EXETER — Issues related to municipal zoning dominated discussions during a joint work session and council meeting Tuesday night.
While the borough’s zoning board hearings formerly featured the legal guidance of attorney Samuel Falcone, future ones will instead be held with planning consultant Jack Varaly in Falcone’s role.
Falcone resigned from his position as zoning solicitor earlier this year. Officials say they don’t know what the reason for his departure.
Falcone could not be reached for comment after Tuesday evening’s meeting.
Councilman Larry Dellegrotto said lawyers are not needed at zoning hearings so long as a qualified consultant is present. A lawyer can be brought in for instances in which legal questions arise.
Three zoning hearings to be held tonight will be the first under the new organizational format.
The council also approved the hiring of Drums-based attorney Donald Karpowic to advise on zoning issues on an as-needed basis.
Karpowic has previous experience working in Exeter as he represented a group of residents known as Exeter First, who were opposed to the potential construction of a Wal-Mart within the borough.
Dellegrotto was a member of that group.
His hiring was approved 4-2 in the absence of Councilman Joseph Pizano.
Council members Dellegrotto, Joseph Esposito, Thomas Shannon and Richard Turner all voted in favor with Denise Adams and John Morgan voting against.
The two dissenting members both cited Karpowic’s involvement with Exeter First as their reason for voting no.
Dellegrotto dismissed their concerns by pointing out that Karpowic will be utilized only at the behest of Varaly in certain instances. Shannon noted that Karpowic may ultimately be one of several who could be possibly be used by Varaly for points of legal contention.
The next meeting for the council will be a work session on June 6 at 6:30 p.m. with the regular meeting immediately following.