Part One

Final Revision B – Provided by the Rye Civic League


Present on the stage (left to right as viewed from the audience): Town Clerk Donna Decotis, Town Counsel Michael Donovan, Vice Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Priscilla Jenness, Selectman Phil Winslow, Finance Director and Assistant Town Administrator Cyndi Gillespie, Town Administrator Michael Magnant, and Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Craig Musselman,.  Present at the podium:  Bob Eaton, Town Moderator. 

Additional persons present from the Town included:  Police Chief Kevin Walsh, Fire Chief Mark Cotreau, Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy.

Town Moderator Robert Eaton called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.


Editor’s note:  The elapsed times are relative to start of each video segment.  Segments consist of one or more warrant articles.  To access the video for a particular warrant article, click on the heading for the warrant article.  The video will be positioned to the beginning of the segment.  You may then use the slider to position the video to the appropriate elapsed time.   The video is available at




1.                          The appropriateness of the Salt Shed and the Transfer Station being located 1800 ft. from the Town’s main well and on highly transmissive soil was questioned.

2.                          The priority for the Red Mill Ln. culvert was questioned in light of potential weight limits associated with the Harbor Rd. bridge which would not be removed for a number of years.

3.                          The rationale of the proponents of the petitioned $3.05 million warrant article to tear down and rebuild Town Hall was provided.

4.                          Article 12 to purchase the former TD Bank was amended to remove any reference to specific uses, but would still allow some town offices to be moved there for an indefinite term.

5.                          An amendment to constrain the price for which the Trolley Barn (Old Police Station) could be sold was defeated.

6.                          Article 29, a petitioned article providing for visioning sessions (a Charrette) of the Town Center survived with some amendments and general support.


Introduction (0:00 elapsed)


Moderator Eaton introduced himself and started the meeting by reading a long list of “friends and neighbors” who had passed away in the past year. 


(3:10 elapsed)

Moderator Eaton then introduced the persons sitting at the table on the stage, left to right as viewed from the audience.

Selectman Jenness said that most of those present know that Selectman Musselman did not file for reelection as Selectman.  We are going to miss him a great deal.  His twelve years have brought an abundance of expert background.  She presented him with a copy of Parsons’ History of Rye after having read the inscription therein honoring him.


Candidates (6:08 elapsed)


Moderator Eaton then announced the candidates for town office (all are one seat for three years unless noted):


Town Moderator (two years)


Robert Eaton


Board of Selectmen


Mike Coutu

Keriann Roman

Tim Sanborn


Town Treasurer


Jane Ireland


Cemetery Trustee


Ken Moynahan


Library Trustee (two positions open)


Karen Oliver

Jeffrey Ross

Garry Layman


Supervisors of the Checklist (six years)


Sally King


Trustee of Trust Funds


Kerry Pope


Budget Committee (two positions open)


Doug Abrams

Write in candidate


Planning Board (three years)


Stephen Carter


Planning Board (one year)


Jeff Quinn


Zoning Board of Adjustment (two positions open)


Burt Dibble

Patty Weathersby


Sewer Commission


Peter Kasnet


School District Moderator


Write in candidate (Bob Eaton retiring)


School Board (one position open)


Debra Crapo

Matthew Curtin

Eric Moore


School District Clerk


Donna Decotis


(8:48 elapsed)

Moderator Eaton announced that the Candidates Night will be held Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rye Public Library.  Editor’s note:  Although not announced by Moderator Eaton, Candidates Night is hosted by the Rye Civic League.

            Moderator Eaton announced that the Town election will be Tuesday, March 13 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Rye Elementary School.  The School District Deliberative Session will be Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Junior High.


Rules (9:15 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton then went through the rules.


Articles 1-5:  Elections and Zoning Ordinance Amendments (14:44 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton explained that Articles 1 and 2 related to elections.  There is nothing to debate or discuss, he said.  Article 3 relates to three amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, Article 4 relates to two amendments to the Building Code and Article 5 relates to an amendment to the Flood Plain Ordinance.  Traditionally these have not been discussed at the Deliberative Session as, by law, they may not be amended.  There is a right to discuss them if there is a motion, he said.


Article 6:  Salt Shed ($700,000) (16:08 elapsed)


             Moderator Eaton read the warrant article, which provides for the withdrawal of $80,000 from the Salt Shed Capital Reserve, with the remaining $620,000 to be financed by a bond issue. 

            Selectman Jenness said that the article is needed to protect the Town’s water supply.  The tax rate would be affected by $.04 per $1000 of valuation starting in 2019. 

            Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy said that the new Salt Shed would move all salt handling operations, including storage, loading and unloading, under cover.  The tiny shed currently used was built 30 years ago and holds a couple of storms worth of salt.  All of the loading and unloading takes place outside.  That presents the potential of contamination of the water supply.  All of the drainage on the site stays on the site.  There is no outlet for any storm water that flows into or onto the site.  Everything goes into the ground at some point.  We’ve already bid the project and have a number of prices.  It will be within the $700,000 budget, he said.


(21:15 elapsed)

            Peter Crawford said that he is not in favor of the project.  There is over $1 million in debt to vote on this year.  The taxation was up about 7 percent in 2017.  That was masked by the revaluation which caused the rate to go down, but people are paying more.  This project was initially going to be $230,000 according to the CIP Plan.  The $700,000 is over three times that.  In doing some research, similar salt sheds elsewhere either seem to be providing a lot more capacity or are being done for a lot less money.  For example, a 6300 sq. ft. facility capable of handling 4000 tons in Palatine, IL cost $557,000.  I could provide more examples, he said.  The Salt Shed proposed is about 1000 tons of capacity and 5000 sq. ft.

            Apparently the driver of this huge cost increase was the need for substantial site work.  They discovered that much of the Public Works site is essentially wood chips that have decayed and there is not solid ground.  This is the only location where it can be put.  It has to be cut out of the side of the hill to produce a level area, he said. 

            In addition, our most-used well, the Garland Well, is 1800 ft. from the Public Works site and as Mr. McCarthy said, nothing drains elsewhere.  It all runs down to one end of the site and that is right above the most permeable part of the ground in the highest part of Town, and any water that collects on that site is likely running directly into the aquifer and affecting our wells.  However, we have not had evidence that there is a problem with salt in the wells.  Mr. Crawford said that he has a real concern about further development of this site given its lack of areas where buildings can be located and also the fact that so much brush is dumped on the site.  When that decays, if there are any contaminants in it, it would potentially affect our ground water, he said.

            Mr. Crawford said that he believes that we should take a step backward and look carefully at the cost and the impact of starting to further develop this site.  It may not be the best site for operations going forward.  We may want to handle the salt loading elsewhere, perhaps someplace close to the ocean where the salt would not be an issue at all and there would be a flat location where all of this fancy “stuff” would not be needed. 


