Court Affirms Calculation of Appeal Deadlines

Richard Pelletier v. City of Manchester
Richard Pelletier v. City of Manchester
No. 2003-554
Friday, March 26, 2004

In this case the Supreme Court affirmed that the computation of time for filing an appeal of a Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) decision is governed by RSA 677:2. The Court also affirmed that in order to retain the right to appeal any issue at the superior court, an applicant must first move for rehearing at the ZBA on each issue it wishes to preserve.

The applicant in this case sought a variance to make improvements to a multi-family dwelling in Manchester. The ZBA denied the application on a procedural ground on December 5. The applicant filed a motion for rehearing on December 30 that was granted. On February 6 the Manchester ZBA heard, and again denied, the application for variance. In this instance the denial was based on the merits of the application. The applicant filed a request for rehearing of the second denial on March 10. This request was denied as untimely.

On appeal the applicant argued that the request for rehearing was not untimely. He asserted that the 30 day time period for filing should be counted according to RSA 21:35, which would exclude the day on which the ZBA denied the application. The city argued, and the Court agreed, that the applicant’s method of time calculation was flawed. The Court acknowledged that RSA 21:35 specifically states that that particular computation method does not apply if another statute provides a contrary computation method. RSA 677:2 relative to the filing of motions for rehearing does specifically provide that the “30-day time period shall be counted in calendar days beginning with the date upon which the board voted to approve or disapprove the application.” Thus, the date of the ZBA’s decision should be excluded and the motion denied as untimely.