Second complaint filed against Norwich ZBA member

Norwich - A property owner who is suing the Zoning Board of Appeals for denying permits for a deck constructed without permits has filed an ethics complaint against a ZBA member alleging a conflict of interest.

It could become the second ethics complaint against ZBA member Raymond Dussault for allegedly having contact with a neighbor in the deck dispute outside the public hearing and official board process.

Ethics Commission member Ira Misenheimer already was preparing to file a complaint against Dussault on behalf of an anonymous ZBA member. The commission had planned to meet to discuss the complaint next Monday, but the meeting has been postponed to Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Property owner John Burgess of 74 Russell Road, Norwich, filed his ethics complaint Jan. 24 against Dussault. Initial ethics complaints are not open to the public, but Burgess provided a copy to The Day.

The Ethics Commission process calls for reviewing complaints behind closed doors and then voting in open session whether to find the complaint worthy of a full investigation, which would be done in public session.

Burgess claimed that Dussault had discussions about the deck and other issues on the property with a neighbor outside the hearing process. He also alleged that Dussault came to his house three hours before the ZBA hearing and stayed for about 10 minutes, while Dussault had claimed during the hearing that he was there for 35 to 45 minutes.

"His immediate negative reaction in terms of deliberation was not based on pertinent information having to do with the appeal being heard," the complaint stated.

Dussault said Monday he has not yet received the complaint and declined to comment.

c.bessette@theday.com

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