(25:03 elapsed)

            Steven Borne said that, if you look at an aquifer map of Rye, the most transmissive area in Rye is all around the Transfer Station, the Grove Rd. Landfill and the Garland Well.  If you were to start from scratch, is that where you would put the Transfer Station, above the well, with all of that fill?  A Hampton, NH commission’s recommendation from twenty-five years ago was a recommendation that the Transfer Station be more of a community center.  They should be designed so that people can interact.  Mr. Borne said that he would like to see a Transfer Station in a place that is not in such a transmissive area and on top of our main drinking well and is laid out in a way that supports social interaction.  You have $1.3 million in capital equipment that is not protected or covered.  The buildings are falling apart.  It is only second behind Town Hall as something that is screaming to be taken care of. 


(26:38 elapsed)

            Mr. McCarthy said that many of those questions are true.  If you had to start over and could pick anywhere in the Town, there may be better locations.  However, we can’t.  Property in Rye is very expensive.  From a personal standpoint, I would love to have Public Works on an Ocean lot.  It would make our job much easier.  We would be close to the beach and I would have a good view of the ocean.  However, the cost of property at the beach would probably make it impossible to locate a salt storage facility there. 

            As far as the reason we are on an aquifer, years ago, when towns developed they looked for gravel.  It was used for building projects.  Public Works facilities were often located where the resources were.  People did not look at what was going on under the ground.  Wellhead protection has only come about in the past 30 years.  Many towns face this issue.  The town owns very little property.  Most of it is divided into small parcels.  This is a seven acre parcel near the center of Town. 

            Mr. McCarthy agreed that the Transfer Center should be a community center.  On Saturdays, it is a community center.  We try to corral the community effort because of concerns about injuries.  We hope in the future that we will move into a program that will replace those very old buildings.  We have to crawl before we can walk.  The first order of business when we reviewed the site was to deal with the salt.  The site is managed responsibly and will continue to be so managed, he said.

            Scott Marion called the question.

            The motion carried and Article 6 was ordered to appear on the ballot as written.


Article 7:  Red Mill Ln. culvert ($250,000) (30:28 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton read the warrant article which calls for replacing the remaining existing culvert under Red Mill Ln., which would be financed by a bond. 

            Selectman Musselman addressed the warrant article.  He said that several years ago an article was approved to replace the two culverts on Red Mill Ln.  There had been a drainage study that prioritized the construction needs, and these were identified as two of the highest priorities.  We got into the design of the first culvert and DES required that the culvert be full bank width.  The culverts are at the upper limit of the intertidal zone, a sensitive area.  DES determined that it needed to be not a culvert but a bridge.  The first one was designed and bid.  Because it is a bridge with a longer span than a culvert it costs more.  We are back with a supplemental appropriation to build a second one.  We have a construction price for it.  It is a high priority and is ready to go, he said.

            Mr. McCarthy that that the study had addressed all culverts under Town roads exceeding 15 inches in diameter.  The first one that needed replacement was on Wallis Rd. adjacent to the existing twin culverts.  These two were determined to be next.  One had already been damaged by the Mothers’ Day Flood.  We had anticipated that we could replace it with the same type of culvert, but we needed approval from DES, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.  At the end of the process the culverts were four times the size.  We have already completed one culvert.  The contractor did an excellent job and has held his price for the second culvert.  After this, the next culverts should be less expensive, he said. 


(35:40 elapsed)

            Steven Borne said that, between what we spent last time and this time, it’s about $.5 million for those two culverts.  Mr. Borne asked whether the priorities could be discussed.  We have another warrant article on the Harbor Rd. bridge.  We have 20 something houses down there and we can’t get fire trucks and other big trucks out there.  Why is spending $250,000 on another culvert now more important than the Harbor Rd. bridge? 

            Mr. McCarthy said that there was a lot of misinformation in that statement but that he would answer the questions relating to the culvert.  The priority is based on the other culverts in town.  The program goes out for 30-50 years.  Every year we will be permitting one culvert and constructing another one.  It’s up to the town to fund it.  We present it so they know that it is needed.  This year there are a lot of capital improvements because we’ve gotten held up with the Town office building.  We were waiting to see if that was going to move forward.  Each year that seems to get bigger and bigger and there are more and more warrant articles.  If it doesn’t get funded we’ll bring it back next year, he said.

            Selectman Jenness said that the tax rate impact, starting in 2019, would be $.01 per $1000 of valuation. 

            Peter Crawford said that it’s true that if something is bonded the cost is spread out, but you end up paying more in total because you have to pay interest.  I’m against this, he said.  It’s primarily the first two articles that I am against, he said.  I voted for a lot of things.  I’m against this one for a lot of the same reasons.  We seem to come up with these cost estimates for the projects and then they increase dramatically.  Two years ago, there was a warrant article to do one or both culverts for $150,000.   That passed.  Last year there was $110,000 in Capital Outlay added to that.  This year they want another $250,000.  This is a total of $510,000 for something that was going to be $150,000 a couple of years ago.  I understand the need to turn it into bridge, but when the cost changes, there should be a re-analysis of the priorities to see if still falls at the top.  That’s not being done.  It has been demonstrated time and time again with the Town Hall that when the voters just vote these things down the Board of Selectmen will figure out a way to do things less expensively.          This year we have a $625,000 project compared to the $4.1 million that was proposed about three years ago.  Vote it down and let’s reprioritize the projects, he said.  Harbor Rd. has 22 houses with only one means of access.  Red Mill Ln. is a loop.  There is another culvert that has already been put in.  Every one of those six houses on that street is accessible without going over this culvert by going the other way around the loop.  I don’t view this as a high priority, and we’ll find out more about this, when there are fire trucks that potentially can’t provide service to those 22 houses, Mr. Crawford said.

            Scott Marion said that he thought that the purpose when articles are presented was to offer amendments, not to campaign.  While I appreciate Mr. Borne and Mr. Crawford trying to educate people, is this the forum for that?

            Moderator Eaton said that this is a forum for education discussion and debate.  It is perfectly appropriate for someone to argue here about why an article should be voted up or down. 

            Jaci Grote called the question.  Frank Drake seconded.

            The motion to end debate carried.

            Moderator Eaton ordered Article 7 to appear on the ballot as written.

            Shawn Crapo moved to restrict reconsideration on Articles 6 and 7.  Debra Crapo seconded.  The motion carried.


Article 8:  Shoals View Dr. reconstruction and paving ($200,000) (41:35 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton read the warrant article, which provides for bond financing.

            Selectman Musselman said that an article to pave Shoals View Dr. passed last year.  It receives a lot of traffic.  It is a gravel road.  It billows dust with the heavy traffic.  The design/build bids came in extraordinarily high as there were some unknowns as to the depth to ledge.  There was no design yet, so contractors covered their downside.  The bids were far more than the appropriation.  Rather than sign up the low bidder with an unprescribed scope, we took a small portion of last year’s funds to have an engineer further specify the project.  That is in process.  We intend to go out for bids in the Spring, he said.

            Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy said that the road has no engineered sub-base and the road that was there in the past just broke apart.  The road is currently S-shaped and located on other peoples’ properties.  It must be relocated into the Town’s 50 foot right-of-way.   The Town doesn’t have a good history of costs as not many projects have been done in the past 15 years.

