BOS and State Beach Discussion April 29, 2014 RCL Notes

H TML: File for Civic News: bosWorkSessionWithStateReBeaches042914revAfinal

 

NOTES OF APRIL 29, 2014 BOARD OF SELECTMEN WORK SESSION

WITH STATE REGARDING BEACH ISSUES

Final Revision A – Provided by the Rye Civic League

Clockwise around the table:  Chris Fetter, State Police, Mike Magnant, Rye Town Administrator, Priscilla Jenness, Rye Selectman, Craig Musselman, Rye Selectman, Lori Carbajal, Beach Committee, Larry Rocha, Beach Committee, Skip Sullivan, Rye Fire Department, Dennis McCarthy, Rye Public Works, Bill Lambert, State Traffic Engineer, Doug DePorter, New Hampshire DOT, District 6 Engineer, Tom Farrelly, 18 Gray Ct., former Beach Use Committee member, Brian Wilson, new Seacoast Regional Supervisor for New Hampshire State Parks, Chris Sununu, Executive Council, Nancy Stiles, State Senator, District 24 (which includes Rye).  Arriving late and sitting between Tom Farrelly and Brian Wilson:  Police Chief Kevin Walsh.  Arriving late and sitting between Craig Musselman and Lori Carbajal:  Gary Woods, State Police.

Present from the public:  Neal Levesque, 14 F St., Rye, Devin Farrelly, 18 Gray Ct., Peter Crawford, 171 Brackett Rd., Victor Azzi, Old Ocean Blvd., Rye, Cecilia Azzi, Old Ocean Blvd., Keith Evelund, 82 Liberty Common.  Arriving late:  Mae Bradshaw.

Editor’s note:  The elapsed times refer to the RCL-provided video recording.

Summary

  1. Selectmen report two beach permits issued already under the new program.
  2. New Regional Supervisor for Seacoast State Parks discusses new regulations and enforcement.
  3. Fireworks and sky lanterns were discussed.

Update from Board of Selectmen on Warrant Articles (2:42 elapsed)

Selectman Musselman stated that the beach permit program was now underway.  Last night the first two were issued at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting.  It went smoothly and was a cordial meeting.  Permits for Zumba and for a third surf shop are pending.

There is also a study regarding parking.  Editor’s note:  Mr. Musselman incorrectly referred to this as a warrant article.  In fact it was a $10,000 line item in the budget.  Six proposals have been received and are under review.  A study will be done over the summer with regard to the number of parking spots and how much of a problem there is.  Solutions include a variety of paid parking alternatives.  This is the first step in a multi-year program.

Selectman Jenness referred to the change in the structure of the Beach Commission.  Selectman Musselman explained how the warrant article creating the Beach Commission had provided for the Commission to supervise a Beach Supervisor, which the Town never hired.  Rather than reappoint a Beach Commission, a five member Beach Committee was appointed to look at the role of the Beach Commission.

(8:05 elapsed)

It was noted at this point that Police Chief Walsh had arrived.  He and Trooper Woods then introduced themselves.

State Beach Activity Update (8:45 elapsed)

Mr. Wilson reported that the rules and policies had been updated.  There is now the ability to write citations on surfing, dogs and other activities that are not permitted.  There is still a question as to who will enforce.  Dogs and surfing are not allowed in general, although dogs are now allowed, leashed, at Hampton State Beach during the off season.  Surfing is allowed at North Beach.

Police Chief Walsh talked about problems with the different rules on State and Town beaches and people going back and forth with dogs and with surfing being prohibited on the State beaches but allowed on Town beaches (outside of certain areas).

Selectman Musselman asked about the surfing during the winter, who is going to enforce the ban on surfing, and who would care.  Selectman Jenness reported that there were dogs on the beach all winter, and they exceed the numbers of surfers.  They go to the State Beach during the winter because parking is easy.

Chief Walsh talked about citations requiring a trip to Concord in connection with an administrative action.  He would like these to be addressed with the Tenth Circuit Court in Portsmouth.

There was then discussion about dog waste.  Mr. Wilson stated that he believed that the fine was $50 for failing to pick up such waste.  That led to a number of anecdotes about dog waste.  Mr. Wilson reported that there are waste bags adjacent to the no dogs permitted sign.

DOT regarding byway study, anticipated changes (22:35 elapsed)

Mr. DePorter reported the results of a survey.  This year there will be paving starting at Rye Harbor where they left off last year.  That is scheduled for after Labor Day because they did not know when the pipe installation would be complete.

Mr. Lambert reported that a comprehensive look at the parking in Rye was ongoing.  A single comprehensive regulation is being developed.  Editor’s note:  He is apparently referring to Route 1A.  He has been working with Chief Walsh and Mr. McCarthy.   The decision on what to do will be based mostly on the Town’s input because they will be doing the enforcement. Once the list is complete, the sign work can be done within a month.  It will be mostly tweaking.  The State would prefer no parking but understands that there needs to be parking.  They would thus defer to whatever the Town wants to prohibit.  The State has the authority to file a regulation, but if the Town does not agree and is not going to enforce it, it would not be very useful.

Selectman Musselman spoke about the parking on the east side of Ocean Blvd. near Wallis Sands Beach having been prohibited overnight without Town input.  Mr. Lambert responded that he had seen some comments about a request having come from DRED because of concern about the State lot not being underutilized.

