BELMONT — A group of citizens has petitioned a warrant article on to the March 2014 SB-2 ballot that would create and adopt a Historic Demolition Review Ordinance.
The ordinance, if passed, would create a review committee that would be comprised of at least three members of the Heritage Commission.
Any proposed demolition of a building that is older than 50 and is visible from an adjacent public land or is listed or is eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places or the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places would have to be reviewed by this committee but the committee would not have to legal power to stop it.
Twenty-six people signed the petition and the Office of the Town Clerk Tax Collector has verified them. The petition was filed with the town on Dec. 11.
Linda Frawley of the Heritage Commission said the idea of an ordinance has been in the minds of members of the commission for at least a year but it was only in autumn of this year when the commission approached the Planning Department and asked them to craft an ordinance that could go on the annual town meeting warrant.
She said the Heritage Commission hasn't weighed in on this specific petitioned warrant article but said three of the seven members signed the petition — including herself. The other two are Alice Jewell and Priscilla Annis.
She said the initial draft of the ordinance was generated by the Planning Department after a lengthy discussion with commission member Wallace Rhodes and it included buildings throughout the entire town.
"That was much greater than we wanted," Frawley said yesterday.
Frawley said she rewrote the proposed ordinance to restrict it to the Factory Village Historical District.
In her opinion, the ordinance would apply to all buildings, including those owned by the local government.
Town Planner Candace Daigle said the Factory Village Historical District exists but at this time it is not a regulatory district — meaning there are no specific planning or zoning ordinance that apply to it and it alone. She said it was designated as an official district two years ago as a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District.
Daigle also said that town-owned property is not subjected to planning and zoning ordinances because Belmont voters have not officially voted to include all municipal property as subject to planning and zoning regulation.
"We do try to adhere, though, " Daigle said.
When Frawley was asked how this ordinance would specifically address the Gale School, she said she didn't know but allowed the school is in the Factory Village Historic District, which she said was designated in 2002 or 2003.
Frawley said that as of yesterday, the submitted version of the proposed ordinance has not been vetted by the town attorney.
Daigle said that while original Planning Department's draft was reviewed by counsel, the petitioned version was still undergoing a review.
Daigle said there would be only one public hearing on the petitioned article and the earliest it could be held is January 13, 2014.. She said that no changes can be made to a petitioned warrant article by any government agency or at the annual deliberative session.
She said the Planning Board will make a recommendation but only after the public hearing.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 01:51
BELMONT — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to accept a letter of interest from Winnisquam Marine to purchase the former Winnisquam Fire Station for $240,000.
The "expression of interest"from the marina is $5,000 more than the assessed value would be if the town didn't own it.
The old firehouse is directly across Sunset Drive from the marina.
Winnisquam Marine was the only entity to make an expression of interest. The actions of selectmen last night mean that the "expression" can legally be put on the town warrant at Annual Town meeting.
Selectmen haven't crafted the actual wording of the warrant article but last night unanimously, but informally, agreed they would like the money, should town voters accept the offer, to be put into the Building Maintenance Capital Reserve account.
Marina president Ed Crawford said in his written offer that the three garage bays would be used for servicing boats. He said that Winnisquam Marine works on boats year-round and the three additional bays would be perfect for his operation.
He described his business as environmentally sensitive and quiet. An added benefit, he said, would be to ease some of the parking problems created in the summer by his marina.
In October, selectmen voted to lease the station to the marina for storage. The marina has plowed and kept up the surrounding parking lot. Crawford said his company has always worked well with the Belmont Fire Department and had made various donations to what was once an all-volunteer department.
The building has not been used as a fire station, except for storage and for occasionally responding to the lake with the fire boat, for the seven years since the former Winnisquam Fire District disbanded. Repeated attempts by elected officials in the towns of Tilton and Sanbornton to put the station back into service have failed. About five years ago, the Department of Parks and Recreation took over one half of the building.
Earlier this year, a town study performed on all municipal buildings concluded that the building was in too much disrepair for use as a fire station. In November, the Belmont Department of Parks and Recreation relocated from their half of the building to the second floor of the Belmont Mill into a space once used as a classroom and vacated in 2012 by the Lakes Region Community College Culinary Program.
The meeting hall, said Crawford, would be used for administration, merchandise and parts which would free some space at the existing marina now used for sales and a showroom. The second floor would be used for records storage.
Crawford said he would power wash and paint the exterior and do some landscaping around the building. He provided selectmen with a contractors estimate for $71,000 from a local contractor to do some immediate repairs and expects to spend more on the building as his marina expands.
This is the second major marine purchase and third large property purchase made recently by Crawford. He also purchased the former Adams Marina in Tilton for $750,000 in 2012 and in 2004 he bought the former Sarge's County Store property, also in Tilton, for $400,000.
Selectmen noted last night that Crawford was the only entity who offered an expression of interest in the building when the town advertised it.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 01:38
by Thomas P. Caldwell
PLYMOUTH — Those who knew the late Raymond S. Burton gathered on Dec. 14 at Plymouth State University in remembrance of the District 1 Executive Councilor who served the North Country for 35 years, celebrating the legacy of "a true public servant". Many of those attending were current and former elected officials who had worked with Burton.
"Hey, I'm doing what I love and loving what I do, every day," said Sen. Lou D'Allesandro of Manchester of Burton's attitude toward his job. "He loved serving the people and making a difference."