            There was no discussion so Moderator Eaton ordered the article to be placed on the ballot as written.


Article 9:  Town Hall tear-down/rebuild ($3,048,077) (49:30 elapsed)


            Frank Drake moved to advance the discussion of Article 12 so that it would occur immediately after Article 9.  Mike Coutu seconded.  Mr. Drake said that both articles concern the future direction of Town Hall.  This would add clarity and fluidity to the discussion, he said.

            Shawn Crapo moved the question.  The motion carried.

            The motion to change the order carried.

            Steven Borne then made a motion to move Articles 27 and 29 forward as well.  The first relates to the Old Police Station and the latter to visioning of town facilities.  He suggested also that the meeting hold off on restricting reconsideration until all four articles have been completed.  Peter Crawford seconded.

            There was no further discussion.  The motion carried.


(53:15 elapsed)

            Moderator Eaton then read the warrant article, which is by petition.  It provides for razing the old Town Hall building and provides for completion of construction documents and engineering, followed by competitive bidding and an authorization for the Selectmen to choose the best bid.  It noted that Mr. Loftus, who helped to design the proposed building, has not and would not accept compensation for his efforts.

            Selectman Musselman moved that the words “Passage of this article shall override the 10 percent limitation imposed on this appropriation due to the non-recommendation of the Budget Committee” be added to the beginning.  Frank Drake seconded.  Selectman Musselman said that the amendment was there because, if the article passed and the amendment was not there, the town budget would take a hit of about $1.9 million.  Editor’s note:  This override is pursuant to RSA 32:18-a.  Normally, the total appropriations, with certain adjustments, are not permitted to exceed 110 percent of the amount recommended by the Budget Committee, with certain exceptions.  Apparently, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration has, when the voters have approved greater appropriations than are allowed, taken the appropriations in sequence until the 110 percent limitation is reached.

            The motion to amend carried.

            Frank Drake then made a motion to add language at the end to allow the expenditure of federal and state grants and donations towards the project.  Jeff Quinn seconded.  Mr. Drake said that this is a standard clause.

            The motion carried.


(59:38 elapsed)

            John Loftus explained that the warrant article is the fulfillment of last year’s article, which passed with 55.5% approval.  Editor’s note:  See 2017 Article 34, which passed 873-700.  This is a turnkey operation including all of the soft and hard costs.  Everything is included.  He encouraged voters to attend one of the nine upcoming public information sessions at the Library.  My goal was to come up with a better solution than the Hutter replication proposal last year.  Editor’s note:  See 2017 Article 6, which failed 337-1227.  Hutter came up with two designs and cost estimates, one to renovate and extend the existing Town Hall, and the other to tear down the building and replicate it, with the same extension.  The Selectmen chose the tear-down and replicate option, however the Heritage Commission presented 2017 Article 7, based on the first Hutter design.  That also failed to pass 340-1233.

            Mr. Loftus said that the design was a three story building with a full basement.  It will be energy efficient, laid out appropriately for the town offices, and meet codes, including ADA requirements.  We have beaten the Hutter price by $338,000, while increasing the square footage over 600 sq. ft., adding a full basement and increasing the specification.  The cost is about $73 less per sq. ft.  This warrant article is supported by five prominent area builders who live in Rye, he said. 

            Mr. Loftus said that he spent a lot of time discussing the needs with the staff and that office proximity was a key requirement. 

            The issue of vetting has been raised by Mae Bradshaw at the Budget Committee and in a newspaper article, he said.  Mr. Loftus then explained his background and that of the architect R.A. Schaefer & D.M. White Architects. 

            Article 9 gives us a clear path forward.  It stops what seems to be an endless discussion and puts an end to further wasted taxpayer money.  To date, over $350,000 has been spent chasing renovation of the existing building.  That money is gone, with no resolution.  He spoke about ADA, code issues, health hazard and a Pandora’s box of unknown repairs when the building is opened up.  Yet, here we are with another plan by the Board of Selectmen to continue on an uncharted course.  The plethora of problems with the current building will not go away by purchasing TD Bank.  The Town needs closure on this discussion and Article 9 does that in an unambiguous way.  With a bond spread over ten years, the tax rate would increase 18 cents in the first year, decreasing to 14 cents in year ten.  For a $500,000 assessment, the cost would be about $91 for the first year, he said. 

            For those that think that the TD Bank purchase would be the cheaper way to go, get all of the facts.  It will not be, nor will the product be anywhere as good.  It will lead to more discussion and divisiveness and more wasted taxpayer dollars.  The cost of TD Bank and the planned painting of Town Hall amount to 23.6 percent of the cost of a new building, he said. 

            Please come to one of our information sessions and become engaged.  You, the voters, will make the decision in March, Mr. Loftus said.  There was applause.

            Debbie Crapo thanked Mr. Loftus for everything he has done.   She said that she watched a lot of beautiful buildings disappear in the 47 years that she has lived in Rye.  She mentioned the Farragut Hotel, the Franciscan Friary, the Central Road Schoolhouse, and others.  I don’t like the Town Hall.  I don’t think it’s pretty.  I am a certified HUD housing inspector.  I have expertise in lead paint, asbestos and mold.  I used to inspect public housing in Portsmouth.  If we did a really thorough inspection of that building right now, they would put a cease and desist on it and no one would be able to work there tomorrow.  There’s mold, mildew and asbestos.  There are some beautiful pieces in it that could be saved and put on display.  Don’t keep putting money into a building that is not worth it.  Twenty-five, fifty or one hundred years from now, do you think that building will still be standing?

            We have had some wonderful Selectmen in this town, but they stopped us and lost things for us over the years because of their stubbornness.  They got an idea in their heads and kept on going.   One of them turned down a complete sewer system for Rye for free from the Federal Government in the 40s, because he didn’t like the government getting involved. 

            Moderator Eaton said that Ms. Crapo was starting to get a little far afield.  There was laughter.

            Ms. Crapo said that we need to vote for the Article this year and “get off the pot,” because it is not going to cost less next year.  There was applause.


(72:56 elapsed)

            Selectman Winslow said that the issue had been discussed for the past five years.  He said that he was on the first committee back in 2013.  He suggested that both Article 9 and Article 12 be presented to the voters without amendment.  The voters should decide, he said.  He applauded John Loftus, Ann Malpass and Frank Drake for all of the work that they have done. 

            There being no further discussion on Article 9, Moderator Eaton ordered it to appear on the ballot as amended.


Article 12:  TD Bank purchase ($624,800) (73:58 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton read the warrant article, which said that it included related purchase costs, the first-year operating budget and potential renovation expenditures.  It is recommended 3-0 by the Board of Selectmen and by the Budget Committee 7-4. 

