Wednesday December 19, 2012

HINSDALE, N.H. -- A local man’s effort to open an off-track betting parlor in town is having trouble getting out of the starting gate.

Michael Bentley, a Keene-based attorney, threw a monkey wrench into William Faucher’s plans to establish an off-track betting site -- or OTB -- during Tuesday’s Hinsdale Planning Board meeting when he mentioned gambling or waging is prohibited on the land Faucher has acquired. Bentley, of Lane & Bentley, said he represents Hinsdale Real Estate Development, LLC, which owns of the former racetrack property and hopes to redevelop it in the future.

The Hinsdale Greyhound Race Track closed in 2008. An OTB is a facility that enables sanctioned gambling on horse and greyhound races broadcast on televisions.

"If you turn the clock back 14 years or so, the land where this lot is located used to be owned by the racetrack and the racetrack subdivided it for 10 lots or so, give or take," Bentley told the planning board. "This is one of those lots."

Faucher has submitted an application to start an OTB in the Roadside Commercial District on Brattleboro Road, but Bentley said the deed forbids it.

Bentley said he didn’t mean "to rain on Faucher’s parade" but wanted everyone to know about the restriction. He said he also knows the board does not have jurisdiction to resolve a private dispute.


Advertisement

Board members, who appeared baffled by the information, voted to table the matter until all legal matters have been hashed out.

Bentley told the Reformer the next course of action is up to Faucher and that it is possible to work out a solution.

"We’re reasonable people," he said. "Neither he nor his representatives have contacted me yet so we’ll see what happens. We’re not looking for a fight."

Chris Lord, Faucher’s nephew, was representing his uncle at Tuesday’s meeting. He mentioned Faucher is in Florida for the winter. He said what Bentley had to say was news to him and he said he was going to contact his uncle immediately.

He attended the meeting to take part in a public hearing about the OTB and was present to answer questions from the planning board.

Prior to the discussion being tabled, Lord said bets would be able to be placed in person or over the phone and will be taken just like they were at the Hinsdale track, except the races would take place off-site.

Lord said there are three signs on the property and Mike Darcy, the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen’s liaison to the planning board, said the town ordinance allows only two so one would have to be removed.

Lord said the signs were already on the property and asked if the ordinance has changed since the building was constructed. He was told it had and said he was unaware of that when he filed the application for the signs.

He told the board the plan is for the OTB to operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., or noon midnight -- depending on the race schedule of each individual day -- every day of the week. Board Chairman Bill Nebelski informed him that information will have to be on the site review plan.

He said the plan is to open in four or five months and employ five or six people to start.

Lord said Faucher hopes to attract 50 to 60 individuals a day, including some people who shop at the Walmart Supercenter across the street. Lord said there is not yet a plan to serve food, though there might be eventually.

In other business: Darcy said discussion of an application to build a home and farm supply store in town was tabled because the applicant -- Tractor Supply Company -- requested more time.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.