BELMONT — Planning Board members on January 13 voted against supporting a petitioned warrant article that, if passed, at the upcoming annual town vote would create a Historic Demolition Review Ordinance.
The ordinance would call for a pre-demolition review of all properties built in 1965 or later by the review committee.
"The HDRC is responsible for only one thing," wrote lead petitioner Linda Frawley, "determining whether a building is historically significant, and if so, holding a hearing to review potential alternatives to demolition."
The Historic Review Committee, if created, "would be advisory only and would encourage people to look for an alternative to simple razing historical property.
Planning Board members who held a public hearing on the petitioned warrant article earlier this month, were not necessarily against some kind of historic review committee but wanted more time to evaluate the idea.
Frawley said she "rushed" around the day before the petition deadline to gather signatures for a petition that would cover the entire community and get it filed in time for consideration this year.
She said that there are a number of properties in Belmont that are not in the Village District — she gave the Providence Road Meeting House as an example — that bear preserving.
Selectman Jon Pike, who serves as the selectman's representative to the Planning Board, said he was concerned with the rights people have to their own property.
As an example, he gave an example of someone who purchased an old home that has a ell connection the house to the barn. He said his interpretation of the ordinance as proposed was that if someone wanted to remove the ell, the ensuing review processes could take as much as 120 days.
Frawley said "a small piece of property is not part of the ordinance" while Town Planner Candace Daigle said there would be a minimum size of a demolition or renovation that would be covered under the proposed ordinance.
Pike said he sees the benefit of some kine of historic demolition ordinance but wants better assurance that private property owners' interests are protected. He said he felt the time from when an application was made until the time a demolition order was granted was too lengthy.
"We are not unreasonable," said Frawley. "We don't like people to dislike history in Belmont."
She also said the proposed demolition ordinance is a "good faith effort" to follow though with the most recent Belmont Master Plan in which a number of citizens participated.
She said it is the first time they have tried it in nine years in Belmont and cited other communities who have similar ordinances such as Laconia, Amherst and Winchester.
She also said it was reviewed by the N.H. Division of Historical Resources. She their only recommendation was to lengthen the time of the review from 45 days to 90 but she thought it wouldn't be fair.
Planning Board Chair Peter Harris said he supports the Heritage Commission but didn't see how he could support creating a Historic Commission Review District at this time.
"We're so much in the dark," he said.
He also said the Planning Board hasn't had time to fully review the proposal. "With a little work, I can see this being a good thing," he said.
Three of the members, including Pike and Harris, said they also couldn't support it at this time. One member abstained.
Because the proposed ordinance has been placed as an article on the March warrant by petition, it cannot be changed or altered by the Planning Board or on the floor of the SB-2 deliberative session, scheduled for February 1 at 10 a.m. — a Saturday.
In addition, until the ballot portion of the town meeting takes place, all demolition permits of property older than 50 years are being held in abeyance until voters can weigh in on the article on voting day on March 11.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 01:09
LACONIA — The primary election for the Executive Council District 1 will be held today. There are three candidates on the Republican ballot — Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, Chistopher Boothby of Meredith and Joe Kenney of Wakefield — and one candidate on the Democratic ballot — Michael Cryans of Hanover.
The polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
City Clerk Mary Reynolds reminded voters that they will need to present photo identification at the polls. Voters with questions about where they cast their ballots can either turn to "elections" on the city clerk's page on the city website, where there is a link that will enable them to find their polling station or call the city clerk's office at 527-1265.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 01:03
LACONIA — Joe Kenney of Wakefield — the winner of Tuesday's Republican primary race for the District 1 Executive Council seat — will face the lone Democrat Michael Cryans of Hanover in the general election on March 11. Cryans was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Born and raised in Littleton, Cryans graduated from Springfield College and, after a spell teaching at Littleton High School, joined Littleton Savings Bank as a trainee and ultimately ended his career in banking as senior vice-president of Dartmouth Banking Company. He spent a decade self-employed, providing financial counseling to small businesses and working families. Since 2003 Cryans has served as director of Headrest, a substance abuse and recovery facility in Lebanon. A long distance runner, Cryans twice set the fastest time for a New Hampshire resident competing in the Boston Marathon.