            Selectman Winslow introduced the warrant article.  The closing of the TD Bank was a serendipitous opportunity that the Board of Selectmen saw as a possible solution to Town Hall needs.  Rather than letting this opportunity slip by, we worked with TD Bank to buy the building for a very reasonable price.  The Bank has agreed to hold the opportunity open until March 13 at no cost to the Town.  It solves the need for additional space as the Bank has 2255 sq. ft. of heated space.  It is ADA compliant.  The square footage is approximately what is needed in addition for Town Hall space needs.  It has 21 defined parking spaces and possibly an additional 8.  It has two safes, two drive-up lanes.  It is directly across the street from Rye Junior High.  It abuts Parson’s Field and the Town Forest and would assure continuous ownership from Rye Junior High to the Recreation Area.  It includes 3.71 acres of land.  The building is in good condition with a new roof.  The $624,800 includes the cost of purchasing the building, which is $540,000.  The building is assessed at $581,600.  By locating the Town Clerk/Tax Collector and the Assessor here, the majority of residents’ needs could be addressed here without having to leave their vehicles. 

            Funds to restore the exterior of the current Town Hall were included in the 2018 budget.  This also allows us to protect the 178 year old Town Hall from the wrecking ball.  Moving the two departments out of the Town Hall would allow the Planning Administrator and Building Inspector to be co-located.  Our 2018 operating budget includes funds to paint the exterior of the Town Hall, replace wood shakes, repair the exterior parking lot wall, and complete a Historic Structure Report.  That would qualify us for future financial grants.  The total tax impact is 28 cents per thousand, a one-time tax hit of $140 for a home valued at $500,000, and $210 for a home valued at $750,000.  He asked to be allowed to present this to the voters without amendment in March.  The Town Hall has a new geothermal heating system and a new roof, he added.


(79:48 elapsed)

            Deb Crapo proposed an amendment to eliminate anything that refers to how the building would be used.  She said that we need to move on this as we cannot buy it later.  This would eliminate the wording that ties us to only one use.  This land has conditions on it.  It can’t just be used for anything.  We might tie ourselves up for years trying to figure out if we can just move in there.  A lot of the land is wetland.  She expressed concern about the liability of having a drive-up window.  I urge that the property be bought anyway and then vote for Mr. Loftus’ building, she said.  Peggy Balboni seconded. 

            Moderator Eaton read the article as it would read after the proposed amendment.


“To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to, and no more than, six hundred twenty-five thousand eight hundred dollars gross budget for the purchase of a 3.7 acre parcel of land and building located at 500 Washington Road, Rye, which was the former TD Bank, for the ownership and use of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire for the future.  The purchase of this property will not be directed for any dedicated use at the time of purchase and will be decided by the citizens of Rye at a later date.  Any money not required for the purchase will be returned to the General Fund and utilities may be scheduled for the operating and maintenance of this valuable acquisition in the center of Rye.”


            A typo was noted in the amount, which should be six hundred and twenty-four thousand.  The change was made.


(85:15 elapsed)

            Selectman Musselman said that the effect of this is that, if the article was voted up, the building would sit empty until at least April 2019.  We can’t have a Special Town Meeting to decide on the use.  The renovations to move in are minimal and are not permanent.  The Town could decide to use the building for a different purpose at a later date, he said. 


(87:05 elapsed)

            Peter Crawford said that the assessed valuation is $581,000.  He asked whether there is also an appraisal.  Secondly, he said that he understands that there is a current deed restriction from 1964 that requires the building’s use as a commercial bank.  He asked whether there would be any additional deed restrictions imposed under the terms of the contract with TD Bank. 

            Town Attorney Donovan said that Mr. Crawford had misstated the deed restriction.  He said that he would read it.  Editor’s note:  The deed restriction appears at Rockingham County Registry of Deeds, Book 1713, Page 465 which was recorded on May 5, 1964.  Click here to see the original deed.  The deed restriction reads:


“It is a condition of this deed, and a part of the consideration therefore (sic), (which the grantee by its acceptance of this deed undertakes and agrees to) that the grantee, its successors and assigns shall make no other commercial use of the foregoing premises than for commercial banking purposes, so long as the applicable zoning ordinance of the Town of Rye restricts the use of the lands adjoining said premises to residential uses.”


            Mr. Donovan paraphrased the deed restriction.  He said that, when the Selectmen started down this road, they asked him to take a look at this.  A municipal use is not a commercial use, so use by the Town would not violate the deed restriction, he said.  “However, if the Town ended up trying to sell this building after buying it, then, under that restriction, it could not sell it for another commercial use other than a bank without going to court to get the restriction removed,” Attorney Donovan said (emphasis supplied).  Editor’s note:  Later in the meeting it was revealed that under a different restriction, namely the deed that would be recorded if the TD Bank transaction occurs, the building could not be used as a commercial bank or certain other financial institutions for five years.  The combination of the two restrictions would appear to prohibit any commercial use whatsoever for five years.  Click here.   Mr. Donovan continued, saying, the history of restrictions that have been there a long time is that, often, the court will allow a restriction like that to be removed.

            Moderator Eaton then called on Mr. King.

            Mr. Crawford said that he had two questions and that they were not answered. 

            Editor’s note:  Later in the meeting, the second question was answered.  Click here.

            Moderator Eaton then called on Mr. Quinn.


(89:57 elapsed)

            Jeff Quinn said that he was cautious about this amendment as he does not believe that any caps should be placed on the Board of Selectmen with regard to the administration of the Town.  The way that the amendment has been portrayed is that it would be left to the citizens to decide how the building is to be used.  The role of citizens should be to provide the necessary funds and allow the Selectmen to make the necessary decisions.  As it stands right now, I cannot support this amendment, he said.

            Mike Thiel said that the way the warrant article, without the amendment, is composed is part of what we had been arguing about for five years and a hodgepodge approach to replacing the Town Hall.  It’s putting people in there permanently.  This location makes some sense as a location for a new Town Hall, however that doesn’t seem to have been discussed.  I’m not sure I understand Selectman Musselman’s comment that this ties the Town’s hands with regard to short-term use.  Why can’t we buy this and still use it short-term without dedicating it to a solution of the Town Hall problem?  We could put people in there and use it.  It seems like it would be a valuable asset for the Town to acquire.  Without further study and definition, I don’t think it’s a solution to the Town Hall problem.  That seems to be the way it’s being presented.  I’m in favor of the amendment cutting loose that portion of the warrant article.  It could be a location for the Proposition (sic) 9 proposal for an entirely new building, instead of tearing down the old building. 

            Selectman Musselman referred to the language in the proposed amendment that says “the purchase of this property will not be directed for any dedicated use at the time of purchase and will be decided by the citizens of Rye at a later date.”  My interpretation of that is that that sentence would limit the Town in terms of how the building could be used.

            Town Attorney Donovan said that he would agree.  It couldn’t be used until a future vote by the Town, he said.

            Mr. Thiel suggested a revision of the amendment to allow a reasonable use in the interim.

            Ms. Crapo said that she would agree to remove the part about decision at a later date as it seems to confuse the Selectmen.  They may be right, she said.  “But, there is the possibility that we can rent it to another bank and take in income on it, too” she said.  Editor’s note:  It appears that that would be precluded for a period of five years.  Click here.  Ms. Crapo said that, the way they wrote it, it’s forcing us to vote for the old Town Hall, and that’s ridiculous. 

