BOS Meeting October 15, 2013 RCL Notes


Revised Final Revision C – Provided by the Rye Civic League

Present:  Selectmen Musselman and Mills.  Not present:  Selectman Jenness.  Also present: Cindi Gillespie, Mike Magnant

Editor’s note:  For ease in finding particular sections using the archived video and audio on the Town website, the elapsed time is indicated.  Use the slider and the elapsed time indicated at the bottom of the video window to fast forward to the desired section.  Videos on the Town website may currently be accessed at www.town.rye.nh.us by clicking on “Town Hall Streaming” at the bottom left of the screen.  Follow the link for “Town Hall Live Streaming,” then find the meeting by date under “Previous.”

The video starts at 6:31:42 p.m.  The audio was turned on at 6:34:33 p.m. as the meeting was being called to order.

Selectman Mills regarding beach ownership above the high water mark (3:28 elapsed)

Immediately after the call to order and the Pledge of Allegiance, Selectman Mills addressed Peter Crawford, who was in the audience, and read from a 2003 letter written by an Assistant State Attorney General:

“The Purdie settlement, which was executed in the spring of 2000, established the location of the ordinary high water mark on the beach, but it did not conclusively determine the ownership of the dry sand beach above the high water mark.

Selectman Mills, addressing Mr. Crawford, said that “your references [see note below] were all to lakes and ponds.  That’s to the beach, the ocean, and you’re welcome to have a copy of it.”  As he made this last statement, Selectman Mills raised his voice, waved the paper, and then forcefully pushed it across the table.

Editor’s note:  See the notes of the October 9, 2013 Beach Use Ordinance Committee hearing.  Mr. Crawford noted during that hearing that the Town, under the New Hampshire Supreme Court case of Purdie v. Attorney General, 143 N.H. 661 (1999), the Town did not own the land above the mean high water mark along certain beaches.  In the Purdie case, the New Hampshire Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a State law which sought to redefine the high water mark (and the extent of private ownership) to the highest point reached by the tide during the approximately 19 year tidal cycle (a “syzygy tide”).  Mr. Crawford also referred to Lakeside Lodge v. Town of New London, 158 N.H. 164 (2008) which restricts the ability of Towns to impose regulations that extend into bodies of water.  There are two flaws in Selectman Mills’ reliance on the 2003 letter.  First, the letter refers to a “settlement.”  Unlike a court decision which establishes a precedent, settlements are binding only on parties to the particular lawsuit.  This means that the 2000 settlement has no effect on persons beyond the approximately 40 Rye beachfront property owners that were plaintiffs in the Purdie case.  Second, while Lakeside Lodge involved a lake of more than ten acres, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has applied the same principles of state ownership to the ocean as it applies to such lakes.

Selectman Musselman then stated that he was feeling ill and might not be able to attend the entire meeting.

Scott Blaisdell swearing in ceremony as Police Lieutenant (4:24 elapsed)

Town Clerk Beth Yeaton swore in Lieutenant Blaisdell.  A large number of persons, apparently Officer Blaisdell’s family and friends, were present.  The family was invited to the Public Safety Building for refreshments and pizza by Chief Walsh.

James Tegeder: appointment as an alternate on the Heritage Commission (10:29 elapsed)

Selectman Mills indicated that, at the prior meeting, the Selectmen had declined to appoint Mr. Tegeder as he had not “seen his face.”  Selectman Musselman clarified that the appointment was through 2016, and as an alternate.  Both Selectmen present were in favor.

Appointment of Andrea Morrissey as Assistant Town Clerk/Tax Collector (12:40 elapsed)

Beth Yeaton indicated that the position had been posted internally pursuant to the personnel policy.  There was one applicant, who came with glowing recommendations, Ms. Yeaton said.  Selectman Mills indicated that he had not seen her resume.  Anne Morrissey, present in the audience quipped that Andrea is her daughter in law and that she recommended her.  Beth Yeaton indicated that there were recommendations from Jane Holway, Mel Low and Jane Ireland.  Selectman Musselman indicated that he had seen the recommendations and that they were glowing.  Beth Yeaton brought in a copy of a file which Selectman Mills reviewed.  The motion to approve the appointment, contingent upon a successful background check, carried unanimously.

Approval of minutes (19:38 elapsed)

The minutes of the September 23, 2013 meeting were approved unanimously with one change.  The minutes of the September 24, 2013 meeting with Senator Stiles regarding beach issues were approved unanimously with one change.  The minutes of the non-public session on September 23, 2013 were unanimously approved without changes.

