A Concord zoning board meeting escalated into police involvement">

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Zoning meeting about pigs in Penacook draws police involvement

Screenshot via ConcordTV

Screenshot via ConcordTV

A Concord zoning board meeting escalated into police involvement Wednesday night after a Penacook couple was denied a variance to raise pigs on their property.

Kelly and Jacqueline Brochu began raising two pigs on their Abbott Road property this spring. The city then received an anonymous complaint about the pigs, said Zoning Administrator Craig Walker, and the Brochus had to appear before the zoning board to continue raising their pigs.

After their request was unanimously rejected Wednesday night, Kelly Brochu began to shout at the zoning board members in the city council chambers.

“I’m keeping them,” he said. “I don’t give a s--t what you’ve got to say. I don’t even know who the hell you are. I don’t care. You have no idea.”

Brochu and others in the room continued to shout. Nicholas Wallner, who was leading the meeting, said into the microphone that he had pressed the “panic button” to contact the police.

Police Chief John Duval said residents “screaming for help” entered the police department lobby next door at roughly the same time.

“They were concerned about potential issues in the area of Abbott Road subsequent to the hearing,” Duval said. “The case was opened, and we are currently looking at it to determine what happened and if any crimes were committed.”

Jacqueline Brochu said yesterday the two pigs will be slaughtered by the end of the month to comply with the zoning board decision.

“But as of the meeting, I have nothing to say about that to be honest,” she said. “We were just denied, we weren’t happy about it and that was it.”

The heated exchange between the Brochus and the zoning board came after a calm public hearing, during which several neighbors testified about the Brochus’ pigs. Most of them were in favor of granting a zoning variance and said the pigs did not bother them.

Scroll to 1:08:00 on the video provided by ConcordTV above to see the exchange.

The Brochus own nearly an acre on Abbott Road in Penacook. They told the board they purchased the pigs this spring to provide meat during the winter months, when they may not have much money for food. They hoped to purchase two pigs each spring to butcher in the fall when they weigh more than 200 pounds.

“They’re a working-class family and the pigs will help them,” Keith Thibeault of Snow Street told the zoning board. “I didn’t even know he had pigs in there until he said, ‘By the way, we have pigs in there.’ ”

Several other neighbors said they have never smelled the pigs, and an additional six neighbors sent letters to the zoning board in support of the Brochus. Kelly Brochu told the board he cleans the pigs every day. The pigs have escaped a few times this summer, he said, but he apologized to the neighbors. He said they are kept in a gated area behind an electric fence and rarely make squealing noises.

But three women who live closer to the pigs than some of the other neighbors said they are troubled by the pigs’ smell. Natalie Friedenthal of Bean Street said she felt uncomfortable disagreeing with her neighbors, but lives only 90 feet from the pigs.

“I open my door out and it goes straight out to the pig area and this is when I smell pigs: anytime it rains; anytime it’s moist in the morning; anytime there’s dew on the ground; anytime it’s moist at nighttime,” she said. “When I’m sleeping in my bedroom with the fans on and the windows open, I smell pigs in my bedroom about twice a week.”

Sally Salmon of Hobart Street said she has not been able to enjoy her yard this summer.

“The smell is truly awful,” she told the zoning board. “I have gotten up out of the swimming pool many times this summer and said, ‘I can’t take it, I have to go in.’ ”

After the public hearing, zoning board members voiced concern about granting a variance.

“I can sympathize certainly with the folks, but I think it’s opening up a pretty big exception,” said board member David Parker.

Walker, the zoning administrator, said swine are only permitted in residential open space zoning districts under the city’s zoning ordinance, with a minimum lot size of 2 acres. The property in question is zoned for single-family residential use.

Immediately after Wallner announced that the variance was denied, Kelly Brochu moved to the front of the room and began shouting. Wallner declined to comment yesterday about the meeting or his use of the panic button.

The police cannot name anyone involved in the police investigation while it is ongoing, Duval said.

Walker said it’s the first time he has seen an alarm used during a zoning board meeting.

“We generally have very calm meetings,” he said.

A video of the meeting recorded by Concord TV is available online at yourconcordtv.org.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or
lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Legacy Comments12

They knew, or should have known the rules up front: " "Walker, the zoning administrator, said swine are only permitted in residential open space zoning districts under the city’s zoning ordinance, with a minimum lot size of 2 acres. The property in question is zoned for single-family residential use." & " Natalie Friedenthal of Bean Street said she felt uncomfortable disagreeing with her neighbors, but lives only 90 feet from the pigs. . . . " So with an acre about the size of a football field of take away the 30 yards on each end to be 91% of an acre, http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/big-acre.html thus: 300 feet long by 160 feet wide = about an acre, then what? the Brochu's have the pigs along Natalie's border? of within #___ feet of it, of what x% of the 90 feet is on her land? half? Of thus if a rectangle sized acre then what? 160 feet MORE needed as buffer not there, right? Plus in the wrong zone anyway.

The only thing worse than anonymous posts are spineless low life's that called in the anonymous complaint. Geoff Carson

Thank God for Homeland Security! One Bearcat will wipe out two pigs in nothing flat.

This situation is beyond sad. The Brochus were raising two pigs, not twenty pigs for food to feed their family. Are they at the soup kitchen, looking for a handout? No! Taking care of their business doing the best they can. Times are tough for many folks and raising their own meat for winter I have no problem with. The City is allowing chickens and they smell worse. No doubt the complainers are flat landers who never lived on a farm and don't have a clue. I am so sorry Mr. Brochu was pushed to the limit, but I sure understand. All is not lost Mr. Brochu, lots of turkeys and deer out there and hunting season is coming.


You are a person so full of hate for Democrats that anything you say should only be taken as ranting and raving.

So chickens are okay zoning wise but pigs are not? I understand the neighbors not wanting the smell. That applies to chickens by the way. But if your going to allow folks to have chickens, it seems to me you opened the door for folks to raise any animal they want to eat. I am sure Miss Piggy is happy with the ruling.

I thought by the title they were talking about democrats

I wonder if such comments will cease when the Monitor bans screen names and mandates real names?

Dan - I've got an idea. How about a contest for everyone who comments on the board to see who can do the best parody of a Sail comment? We could do something like, well, you know," blah, blah, blah blah democrats, blah, blah, blah, socialists, blah, blah, liberals . . . " and then tag it with #channelingsail so everyone would know what it is. Then everyone could vote to pick a winner. It could be fun. What do you think?

I tried but my crayon font didn't post properly. And don't forget the ever present " How's that ......... thingy going."

I think you're a Kenyan-born, Muslim terrorist, pinky-ring union thug, progressive - THAT'S WHAT! #channelingsail

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