            Moderator Eaton asked whether she intended to end the sentence with “…at the time of purchase,” and then continue with the next sentence starting “[a]ny money…”

            Ms. Crapo said that she is expecting them to negotiate for the lowest possible price, because the $624,000 was including a budget to move everyone over there, which is why the amendment provided for the excess to go back into the General Fund, except perhaps for keeping the utilities going there.  Don’t vote to buy it if you’re for the new Town Hall.  They want you to have to be tied to the Old Town Hall, she said. 

            Ms. Balboni assented to the changed language.

            Selectman Musselman said that even with the additional amendment, use of the building would still be precluded.  It would have to sit empty until Spring 2019, he said. 

            Attorney Donovan said that that would be true to the extent money was required to move any town functions.  The actual purchase price is set by a purchase and sale agreement, I believe $520,000.  Editor’s note:  See below, he later acknowledged that the price is $540,000.  Under this, the remaining money would have to go back to the General Fund and no one could use the building until there was another appropriation, he said. 

            Frank Drake said that this is a well-intentioned amendment.  Many people in Town believe that the article is a way to walk us into saving the old Town Hall.  We’re going to move these two departments up there and free up space, he said.  He asked how much the cost of the historic study would be.

            Selectman Winslow responded  that it was $31,000, of which $12,000 is being provided by a grant from L-Chip.  The purpose of that is to allow us to apply for grants, both through L-Chip and through federal grant programs.  It includes a complete evaluation of the property with pictures of all of the distinctive features, an assessment of the structural portions, a complete assessment of the surrounding land.  Without this, we cannot apply for future grants through L-Chip, he said. 

            Frank Drake said that the problem with the TD Bank acquisition is that the TD Bank can only be used as a bank or a house lot.  There can be no commercial use other than as a bank unless the land next to it gets rezoned commercial, which is not going to happen.  “I don’t know if the town could buy it and rent it as a bank, you’d have to know more about the conditions of the sale.  I’ve heard that TD Bank won’t sell it to another bank themselves.”  Editor’s note:  Click here.  The Purchase and Sale Agreement for the TD Bank requires that the deed by which ownership would be transferred prohibit the property’s use a commercial bank, or certain other financial institutions for a period of five years.    Mr. Drake continued, saying that Debbie Crapo’s amendment tries to put some framework around  so that it isn’t a “runaway train” and an irrevocable commitment to saving the Old Town Hall.  That’s not a wise thing.  The simplest thing would be to vote it down and move forward with a clear, unambiguous plan, the only one that exists today and the only one that will exist for a couple more years, he said. 

            Peggy Balboni said that her intention in seconding the motion was not to prevent the Selectmen from using the property temporarily for Town offices.  She asked the attorney to suggest an amendment allowing such temporary use.  If the New Town Hall is voted up, there is going to be a need for temporary space.  There are other space needs in Town.  I just served on a Committee looking at other space needs for Recreation and School uses.  There are other potential uses for that building, including perhaps a Community Center or Recreation uses, she said.

            Attorney Donovan said that he thought that he had already answered the question.  If the last sentence remains in the additional money would go back to the General Fund, except for the ability to keep the utilities going. 

            Mr. Donovan acknowledged that the purchase price was $540,000 not $520,000 as he had previously stated. 


(104:54 elapsed)

            Mae Bradshaw moved the question.  Shawn Crapo pointed out that Ms. Crapo had been trying to get the floor when the question was moved.  Mr. Eaton said that he thought he had made it clear that even in that case, once the question had been moved there would be a vote.  You’re going to decide whether or not to end debate, he said.  He asked whether there was a second to the motion to end debate.  No second was noted. 

            Ms. Crapo said that she could take care of the issue with a couple of words. 

            Moderator Eaton read the article with the proposed amendment:  


“To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to, and no more than, six hundred twenty-four thousand eight hundred dollars gross budget for the purchase of a 3.7 acre parcel of land and building located at 500 Washington Road, Rye, which was the former TD Bank, for the ownership and use of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire for the future.  The purchase of this property will not be directed for any dedicated use at the time of purchase.  Any money not required for the purchase will be returned to the General Fund and utilities may be scheduled for the operating and maintenance of this valuable acquisition in the center of Rye.”


Moderator Eaton then called for a vote on the motion to call the question.  The motion failed.

            Ms. Crapo suggested that it be revised to refer to “long-term use.”  She also said that she intended that some of the money could be used before it went back into the General Fund.    Someone on the board had said that, if any changes are needed, they would be minimal, she said.  It should be used for short-term use for the Town, not the Town Hall, she said. 

            In response to a question from Moderator Eaton, Ms. Crapo confirmed that her only change was to add “long-term” between “dedicated” and “use.”  Ms. Balboni agreed to the change.

            Selectman Musselman said that, even with that amendment, it still prevents short-term use of the building as it still requires the return of any money not used for the purchase.  He suggested that everything after the word “future” be deleted.  It then does not tie their hands, does not provide for any long-term use and it allows short-term use and it allows the expenditure of the funds provided in the warrant article to allow the short-term use.  That may achieve the goals of the proponents and may solve the problem, he said.

            Moderator Eaton asked Ms. Crapo whether she would accept that as a friendly amendment. 

            Ms. Crapo said that “short-term use” could be added, but that she feels manipulated by what was said about what they would accept.

            Moderator Eaton said that she was responding that she would not accept the friendly amendment.

            Ms. Crapo confirmed.

            Selectman Musselman said that the Town Attorney suggested that, after the word “future,” the sentence “[t]he purchase of this property will not be directed for any dedicated long-term use at the time of purchase, period” be added.  That would allow short-term use.  Everything after that would be deleted, he said.

            Ms. Crapo said that that was not what he just said. 

            Moderator Eaton said that he needed Ms. Crapo to stop going back and forth.

            Ms. Crapo asked whether the Town felt that they could still pay to heat the building, have utilities, and keep it open.

            Moderator Eaton said that Selectman Musselman was nodding yes.

            “So we can hold you to this,” Ms. Crapo said.

            Moderator Eaton said that, with Selectman Musselman’s friendly amendment, the article would read:


“To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to, and no more than, six hundred twenty-four thousand eight hundred dollars gross budget for the purchase of a 3.7 acre parcel of land and building located at 500 Washington Road, Rye, which was the former TD Bank, for the ownership and use of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire for the future.  The purchase of this property will not be directed to any dedicated long-term use at the time of purchase.”


Ms. Crapo and  Ms. Balboni both accepted the change.


(114:45 elapsed)

            Ray Jarvis asked how “long-term” was defined.  Was it to be a year?  Ten years?

            Moderator Eaton said that the language had been used by Ms. Crapo and asked her what she intended.

            Ms. Crapo said that it should never have been necessary for her to have amended “this.”  We should have just been buying it, she said.  She asked how the Selectmen would interpret it.

            Selectman Musselman said that we have the ability to make decisions at future Town Meetings, either by Selectmen’s warrant articles or by citizen petitioned warrant articles.  Long-term will be determined by the Town of Rye, he said.


