Rite-Aid developer states crosswalk agreement with Meredith will stipulate company picks up all costs

MEREDITH — The Board of Selectman and Newlands Development Holdings, the developer of the Rite-Aid drugstore on Route 25, yesterday stepped closer to an agreement to ensure that Newlands bears the costs associated with the pedestrian crossing on the highway that's included in the project.
Speaking at a workshop, Ken Linesman, representing the developer, told the board that the aim of the draft agreement is to "make sure sure it is down right and we pay for it."
To address the safety issue, the plan includes extending the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit further eastward and installing an elaborate signaled crosswalk. Two beacons will be placed on Route 25, one at the crosswalk near the shared entrance to the Rite-Aid drugstore and the Irving travel plaza and another 400 feet up the hill to the east. When a pedestrian seeking to cross Route 25 presses the button to activate the beacon at the crosswalk, both beacons will flash yellow for four seconds then turn yellow for six seconds, warning oncoming vehicles before turning red to stop traffic and signaling "walk" to pedestrians.
The crosswalk, signals and sidewalks will be installed within the state right-of-way and on town property and owned by the state and the town. Consequently, because the developer will own neither the land nor the equipment, it cannot indemnify the town against liability. Town Manager Phil Warren remarked that if an accident occurred at the crossing, everyone — the state, town and Rite-Aid as well as the manufacturer of the equipment and the firm that painted the crosswalk — would be sued, rendering the liability issue moot.
The agreement provides that the developer will pay the costs of operating, maintaining and inspecting the traffic signals as well as painting the crosswalk. The town would forward invoices, along with an administrative fee, to the developer for reimbursement. Selectman Peter Brothers noted that since the town would be compelled to respond in the event of an emergency, the agreement includes a mechanism for reimbursement for unforeseen costs. The agreement will run with the use of the property and represent a liability to a new owner in the even the property is sold.
With the extension of water service, the agreement provides that Rite-Aid can draw up to 770 gallons a day, most of it apparently for irrigation, which is billed at a higher rate. Brothers suggested that the cost may prompt Rite-Aid to consider sinking a well on the site.
NOTES: Nate Torr, who was re-elected to his second term on the Board of Selectmen last week, was unanimously chosen to chair the board in 2013. Carla Horne, who is serving the second year of her three-year term was elected vice-chair. . . . . . Town Manager Phil Warren said told the selectmen that he has applied to the New Hampshire Conservation License Plate — "Moose Plate" — Program for funding to repair the brickwork at the Meredith Public Library. The program, funded by the proceeds from the sale of license plates, distributed nearly $300,000 in grants to preserve and protect natural, cultural and historic resources in 2013. . . . . . . The Selectboard accepted $3,458.74 raised by the "Turn Up the Heat Program" for distribution to those in need of assistance in meeting their heating costs. . . . . . . Warren said that the town is seeking to fill vacancies on the planning board, zoning board of adjustment, energy committee, village pathways committee and trustees of the trust fund and urged anyone with interest in any of the openings to contact him at 677-4205.