For the past 18 years Cryans has served on the Grafton County Commission alongside the late Ray Burton, who held the Executive Council seat in District 1 continuously from 1981 until his passing last November. The two became close friends and colleagues and in 2012, Burton, a Republican, endorsed Cryans, a Democrat, for re-election to the Grafton County Commission.
"I'm not trying to fill Ray Burton's shoes," Cryans told officials of the State Employees Association. "I'm just trying to do the best I can. I don't know that anyone can be as accessible as Ray," he continued. "I have a phone, e-mail, but he was remarkable."
Cryans enjoys strong support from the New Hampshire Democratic Party, which with three of the five seats on the Executive Council considers his candidacy an opportunity to expand its majority to four-to-one. Last week he was endorsed by nine former state senators who represented parts of Executive Council 1, including two — Ralph Hough of Lebanon and Mark Hounsell of Conway — who after serving as Republicans became Democrats.
According to statements of receipts and expenditures filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State, Cryans has raised $50,152 from more than 300 donors, both the most of the four candidates in the field. Without a primary opponent, Cryans has spent $2,063 and has a balance of $48,089 in hand for the general election campaign, which begins in earnest tomorrow.
The general election will be held on March 11, town meeting day across New Hampshire.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 02:42
Boothby learned how to leverage seat on Executive Council to help constituents from the master, Burton
LACONIA — Although some consider the Executive Council, the first and last institution of its kind among the 50 states, the vestigial tail of the body politic, Christopher Boothby is among those for whom it is a vital organ of New Hampshire government, whose five members ensure that the executive departments and agencies remain responsive and accountable to the people.
Boothby, a Meredith resident, is among three Republicans vying to succeed his former mentor, Ray Burton who passed away in November after representing District 1 for 34 of the past 36 years. He will face Joe Kenney of Wakefield, who spent 14 years in the Legislature and was the GOP candidate for governor in 2008, and Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, a former congressional aide, in the primary election on Tuesday, January 21.
"This is my opportunity to give back," Boothby said of his candidacy during a recent interview at The Daily Sun. "I have the time, the resources and a supportive wife." Describing himself as "uniquely qualified," he noted that he served on the Belknap County Commission for 12 years, two of which he chaired the New Hampshire Association of Counties. With his wife Maren he owns and operates Boothby Therapy Services of Laconia, a firm with 45 full and part-time employees that provides occupational and speech therapy services to school districts. "I am prepared from a perspective of personal life experience, business experience and government experience," he said.
As one of many interns groomed by Burton, Boothby learned how executive councilors leverage their authority over appointments and contracts to serve their constituents. He recalled that Burton logged requests and complaints from constituents on three-by-five cards, which he always carried with him, and often had his interns address the issues with the appropriate state department or agency. "They would follow up because of Ray's leverage," he said.
Tailoring his message to Burton's legacy, Boothby casts himself as an advocate. "State government runs on money," he began, "and in order to get money, department heads have to get my vote and to get my vote I'm going to make sure they are responsive to constituents' needs. You're going to have to actually return my calls," he said. Boothby also learned that public service is about "showing up," adding that "they called Ray because he was someone who would follow up and get results. If I show up," he continued, "it means state government shows up as well."
Apart from constituent service, Boothby counts economic development as a top priority. "That means transportation issues, health care issues, work force skills and other education issues," all of which fall among the responsibilities of different executive departments and agencies. "Laconia is going to have to ride to the rescue of Laconia," he acknowledged, "but I can help by getting state government out of the way and working for the community, but I don't have a magic wand. As your advocate, I will help you find a way."
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Michael Cryans of Lebanon, a Grafton County Commissioner, in the general election on March 11, town meeting day.
Last Updated on Saturday, 18 January 2014 02:05
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