(117:20 elapsed)

            Jeanne Low said that she had a question to ask before she even knows how to vote on the amendment.  She asked whether the Town has a Purchase and Sale Agreement with TD Bank and, if so, “is there any terminology that would prevent us from turning this, when we no longer needed the building, to turn around and sell it to another bank?”  Obviously, it is being offered to us only because we are not another bank, she said.

            Moderator Eaton asked whether anyone at the table wanted to respond.  He then called on Mr. Donovan to respond.  There was a pause.

            Ms. Low started to ask her question again.  Moderator Eaton said that Mr. Donovan was going through his papers.

            Mr. Donovan then said:


“Yes, as I said earlier there is a Purchase and Sale Agreement.  That’s not the key thing.  The key thing is the deed restriction that was talked about earlier, and the deed restriction would allow the Town to sell it, or rent it, to another bank, but no other commercial use.”


            Ms. Low asked “So TD Bank itself did not place any restrictions?”

            Mr. Donovan responded “Well, there’s no restriction…”

            Ms. Low interrupted and said “I know there’s no restriction…”

            Mr. Donovan said “they don’t need a restriction because it’s in the deed and the deed runs with the land.  It’s in the present deed to Portsmouth, whatever the original bank was, Portsmouth Savings Bank.  In any case it’s in the deed and it runs with the land.  So, TD Bank North did not need anything in the P&S about that because it’s already there in the deed as a restriction which runs with the land.”  Editor’s note:  The 1964 deed restriction prohibits any commercial use other than as a commercial bank, while the deed restriction to be imposed by TD Bank prohibits its use for five years by a commercial bank or certain other financial institutions.


(119:30 elapsed)

            Town Administrator Magnant quietly said that he was not too sure about that.  He said that the Purchase and Sale Agreement should be checked.

            Steven Borne is observed on the video walking up to Ms. Low at the microphone.

            Ms. Low said that, according to the quitclaim deed that Mr. Borne has just given her there’s a paragraph that says:


"For a period of five (5) years from the recording hereof, the property may not be used as a commercial bank, retail bank branch, savings bank, financial services institution, insurance company, brokerage firm, savings and loan or credit union or affiliate thereof.  This restriction is for the benefit of TD Bank, N.A., its successors and assigns and is not for the benefit of any third party." 


Ms. Low omitted the words “hereof” and “N.A.” when she read the above.  Editor’s note:  The language above appears on page 20 of the Purchase and Sale Agreement with TD Bank signed by Selectman Musselman on December 26, 2017.  Click here to see the full agreement.

            Mr. Donovan said that Ms. Low had answered her own question.


(120:45 elapsed)

            Kathy MacAlpine said that the sense she was getting from those trying to make amendments, and her own view, was that it was critical to own this property.  We would be foolish to let this pass by.  It is so beautifully located in the center of town.  It also makes sense to move the Town Clerk and Tax Collector there, at least on a temporary basis.  Whether Recreation is voted up or down or the new building is voted up or down, there needs to be a place for those offices.  She suggested starting with the original article and adding the language “or other functions as may be applicable as determined by the Board of Selectmen” after the reference to the Town Clerk/Tax Collector.  I think everyone is on the same page with regard to the need to own the building, but we don’t want it to sit empty while we figure out what to do with it, she said. 

            Moderator Eaton said that it sounded like she was offering another friendly amendment.  He asked whether Ms. Crapo would entertain that.  Ms. Crapo responded “no.”  Mr. Eaton said that the amendment would not be entertained at this time.


(122:35 elapsed)

            Shawn Crapo moved the question.  Then he said that his motion would be after Frank Drake spoke.  Then Jane Holway sought to speak and Mr. Drake said “Jane come on.  He said after me, so go ahead.”  Ms. Holway then came up to the microphone.

            Jane Holway referred to her mother Frances Holway, who, she said, was very active in the town.  She said that 50 years ago, she and Esther Parsons, who sold the land, were sitting on the porch.  I was elsewhere.  After she left, her mother told her that Esther wanted this property to be used either as a bank or as a single family residence.  Esther, as I recall, insisted that the building be built so that it could eventually be converted to a single family residence.  I’m sure I’m right on this.  I’ve been around longer than almost anybody in this room.  Please, consider honoring what Esther wanted to do.  Esther was very patient in allowing the Town eventually to buy Parson’s Field.  She was anxious that this town remain a small, nice, town, she said. 

            Moderator Eaton reminded everyone that they were talking about the amendment, not the article as a whole. 

            Bill Truslow said that, it seemed to him that, what is at issue here is the Town Hall.  If you don’t want the New Town Hall, vote the warrant article down at the election.  I’m OK with the article as it stands and I would vote against the amendment.

            Ms. Crapo moved the question.  Moderator Eaton asked whether there was a second.  Ms. Tsetsilas seconded.

            Moderator Eaton read the article with the proposed amendment:


“To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to, and no more than, six hundred twenty-four thousand eight hundred dollars gross budget for the purchase of a 3.7 acre parcel of land and building located at 500 Washington Road, Rye, which was the former TD Bank, for the ownership and use of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire for the future.  The purchase of this property will not be directed to any dedicated long-term use at the time of purchase.”


            Moderator Eaton omitted the word “for” following “TD Bank.”  He called for a vote on the amendment.  Mae Bradshaw asked whether the vote was on whether or not to call the question.

            The motion to call the question passed.  He then called for a vote on the amendment.  The motion carried.


(127:40 elapsed)

            John Loftus said that that the cost of purchasing the bank plus the $95,000 that the Board of Selectmen want to spend for painting totals $719,800, which is 23.6 percent of the cost of the new building.  In my plan the Town Clerk and the Assessor are slated to go into 1047 sq. ft.  This building is 2255 sq. ft., more than double what those two departments need.  I don’t see that as cost effective.  We’re going to lose $6100 in tax revenue from this site.  Someone said $6000.

            Mr. Loftus said that someone, not him, has made an inquiry of three different attorneys, who have said that the title on this deed is very restrictive and it is restricted to commercial or savings banks, but that is it.  It doesn’t even say that it could go back to residential use. 

            Town Attorney Donovan said that he had read the deed restriction twice now and asked whether Mr. Loftus wanted him to read it a third time. 

            Mr. Loftus said that was not necessary, but that other attorneys had a different opinion.  It’s not a zoning issue, it’s a deed issue, he said.

            Mr. Donovan said that he had read the deed three times and it does not do what you say it does. 


(129:45 elapsed)

            Alex Herlihy said that it was in 2011 that this all started.  He said that he is strongly in favor of the article.  The bank looks the way it does as, just prior to it being built, the Historic District Commission was created.  This story will certainly be told with a new exhibit at the Museum as there are lessons to be learned from the last eight years.  Editor’s note:  Mr. Herlihy is President of the Rye Historical Society, which owns the Town Museum building, which is adjacent to the Library.  I strongly disagree with the points that have been made about the Town Hall falling apart or being dangerous.  Every engineering or structural study that I have seen or heard about supports my opinion on that.  If this article passes and the other one does not, grants would be available to support the upgrade.  It needs a paint job.  It is not falling apart in any other way, he said. 