Burton's unrelenting efforts to get officials in Concord to "look north, look north," were as much a part of his legacy as his trademark "Burton For Certain" buttons and combs which he handed out to everyone he met, along with potholders that said, "No issue is too hot for Ray Burton". Remarking on their shared claim of being the longest-serving officials in their respective roles, former Gov. John Lynch said he and Burton had spent 1,040 hours together in Governor and Council meetings alone, not to mention the many committee meetings and other duties they shared. Saying he got to know Burton very well as they covered some 62,400 agenda items, Lynch said, "No doubt, he's with the Lord now, urging Him to look north, look north."
Many of the speakers had similar tales of Burton's persistence in promoting the interests of North Country residents. "He served the people, not the other way around," Lynch said.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen recounted that, when she won election as governor, she received a congratulatory call from Burton who then immediately got on to the purpose of his call: to ask her to tour the North Country.
During her remarks at the beginning of the service, PSU President Sara Jayne Steen told of her first meeting with Burton. "He was very straightforward," she said. "He said, 'I want five things from you.' And I responded, 'I want five things from you.'" While he could be "lighthearted and amused", she said, he also could be very serious about the issues that were important to his constituents.
"Robert Frost, who taught at Plymouth in 1911 and 1912, said his goal in life was to unite his avocation with his vocation, to spend his days doing what inspired him. Ray achieved that; he shaped a life around bettering a place he loved."
Burton had attended what then was Plymouth Teachers' College, graduating in 1962, and he was a teacher and school principal who later became an adjunct faculty member at Plymouth State College's Department of Social Sciences. After he was elected to the Executive Council in 1977, he established an internship program to teach college students about the workings of government. In the years since, there have been 142 Burton interns.
One of them, Laconia High School graduate Trevor Chandler, spoke during the program, saying that Burton instilled in them the idea that no issue was too large or two small, and he followed as Burton addressed everything from housing issues to feral cats.
"We were continually mystified by his resistance to new technology," Chandler said, noting that Burton was reluctant to give up a typewriter and utilize a computer, and although they bought him a digital camera, it "disappeared" and he was back using his trusty Brownie. "And he was the only person I ever met who actually used a car phone," he said. "Facebook was superfluous to Ray," he added, "because he met people in person."
Indeed, Burton's ability to remember the first names of the people he met has impressed more than one acquaintance. Chandler noted that Burton made it a point to introduce everyone in the room, from government officials to the local spelling bee champion.
Gov. Maggie Hassan said she had heard that Ray Burton was "everywhere in the North Country" and she found that to be true when she went to dine at the Woodstock Inn. As she arrived, she saw his vintage automobile in the parking lot and discovered that he was there as a celebrity waiter at a fundraiser for a local arts group. He joined her at her table and suggested that she go upstairs to address the group, even though she had had no idea it was taking place. "It was a great introduction," she said.
Barely holding back tears, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte spoke admiringly of Burton's efforts to fight for his constituents while remaining humble. "For years to come, public servants will look to Ray to see how things should be done. He was the gold standard of public service," she said. Speaking of what he could still have accomplished, she said, "We all know there were a lot more Burton For Certain combs to hand out."
Gov. Hassan noted that Burton, who died of cancer on Nov. 12, had asked that his memorial service be uplifting and patriotic, and it was that, with the presentation of colors by a blended honor guard of representatives from the Grafton County Department of Corrections, Department of EMS, Littleton Police Department, NH State Police, Bethlehem Fire Department, Grafton County Sheriff's Department, and the N.H. Fish and Game Department saluting his memory. Members of the PSU Chamber Singers also participated in the ceremonies.
Burton's friend and neighbor, Duane Baxter, introduced artist Craig Pursley who unveiled his painting, "A Public Servant" — a portrait of Burton standing in a characteristic pose with his Burton cap on his head. The painting will be on permanent display in Concord.
Also in his honor, Plymouth State University has established the Honorable Raymond S. Burton '62 Public Service Scholarship and a Raymond S. Burton Collection in the Lamson Library's Spinelli Archives and Special Collections to house his papers and memorabilia.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 01:26
LACONIA — Master storyteller Odds Bodkin brought Laconia High School students back to the roots of literature with a masterful 90-minute telling of ''The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast'' Friday morning in the school auditorium.
Using a 12-string guitar, a versatile voice which provides vocal effects such as the sound of wind, birds chirping and a surging sea, Bodkin deftly establishes the character of those his voice portrays and creates a world which brings the imagination of his audience to life.
Bodkin told the freshman and sophomore students that he hoped that he would disappear from their sight as the story progresses and that their imaginations would take over and they would instead see with their mind's eye the characters and scenes he was describing.
Students for the most part listened intently and quickly became absorbed in the story with virtually all raising their hands at the end of the story to indicate that they were seeing it in their mind throughout.
Bodkin, who lives in Bradford, is a graduate of Duke University who taught storytelling and imagination for seven years at Antioch New England Graduate School while pursuing a full-time career as a children's author and musical storyteller.
He has been a featured teller at The National Storytelling Festival, performed twice at The White House, and at schools, universities, museums and theaters across America. He has told stories and conducted workshops as far afield as Bangkok, Thailand and Great Britain.
His performance was sponsored by the Putnam Fund, which brings nationally known performers to Laconia on a regular basis.
Putnam Fund trustee Charles Bradley told the students to ''like'' the performance on the Fund's Facebook page if they would like to see more performances of the same high caliber in city schools.
He said that the fund spends about $70,000 a year to bring free performances to the city.
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Master Storyteller Odds Bodkin performed at Laconia High School Friday morning as part of the Putnam Fund Series. Bodkins told the story ''The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast'' to freshman and sophomore students who were mesmerized by his 90-minute performance. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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Charles Bradley of the Putnam Fund talks with Laconia High School students following Odds Bodkin's performance at the school Friday morning. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Saturday, 14 December 2013 02:40
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