Rockingham County Dispatch (21:06 elapsed)

Police Chief Walsh discussed the progress relating to the dispatch center upgrade.  Half of the cost would be paid for by a grant and half by the County.  The County is asking that users of the dispatch center pay a small portion of the cost.  It is not certain that the charge will be instituted, Chief Walsh said, but he requested that it be budgeted for in 2014 as a precaution.  Cyndi Gillespie indicated that, since it is a one-time fee, it should be part of the capital outlay budget.  Skip Sullivan indicated that a charge of $1.00 per resident was proposed for police dispatch, and $0.50 per resident for fire dispatch.

Anne Morrissey letter regarding the parking lot at the Parsonage Apartments (23:51 elapsed)

Editor’s note:  The Parsonage Apartments are owned by the Town.  Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy confirmed that the asphalt was degraded and in need of repaving. Mr. McCarthy stated that the Town’s ability to repave the parking lot out of this year’s budget depended on the cost.  It was agreed that Mr. McCarthy would obtain an estimate.  Selectman Mills indicated that the photographs supplied indicated a danger from falls.  He indicated that the Town or the Housing Partnership could be liable in such a case.

Anne Morrissey indicated that she and two other people had fallen due to the poor condition of the parking lot.  She introduced Susan Weiss as one of the other persons who had fallen and referred to “Andrea” who had also fallen.  Anne Morrissey stated that the Housing Partnership does not do anything unless she is there.  Selectman Mills asked Cyndi Gillespie to look into the liability issue.

Award of Recreation Area parking lot construction to Bauer Construction (27:45 elapsed)

Recreation Director Lee Arthur and Recreation Commission member Gregg Mikolaities addressed this issue.  The bid process was described.  The Recreation Commission had met at 4:30 p.m. earlier that day and recommended that the contract be awarded to Bauer Construction.  They were the low bidder at $19,255.  It was disclosed that 10 trees would be removed.  The lot should be completed by the beginning of December.

Mike Mittelman regarding flag designs (31:48 elapsed)

Mike Mittelman of the Rye Historical Society reported the results of the flag design contest.  Of 92 designs submitted, three were selected.  Selectman Mills stated that he liked the middle one.  Selectman Musselman stated that he liked the one with green in the middle, but asked why it was green, as opposed to the red on the Town trucks.

As there was apparently a Town seal incorporated in the flag, Selectman Musselman indicated that there were still three options on the table as to dates in the Town seal.  Editor’s note:  Alex Herlihy of the Rye Historical Society had pointed out that the date on the Town seal was incorrect, and that the Town was not incorporated in 1726 as appears on the seal.  It was settled in 1623, designated the Parish of Rye in 1726, and became a Town in 1785 according to the Town website.  It was agreed that the design would be run by the Heritage Commission.  Also, as Selectman Jenness was considered to be more artistic, it was agreed that she would look at it.  The matter was tabled.

Mike Mittelman noted that it took a year to go through the process of coming up with a flag design.  They had dutifully moved the sign one or two times a week, he said.  Editor’s note:  At an earlier meeting, the Selectmen had approved the flag contest sign subject to the condition that it be moved periodically.

Model A Ford fire truck (35:50 elapsed)

Fire Chief Skip Sullivan stated that this fire truck is on loan from the Rye Beach Village District and that it is registered by the Town.  He had become concerned regarding the liability issue after a fatal accident in Bangor, Maine.  The fire truck doesn’t need to come out again until the parade in the first week of December.  It can be registered to the Town or the Firefighters Association.  The matter was tabled until Selectman Jenness returned.

Letter from Prescott Greene regarding donation of 1914 fire truck to the Town (39:03 elapsed)

(at 39:24 elapsed, Selectman Musselman indicated that he was too ill to proceed and left the meeting)

Selectman Mills indicated that there could be no motion on the matter but that the issue of the fire truck donation would now be discussed as persons were present relating to the matter.  Mr. Greene stated that he had been a member of the Rye Volunteer Fire Department in the early 1950s.  A vehicle that had belonged to the Town had been run without oil and ended up being sold to him.  He had repaired it and would like to give it back to the Town.  He indicated that the Town of Lynn had also expressed interest (Lynn having at one point owned the vehicle as a hose wagon, according to Skip Sullivan).  Selectman Mills suggested that the vehicle could go into the Goss Barn once completed. They want to have weddings and dances there, Selectman Mills said.  After Selectman Mills asked whether a decision on accepting the donation could be delayed, Mr. Greene indicated that there was no big rush, that he could wait 6-8 months, but others are interested.

Adjournment (46:38 elapsed)

Selectman Mills then indicated that they would then adjourn.  Someone asked whether they should call for a vote as the video was turned off.