            Frank Drake said that he cannot let “that grant thing” go without comment.  These grants, raining money from the sky, are made to sound like they’re going to be so helpful.  We’re going to get hundreds of thousands of dollars.  “Ain’t so.”  There isn’t a lot of money out there, he said.

            Julie Tucker pointed out that renovation costs and ongoing maintenance costs need to be considered.  She asked why we needed another building when we can’t resolve the problems with the Town Hall that we have.

            There being no further discussion of Article 12, Moderator Eaton ordered the article to appear on the ballot as amended.

            The motion of Frank Drake to restrict reconsideration of Articles 12, 8 and 9, seconded by Selectman Musselman carried.


Article 27:  Old Trolley Barn sale (133:50 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton read the warrant article which authorizes the Selectmen to sell the property, also known as the Old Police Station, at 37 Central Rd. 

            Selectman Winslow said that the building was built in 1889 by the Boston & Maine Railroad as a shelter for batteries for the electric railway that ran between Portsmouth, Hampton and North Hampton.  From 1992 to 2006 it was used as a Police Station.  It has since been in a state of disrepair and is used for storage.  It has a very severe mold problem and is not heated.  The property is .28 acres, and is a narrow lot.  The building is a single story with an exterior area of 2650 sq. ft.  The property is currently assessed for $354,900, of which the land is $278,000 and the building at $78,900 (sic).  A thorough report on the building was done in July 2013.  This included three options for rehabilitation.  The parking is limited and there are limited options for further usage.  It currently houses the Rye Senior Van.  An alternative for housing that would need to be found.  He referred to potential property tax revenues of $5000 to $10,000 annually if the property were sold.

            Peter Crawford offered an amendment.  He said that the purpose of the amendment was to ensure that we get an appropriate amount of consideration for the building.  As structured, the Selectmen could sell it to an abutter for $5000 or do what they wanted to do with the Parsonage Apartments a couple of years ago, which was to sell them for a dollar.  I would like to place a restriction on this.  Get the appraisal and then sell it for 90 percent of that or above, and in no event less than $200,000.  I believe that that is reasonable.  If there is an offer that doesn’t fit those parameters they could bring it back to Town Meeting and we could approve it.  I’m in favor of selling the building, but not for a bargain price, he said.

            Moderator Eaton said that the specific language adds at the end “Further Town Meeting authorization shall be required prior to the transaction unless the consideration, after deducting any town-borne closing costs, exceeds 90 percent of the appraisal amount and such consideration is more than $200,000.”  Joe Cummins seconded.  Mr. Crawford pointed out that language about customary closing costs had been omitted.  Mr. Eaton said that it had not been.

            Selectman Musselman said that the property is somewhat unique.  It has limited depth to ground water.  There is a building there that would need to be taken down.  Appraisals are the view of a single individual.  Sometimes they are easy and sometimes not.  This one is a bit out of the ordinary.  There may be a situation where a proposal is 80 percent of the appraisal that would be a great deal for the Town to take.  Waiting for Town Meeting authorization the following year might result in the opportunity being lost.  This would tie the Town’s hands inordinately.

            Selectman Winslow pointed out that appraisals could be high or low.  It is our intention to get the best possible price for this. 

            Shawn Crapo urged that the proposed amendment be voted down as there could be a proposal short of 90 percent but that could include costs borne by the purchaser.  He asked whether there were other costs than those associated with mold.

            Selectman Winslow said that the 2013 study said that there were no issues with the soil or ground water. 

            Doug Nelson said that he had met with the Town Manager and gone through the property.  Non-profit use is a possibility that might benefit from the building.  I am not for the amendment and I hope that non-profits are considered, he said.


(143:32 elapsed)

            Selectman Musselman said that the septic system has malfunctioned and needs replacement.  There was environmental remediation adjacent to the building that was cleaned up.  People considering the property will need to review that.  There is no indication as to the soil condition underneath the slab.  It is a slab on grade.  The building has not been heated for a long time and there has been increasing mold over the years.  All of those things are going to have to be taken into account by those looking at the building.  There are certainly stories that are going to have to be investigated by anyone considering purchasing the property.

            Joe Cummins offered a friendly amendment to change the percentage to 75 percent.  Peter Crawford said that he would agree to that.  Moderator Eaton said that, since Mr. Cummins had seconded the motion, he gathered that the amendment was acceptable to him. 

            Lori Carbajal suggested that a reserve option for the building and land be considered.  There might be abutters who would be willing to get together and purchase the property. 

            Mr. Crawford pointed out that the article, with Mr. Cummins’ friendly amendment requires sale for 75 percent of the appraisal or more, and in no event less than $200,000 or Town Meeting approval would be required.  I think that takes care of the issue.  He also pointed out that he believed that a Special Town Meeting could authorize the sale if time was of the essence.

            Moderator Eaton called for a vote, after reading the proposed amendment: 


“Further Town Meeting authorization shall be required prior to the transaction unless the consideration, after deducting any town-borne costs other than customary seller-paid closing costs, exceeds 75 percent of the appraisal amount and such consideration is more than $200,000.”


Editor’s note:  The version read at this time included the reference to customary closing costs omitted earlier.

The motion failed.


(149:15 elapsed)

Brian Klinger asked whether this could be a site for the Salt Shed. 

            Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy said that the site is too small.  The lot is probably smaller than the building being proposed, he said.

            Connie Olson said that she is the Chairman of the Board of Rye Senior Serve, which is a non-profit.  The building is used to garage the Senior Serve van.  It provides transportation for many residents for grocery shopping and social events.  It was purchased through donations about 2006.  It was kept in the Town Hall parking lot for many years.  Given our severe winters and hot summers, a lot of damage occurred to the van.  In 2014 we requested the use of the garage section of the Old Trolley Barn.  The building is a bit of a disaster.  It was full of greenhead fly traps.  The automatic door was inoperative.  Senior Serve volunteers cleaned out the building.  We paid to have the garage door repaired.  This has been a life saver for us.  We are an all volunteer organization.  We receive an annual $1500 stipend from the Town.  The rest of our income is from donations.  All of the people whom we serve and all of our volunteers are Rye residents.  This building is providing an important service for our community.  I fail to see why we would want to do away with a building that is providing an important service. 

            Jaci Grote said that she agreed with Ms. Olson and Mr. Nelson.  Limiting the town to a specific value for the property is wrong.  If a non-profit organization wanted to buy it that might be something for the Selectmen to consider.

            Chris Brown said that he does not believe in limiting what the building could be sold for. 

            Moderator Eaton reminded everyone that the motion to limit the amount that the building could be sold for failed.

            Laura Brown called the question.  Mrs. MacAlpine seconded. 

            The motion carried.

            Moderator Eaton ordered Article 27 to appear on the ballot as written.


Article 29:  Town Center Visioning ($6000) (159:10 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton read the warrant article. 

