Historical Society to host farmer's market at Rowe House

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday night to give a permit to the Thompson-Ames Historical Society to operate a farmer's market at the Historic 1838 Benjamin Rowe House on Saturday mornings this summer.

Lancia said all of the proceeds will be designated to the Rowe House to finish repairs that are being done to the exterior of the historic building.

She said the Rowe House has received an Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grant for $26,999 for repairs to the building that include some repointing, roof and chimney work.

Lancia said the second phase of the project will be to renovate the ell of the Rowe House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Rowe House is located adjacent to the Elementary School on Belknap Mountain Road.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a vendor at the farmer market is encouraged to e-mail or call Lancia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 293-2877.

GHS principal will move over to GMS next year

GILFORD — The School Board approved moving High School Principal Peter Sawyer to take over as the Middle School principal beginning on July 1.

Two people who attended last night's reorganization meeting said Sawyer said his heart has always been with the middle school-aged children and he was pleased to take over in that building.

Sawyer replaces Sydney Leggett who resigned to form a private education corporation with William "Bill" Lander, the current superintendent at the Alton Central School.

Superintendent Kent Hemingway also said eventually his suggestion is to take the middle school vice principal position and made it a dual position that performs similar jobs at both the elementary and middle school. He said he was making his recommendations because of declining enrollments.

What was not made public is how the district will fill the high school principal position that will be vacated by Sawyer in July.

In other business, the board elected Karen Thurston as chairman, Rae-Mello Andrews as vice chairman and Jack Landau as clerk.

Belmont voters said 'no' so fire department will keep old ladder truck in service

BELMONT — After voters rejected the purchase of a used ladder truck at Tuesday's annual balloting, Deputy Fire Chief Sean McCarthy said the department would have to make do with their existing one.

A warrant article asking voters to raise and appropriate $300,000 with offsetting revenue from the Fire/Ambulance Special Revenue Account was defeated in an election that saw a majority of some 600 Belmont voters reject a number of warrant ariticles.

"We've just got to make (this truck) work," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the existing ladder truck is a 1988 and was purchased by Belmont Fire and Rescue in 2008 for $250,000. In previous selectman's meetings, Fire Chief David Parenti said a made-to-order new ladder truck can cost between $1 and 1.5-million and take eight to 11 months to build and deliver.

Right now he said the current truck is in service but has often been out-of-service for repairs. At this time, the pump is not working but he said firefighters have been able to use an external pump.

McCarthy said the department was avoiding spending too much money on repairs until after the March 10 vote.

He said it is due for a ladder check-up as well as a few other things that need to pass an inspection.

The Ambulance/Fire Special Revenue Account — or Comstar Account — was established pursuant to a state law created in 1994 that allowed communities to take the money from ambulance run revenue and put it in a special equipment account traditionally used as a way to gradually save money for large purchases like firetrucks and ambulances.

In Belmont the account is labeled Comstar because that is the name of the company that is hired to perform all of the ambulance billings.

Using an account like Comstar, say its proponents, means the town doesn't have to create capital reserve funds for large fire vehicle purposes or see wild swings in the municipal budget when they have to be replaced.
Detractors say the ambulance run money, much of paid through insurance carriers, would normally go into the general revenue account of the town and be appropriated as voters see fit.


2 petitions, somehow lost in the shuffle, should have required 2/3 vote to approved remove Gilmanton properties from Historic District

GILMANTON — It appears that even though a majority of Gilmanton voters agreed that two property owners in the Historic District could leave its jurisdiction, they will remain included — at least until issues surrounding a protest petition filed by three other residents is resolved.

George Roberts, who claims to own at least 20 percent of the property in the Gilmanton Meetinghouse Historic District and is a direct abutter of Craig Gardner, who wants to leave, filed what is called a protest petition with the town back in January.

Under the provisions of N.H. RSA 675:5, Roberts had the right to require a 2/3 majority vote because he owns more than 20 percent of the district.

Roland Huber's neighbors, Brenda Mosser and Karen Acton, also claim to own more than 20 percent of the land filed and have filed the same petition against him. His other neighbor, Mustafa El Sharif wrote a letter to selectmen supporting their protest.

The Gardner and Huber petitions were supported by a majority of the nearly 900 votes cast on Tuesday but, but neither reached anywhere near the  66.6 percent threshold.

It is unclear what happens next.

Gardner wanted his property out of the district because he built a fence made from vinyl off of the side of his garage that is 6-feet tall. His home was built in 1977 and has vinyl windows and doors. The Historic District Commission objected.

Huber wants to leave the district because he is trying to fix up a home that has been in his wife's family for 150 years and is using or trying to use materials, like vinyl, that the Historic District Commission says are inconsistent with the time period they are trying to preserve.

Huber, who lives on disability income, said he cannot afford to fix up his house using wooden materials that often cost two or three times as contemporary products. He also said newer products are more energy efficient.

Voters narrowly agreed with Gardner and Huber giving them each about 51 percent of the vote.

According to members of the Historic Commission and Roberts, one of the biggest issues is that neither homeowner came to them with their intentions beforehand and both knew their property was in the Historic District and the rules applied to all houses in it — including permission to do any construction on the outside of the home.

According to copies of the protest petitions sent to The Daily Sun yesterday, both were filed in a timely manner.

The law says any protest petitions must be filed within seven days of the "opening of town meeting".

While it appears RSA 675:5 has not been updated since the passage of SB-2 (the Official Ballot Act) the protest petitions were received 11 days before the Deliberative Session of Town Meeting that was held on January 31 and well before voting day last Tuesday.

The provisions of the law requires the town moderator to announce at the opening of town meeting and that the moderator post the protest petitions at the polling place.

Town Clerk Debra Cornett said she just learned about the petitions yesterday and that Moderator Mark Sisti didn't know about them when he opened both the deliberative session and the polls without any mention of them.

Two of three selectmen said the petitions were included in package presented to them at one of their late January meetings. Both confirmed Town Administrator Arthur Capello said in an open meeting that the petitions were forwarded to the town attorney, who advised not to do anything with them because the town was "all set".