NH campground continues long-term residency after court rejects city's complaint
DOVER — A Rochester campground can continue offering long-term residency after a Stafford County Superior Court judge rejected the city's complaint against the owners.
Amazon Park owners John and Debra Weeden filed suit against the City of Rochester in August 2015 after city officials initiated an investigation into Amazon Park. According to court documents, City's Code Compliance Officer Sheldon Perkins issued a written notice of violations to the Weedens, one which claimed the Weedens were unlawfully permitting occupants to maintain permanent residency at the park.
Weedens' attorney Carl W. Potvin said the park received written approval from the city in 1984 to be opened on a year-round basis.
Superior Court Judge Mark Howard ruled that Amazon Park's existing use is permitted under the original city approvals, approving the use of long-term occupancy.
"The court finds and rules that the city is barred by the doctrine of laches from asserting its claim of an unapproved use, and is precluded from preventing Amazon Park from operating in the manner that it does today," according to documents.
Potvin said the city supported the park being open year-round for 30 years and is unsure what sparked the city's complaint against the owners.
"I believe some people in the city government are misguided on the facts and the law and the history of the park," Potvin said.
Amazon Park is a 53-acre campground located on 105 Whitehouse Road in Rochester containing 95 sites that are hooked up to water, electric and sewer utility services. The Weedens own 84 park motor trailers and rent them to occupants, according to court documents. Occupants pay on a month-to-month basis, generally with no written leases, and some people have stayed for many years John Weeden testified. He described the typical tenant as poor or indigent.
Similar incidents regarding long-term stay at campgrounds in New Hampshire have previously occurred in Epsom and Henniker.
One man, who went by "Muskrat," lived at Circle 9 Ranch in Epsom for nearly a decade before being evicted after the town determined him and others were living at the campground illegally.