes January 26, 2010 ZBA Video
- January 29 – Nothing has been filed with the Londonderry Community Development Department for 2 Enterprise Drive.
- February 16 – Superior Court judge refuses to make the December, 7, 2009 agreement an order of the court which would have closed the enforcement court case. The judge won’t hear the open case until a request for rehearing is heard by the Windham ZBA regarding their January 26, 2010 decision.
- February 17 – Eagle Tribune: Windham neighborhood group ready to sue town