There was then discussion about who was going to stripe the crosswalks on the newly-paved section of Route 1A.  It appeared that the State is responsible for striping only those crosswalks that provide access to the State Beach.  There was an assurance that this would be done by Memorial Day.

There was discussion about the water main project and having DOT coming down on the contractor to make sure that the pavement is being patched properly.  Chief Walsh and Mr. McCarthy reported that some progress had been made with the contractor.

Police Enforcement issues  (34:04 elapsed)

Chief Walsh reported good cooperation with the State Police.

Fire Chief Sullivan raised an issue about the Rye Fire Department not having the right to request a Certificate of Occupancy with regard to flameproofing of tents used at Ragged Neck and Odiorne Pt.  The State Fire Marshall believes that the Fire Department has the right to request these under RSA 155 if there are more than 50 people under canvas, even if the event is being held on State property.  Mr. Wilson reported that the tents are now typically being erected for the duration of the season.  He suggested a seasonal permit.

There was discussion about the John Smith monument at Ragged Neck and a ceremony during August to occur there.

Beach Committee, Fireworks, Sky Lanterns, Parking (40:10 elapsed) 

Lori Carbajal reported that the group was diverse.  Three members are not present.  Larry Rocha described his experience as a lifeguard on the Jersey Shore for 18 years and as a Captain of a group of 60 guards over 10 years.  He was in charge of the paid parking as well.

Ms. Carbajal stated that their role would be to make recommendations.  She hopes that they will have a role in looking at the new permit system so that there can be a compromise between the parties that can keep people happy.

Senator Stiles asked who the contact should be if residents have a problem.  Chief Walsh stated that it should be the Police Department.

Tom Farrelly asked about the late night fireworks.  Often, once a cruiser arrives the show is over.  Chief Walsh spoke about some complexities in the law which permits possession, but not use, of certain fireworks.  July 3 and 4 the community has pretty much been allowed to do what they want.  There are some elaborate shows that are illegal.  There have been some unfortunate accidents.  In 2012 a juvenile lost some fingers after a bottle rocket was placed in a glass container.  There is also the possibility of a Town ordinance being requested from the Selectmen.  Fire Chief Skip Sullivan talked about fireworks being out of control in New Hampshire due to lobbying.  What had been illegal 10 years ago is now legal.

Chief Sullivan expressed disappointment that the Town had turned down an additional police officer in the last election.  Selectman Musselman said “we tried.”  Tom Farrelly said “it was heartbreaking.”

There was discussion about sky lanterns.  Senator Stiles reported that the legislation had ended up stating that it was illegal to sell them in the State without informing the customer that they need to be tethered.

Senator Stiles asked whether the Town owned land along Route 1A that could be used for parking.  Selectman Jenness stated that the State had already acquired all of the suitable land.  Selectman Musselman stated that the parking study would be looking at remote sites.  The Town owns some conservation land, he said, but indicated that this land would probably not be suitable.

Chief Sullivan asked that Mr. Sununu make sure that the four cents goes to roads and bridges.  Editor’s note:  This is an apparent reference to a recent increase in the gasoline tax.  Senator Stiles reported that it would.   There would not be a dime skimmed away for anything else, she said.

Review (55:10 elapsed)

Senator Stiles summarized what she had heard at the night’s meeting.

Congestion and Parking (59:13 elapsed)

Mr. Farrelly raised the issue of congestion and parking and the research done by Senator Stiles regarding the ability to put up meters and where the revenue would go.  It was clarified that the revenues would go to the Town, he said.  Senator Stiles spoke about an analysis and the wheels of government turning slowly.

Mr. Farrelly stated that Rye is the only place, from Maine to Florida on the coast where there is free parking.  That is leading to ten pounds in a five pound bag.  Why pay to park in Hampton when one can go to Rye for free.  Selectman Musselman stated that the ball is in their court.  There is the right and the ability, the question is whether the revenue will cover the cost, he said.

Audience questions (61:35 elapsed)

Devin Farrelly asked about buffer zones with no parking adjacent to the crosswalks agreed to by DOT.  Mr.  Lambert responded that this would be part of the ongoing study.

She then asked about the vans and campers on Route 1A that are taking up two parking spaces.  Chief Walsh reported that that was also going to be part of the parking study.

Neal Levesque said that, a year and a half ago, people had come together because of the chaos, danger and destruction of the place that we all like.  A lot of people have stepped up to the plate.  We are in a much better position this year than last.  He thanked people for getting together.

Cecilia Azzi asked about solar-powered lights that she had seen in Kittery where pedestrians could set off the lights.  Mr. Lambert spoke about one such device in the State.  This could be looked into, he said.  The type of device in Kittery is approximately $20,000.  The one in Epping is around $100,000.  There is a similar one in Meredith.  Ms. Carbajal spoke about the pedestrians slowing down the traffic.

Selectman Musselman spoke about the bridge to New Castle and a message for the DOT that the bridge did not need to be a lift bridge.  It would cost millions of dollars more.  Senator Stiles reported that there would be a public hearing coming up.  The view of many at the table is that it should be a lift bridge as the other end does not have a bridge that lifts.  Selectman Musselman stated that he wouldn’t be attending the public hearing as his firm designs bridges.

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