            Steven Borne addressed the article.  He said that the Parsonage Apartments Long-Range Planning Committee concluded that they would like to make a recommendation, but did not want to do so in a vacuum.  We really need to look at the big picture.  Let’s recap some of the things that we’ve heard tonight.  Eight years of kicking the can down the road with the Town Hall, $356,000.  All of the things that we just heard about the Trolley Barn.  We spent $40,000 to reinforce the Public Safety Building so that the space above the apparatus bay could be used.  We’ve never really costed out moving the five bedrooms and other rooms on the second floor of the Fire Department and putting them above the apparatus bay.  There are security concerns, but we have a Jeep on Mars.  You’re telling me we can’t come up with a good solution to handle those concerns?  We’ve heard that the Transfer Station is not the best place in the world for it to be located.  What this article does is bring in a third party to listen to what the community wants, not the Selectmen saying.  Ooh, let’s do this.  Ooh, let’s do that.  This is to get your input and what you think is important.  Put the options on the table, and come up with a game plan.  If Article 9 gets voted down and TD Bank North gets voted down, where are we?  We’re dead in the water.  At least we would have a game plan and can start moving forward.  When we decided to build the Public Safety Building we should have been talking about a plan for the Trolley Barn.  This will start the process and have a third party come up with options.


(163:25 elapsed)

            Selectman Jenness offered an amendment to strike the next to last sentence, which reads “[n]o significant funds, other than for acquisition of the land and building, shall be expended on the former TD Bank building until after the sessions have been completed, and any report has been delivered and duly considered.”  The reason for the amendment is that the Purchase and Sale Agreement requires closing by April 1, 2018, if the transaction is approved.  Selectman Winslow seconded.

            Steven Borne said that he would accept that as a friendly amendment as the direct use language has been taken out of the TD Bank article. 

            Bill Epperson said that it is a rare occurrence, but he agrees with Mr. Borne. 

            Someone said “did you get that on film?”

            Moderator Eaton quipped that it would be stricken from the minutes.  There was laughter.

            Mr. Epperson said that he had been on the ad hoc committee some time ago.  It occurred to the Committee that they were talking about a piece of property in the Town Center.  It was virtually impossible to isolate that piece of property without looking at the overall Town Center.  There was a suggestion at one point to look at a Charrette.  That would involve having an outside set of people come and take a look at the Town Center and come up with what it might look like.  There’s no obligation to execute that plan or put any money towards it.  The entire cost was about $5000.  My guess is that if we went out to our cars and shook the cushions of our couches we could come up with $5000 to pay for this.  I’m in favor of it significantly.  All you have to do is look at small towns like Stratham and Newmarket and see what they have done with their small downtowns.  If we’re going to move into the 21st century and a town that we all have a vision for this should be done.

            There was no further discussion of the amendment to Article 29. 

            The motion to amend carried.  Moderator Eaton said that it was a rare showing of unanimity. 

            John Loftus said that he had done similar things in New York.  The cost of $6000 seems to be awfully small.

            Steven Borne said that it is very astute question and underscores the value.  Groups like Plan New Hampshire consist of entirely volunteers.  All they ask is $6000, he said.

            Ray Jarvis said that he was on the Committee that looked at the Parsonage.  It was clear early in the process that the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing with regard to planning.  The Parsonage is on a common lot with the Library which is at some point going to want to expand.  It also shares the lot with the Historical Society.  It has a parking lot associated with it.  Nobody connects that with the Police or any of the other departments.  The Charrette would be done in a weekend with meetings with the department heads and the people.  They bring all kinds of expertise.  I guess a lot of them are retired and want to keep a hand in.  That is why the cost is low.  As of 2016 they had gone to 73 towns.  If they were not providing decent ideas the word would have gotten out that they were not worth bringing in and they would not have extended their work to 73 towns.  When we told the Board of Selectmen that we could not honestly give a clear recommendation on the Parsonage as we did not understand the context, dynamics, visions and feelings of the townspeople, and that we wanted to have these folks come in we were told “no, your mission was to give us a recommendation on the Parsonage.”  I said “are you kidding?”


(172:03 elapsed)

            Alex Herlihy said that he strongly supports the article.  I sit with the Rye Heritage Commission.  The Town Museum sits on town land.  We have a long-term lease on it, which was entered into early in the century. 

            With regard to the grants that I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t throwing out some lofty idea.  I was talking about grants that would be matched by private donations which the Heritage Commission has already solicited and any taxpayers would vote.  It wasn’t some romantic notion, Mr. Herlihy said.

            Frank Drake said that he is a reasonably intelligent guy so he cannot argue with the logic of Article 29.  He asked about the mention of the “existing Town Hall building.”  He said that he is an unabashed advocate of Article 9, of tearing that sucker down and moving on.

            A sigh was heard in the background.

            Frank Drake turned towards the sound.

            Moderator Eaton said that there had been enough groans back and forth.

            Mr. Drake said that, even if Article 9 passes, nothing could happen as this article would be in conflict.  He made a friendly amendment to remove “existing.” 

            Steven Borne said that Mr. Drake should get anything that he wants.

            Mr. Drake made a motion to strike the entire sentence, including the mention of the existing Town Hall.  It is unnecessary to delineate the buildings.

            Moderator Eaton said that the motion was to strike the third sentence, which reads “[i]t shall include, at a minimum, visions for the Town Center, together with the walkways and streets, including the existing Town Hall building, the Parsonage Apartments, the Library, the Public Safety Building, the Junior High School, the Trolley Barn (Old Police Station) and, if Article 12 passes, the former TD Bank building.”  Scott Marion seconded.  Moderator Eaton erroneously referred to Article 10 rather than 12.

            Scott Marion said that the sentence imposes an unnecessarily constraint.  Like Mr. Epperson I in general agree with Mr. Borne, but I think it would be cleaner not to restrict and constrain the article.

            Peter Crawford said that that he would be in favor of the amendment if it just struck the word “existing,” but that’s not the amendment.  I would suggest that we vote this down and then agree to remove that word.  It says “at a minimum,” so I don’t think it constrains at all, it just enumerates what would be included.  I don’t see the point of the amendment and I think that there is an intent to ensure that all of the buildings are included.  Obviously if Article 9 passes we’re going to have a new Town Hall not an existing one, so that amendment would make sense, he said.

            Shawn Crapo pointed out that Article 9 does not have a date for the new Town Hall to be constructed by.

            Selectman Musselman said that he would support the amendment.  Another issue with the list is the Trolley Barn.  If there is a vote to sell that, there might be a contrary recommendation from the visioning group.

            Jaci Grote agreed with Mr. Drake’s proposal.

            Scott Marion called the question.  Mae Bradshaw seconded.  The motion carried.

            The amendment passed.

            There was no further discussion on Article 29 and Moderator Eaton ordered it to appear on the ballot as twice amended.

            Frank Drake moved to restrict reconsideration on Articles 27 and 29.  Selectman Musselman seconded.  The motion carried.

            The meeting was recessed until 12:30 p.m.