Letter: On counseling center, right outcome, wrong rationale

The special zoning exception for RTT Associates should have been revoked for reasons other than those cited by Concord Zoning Administrator Craig Walker.

In its application for the special exception RTT did not adequately disclose that it does sex-offender counseling. Neighbors were not offered the opportunity to comment on that issue. Some testimony might have raised the issue of the industry’s own standards (discouraging location in a residential area) which Councilor Amanda Grady Sexton raised in her column (“Counseling center wrong for the neighborhood,” Monitor Opinion page, Aug. 27). Lack of disclosure combined with failure to apply in a timely fashion provides adequate grounds for revocation.

The zoning board should, however, exercise its power to review Walker’s order. It sets a very bad precedent because it entirely ignores concepts of evidence and standards against which evidence should be evaluated. Walker finds the location not “appropriate” and not “within the spirit of the ordinance” on the basis of no evidence at all.

Walker merely asserts that a client (un-named) of RTT committed a home invasion and sexual assault in violation of the “safety” provision. He cites no source. For all we know, the charged perpetrator was there for tobacco cessation. Walker does not evaluate the evidence against any standard for determining the connection of the incident to the exception.

Any holder of a special exception should be concerned that its exception could be revoked on the same arbitrary grounds. As a matter of equity. I wonder if Walker would make the same judgment against a more popular organization if the same facts were to occur.

FRED GRAF, Concord, NH

For the Monitor

Monday, September 2, 2013