Gilford superintendent search committee formed

GILFORD — The committee for the search for a new superintendent has been formed and has set a target deadline for hiring for early March.
School Board Chairman Karen Thurston said Thursday that the search committee is headed by School Board members Chris McDonough and Rae Mello-Andrews and consists of 14 members.
Thurston said the committee includes staff members, teachers, members of the community, parents, and School District Business Administrator Scott Isabelle.
After leading the school district for five years, current Superintendent Kent Hemingway told the board in September he will retire at the end of this school year.
Thurston said the school district is being assisted in its search by the New Hampshire School Boards Association and by Dr. Robert Lister, who is the mayor of Portsmouth and is the former superintendent of schools in that community.
Thurston said the candidate search committee is scheduled to meet next week and will make a full update on their progress at the next School Board on Jan. 4.

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Shep Brown’s Boat Basin scales back plans for new buildings, water use

MEREDITH — After meeting with concerned neighbors and revising its original plan, the owners of Shep Brown's Boat Basin earned the approval of the Planning Board last month for improvements to the boat washing facility and storm water treatment systems at the marina. They agreed to build just one building instead of two, and improve water management.
The marina is located on 8.5 acres that reach from Lake Winnipesaukee to Meredith Neck Road and straddle Lovejoy Sands Road. The marina effectively encircles about an acre of town property that serves as a launch, dock and parking lot. A marina has operated at the location for more than half a century and was grandfathered in 1971 when the town adopted zoning. It is in the shoreline zoning district in the midst of a thickly settled residential neighborhood of waterfront and island properties.
Originally, the firm proposed constructing two buildings. A 32-by-72-foot building with three bays for washing boats and connected to the existing maintenance building would be built on the footprint of a concrete pad where boats are currently washed. The second building, 32 feet by 82 feet, would have four bays for servicing and washing boats with racks to store boats overhead. It would be built on ground, where boats have been stored, as an addition to an existing boat storage building.
The project is intended to assure best management practices by collecting, treating and storing the waste water in a holding tank, which would be pumped regularly. Mitchell Locker of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has said the agency supports the project , which "environmentally ... is an improvement" that will "reduce nutrients and sediment from entering surface waters."
In addition to the two buildings, a storm water treatment system would be installed on the site. Storm water collected from roofs and pavement would be directed to a ground water recharge system beneath an area which is currently filled with gravel but would be paved and ringed by a bioretention swale. Lou Caron, the town's consulting engineer, reported that "storm water runoff from the site to the lake will be reduced and the runoff that gets to the lake will be cleaner than today."
At two public hearings abutters and other neighbors voiced many concerns, most arising from the prospect of increased traffic and congestion in an area already under heavy pressure in the summer months. Residents claim that any expansion of activity at the marina will increase traffic on Lovejoy Sands Road, which bisects it. The frequent shuttling of forklifts and trailers, residents claim, poses risks to public safety. Some insist that the noise, traffic and congestion will have an adverse impact on their property values, while others fear the design of buildings fail to meet the standards of the architectural design review ordinance.
In response, the marina dropped the larger of the two buildings, which would have expanded capacity to store boats, from its proposal. Instead, only the smaller building, with three bays for washing boats, will be constructed on the footprint of the outdoor wash facility. In addition, dormers will be added to the front of the new building and the road side of the existing building and spruce-colored siding with brown trim and charcoal-gray roofing added to both buildings to enhance their appearance.
The Planning Board approved the proposals plans to manage the waste water and storm water, which chairman Bill Bayard called "a significant improvement."
Bill Littlefield, who acquired the marina in 2001, could not be reached for comment.
Bayard acknowledged the many concerns voiced by abutters, but noted they are not necessarily issues the Planning Board is authorized to address. He said that the proximity of the town facility to the commercial operation leads to "potential conflicts," but said there are for the town to resolve.

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Contract for GYRL? - Gilmanton considers funding Gilford Year-Round Library for three years

GILMANTON — Selectmen Rachel Hatch and Mike Jean have agreed that the town should enter into an three-year contract with the private library for $50,000 for annual funding. The contract would have a 30-day escape clause, meaning that either party could terminate it at any time.

The agreement came at a meeting held at the Gilmanton Year-Round Library on Nov. 23 and was attended by a quorum of the SelectBoard, a quorum of the Budget Committee and a quorum of the School Board.

According to Hatch, the selectman's meeting were posted and minutes were made available by the town administrator under the title Town Funding Joint Meeting.

During Monday's meeting of the SelectBoard, which was attended by about 10 people, Selectman Don Guarino said he was disappointed that not only did the two members of the board seemingly make the decision, but they chose not to share it with him or the general public until three weeks after doing so.

According to minutes of the session, Hatch said, "If we wait until the meeting on the 14th (of December) it won't appear as if it is being pushed through ... Do not do this at next Monday's (Dec. 7) meeting. Give us a couple of weeks to solidify the language and get an attorney to review." Hatch was responding to a suggestion by Town Administrator Paul Branscombe that the contract be presented at the Dec. 7 meeting to give the Budget Committee enough time to review it.

The minutes reflect that Hatch's and Jean's intent was to present it at Monday's meeting, however Brasncombe was unable to be at the meeting.

A local municipal attorney who is not involved in any way with the town of Gilmanton and spoke on background said that if there is a clause that allows both sides to discontinue the contract, it should be legal to enact. The attorney also said the proposed contract should be placed by the selectmen on the annual SB2 ballot as a warrant article that needs 50 percent plus one vote to pass. Should it pass, the attorney said voters always have the right in future years to attend the SB2 public meeting and change the amount of money or to submit a petitioned warrant article to discontinue the contract as long as the 30-day notice provisions are observed.

For years, townspeople have been at odds over funding the Gilmanton Year-Round Library, which is not a town library but a not-for-profit entity that provides library and meeting services to area residents. Every year, a special petitioned warrant article asking for operations money has appeared on the town warrant, and for the past two years it has passed, albeit very narrowly. In 2013, the first year Gilmanton adopted the SB2 form of Town Meeting, the request failed by a very narrow margin.

Hatch noted on Monday that the divisiveness surrounding the battle for library funding has got to stop and she thinks this is the best way to stop it.

"I've seen friendships torn apart by this," she said.

When Guarino continued to object to the way the two selectmen held this development from him, Hatch said that Guarino knew about the Nov. 23 meeting and chose not to go.

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