Senior housing OKed in Sanbornton


SANBORNTON — An amendment to the zoning ordinance providing for the development of housing restricted to senior citizens carried by the thin margin of 10 votes, with 237 in favor and 227 against.

The vote is the latest chapter in a saga stretching over more than a decade. In 2005, after two proposed senior housing projects foundered, voters repealed the ordinance permitting them on the recommendation of the Planning Board and in 2013 scuttled a petitioned warrant article to convene a committee to draft a new senior housing ordinance. This year the Planning Board, chaired by Evelyn Auger, proposed restoring the opportunity to construct senior housing to the zoning ordinance.

As adopted, the ordinance would restrict the occupancy of family units to households headed by a person at least 62 years old. Senior housing projects would be confined to within a 3-mile radius of the intersection of Sanborn Road (NH Route 132) and Currier Road. Within a 2-mile radius, three buildings, each with four dwelling units of not more than two bedrooms, would be permitted per acre. Between the 2-mile radius and the 3-mile radius, one building of four dwelling units would be permitted per acre. A lot of at least 5 acres would be required for a senior housing project. Senior housing would be prohibited elsewhere in the town and the number of dwelling units for seniors would be limited to not more than 10 percent of the total number of dwelling units in the town.

The ordinance stipulates that the design of senior housing developments must "promote the rural character of the town, maximize the privacy of the dwelling units, preserve the natural character of the land to the greatest degree, and consider factors such as orientation, energy usage and views."
In recommending the proposal the Planning Board noted that the Master Plan states that "the primary unmet housing need which currently exists in Sanbornton is the need for senior housing."

Change of guard in Gilmanton - McWhinnie, Bishop elected selectmen


GILMANTON — Steve McWhinnie edged Don Guarino by a dozen votes, 513 to 501, and Marshall Bishop topped Brett Currier by 554 to 477 to claim the two seats on the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday's ballot.

McWhinnie was elected to a three-year term and Bishop to a one-year term. They will join incumbent Michael Jean on what promises to be a selectboard of three like-minded members.

Bishop, who served as a combat photographer in the United States Marine Corps and worked at the Department of Public Works in Gilford, tends a vineyard and operates the Gilmanton Winery and Restaurant with his wife, Sunny, at the former home of celebrated novelist Grace Metalious. A longtime resident of the town, McWhinnie , like Bishop served in the Marine Corps before owning and operating a heating and air conditioning business. He now describes himself as semi-retired and enjoying the company of his donkey.

Guarino said yesterday that he has not decided whether or not to request a recount while noting that little more than a handful of votes would have to change hands to reverse the result.

"I was disappointed when saw the results for the selectmen," he said, "and became more disappointed by the vote not to not to ban biosolids, and was really disappointed by the vote not to replace a police cruiser."

Two petitioned warrant articles bearing on conflicts of interests, which together represented a subtext of the dissension among the selectmen and division within the town following the resignation of Steve McCormack and the appointment of Rachel Hatch to replace him, carried by comfortable margins.

The first prohibits anyone from serving on either the Board of Selectmen or the Budget Committee while a member of their immediate family or household was head of a department in the town. This article was aimed at Currier, whose son Matt serves as the Police Chief in Gilmanton. The article passed by a vote of 580 in favor and 437 against.

The second prohibits employees of both the town and the school district from serving as a member of either the selectboard or the Budget Committee. This article was aimed at Hatch, whose appointment to succeed McCormack sparked controversy. The article carried by a vote of 575 to 441.

Bond for new Ashland library falls short

ASHLAND — A petitioned warrant article calling for a $775,000 bond issue to purchase the former Ashland Elementary School from the Tri-County Community Action Program and turn it into a new town library lost overwhelmingly in Tuesday's ballot voting.
Needing 260 votes to pass, warrant Article 4, which had been proposed by trustees of the town library, failed to even obtain a majority as it was on the short end of a 271-162 vote. A 60 percent vote was required for passage.
Also failing to pass, even though it obtained a 230-201 majority, was a proposal to purchase a $485,000 fire engine\pumper by appropriating $125,000 and making annual payments of $79,078 over the next five years. The article fell 29 votes short of the 259 required for passage.
Voters also rejected by a 202-205 vote an article which called for appropriating $25,000 for a town library building fund.
There were no contested races on the town ballot. Harold Lamos (210) survived a write-in challenge from former selectman Jeanette Stewart (176) to win a three-year term as selectman.

– Roger Amsden