RCL Notes of May 28th Board of Selectmen Meeting


Final Revision B – Provided by the Rye Civic League

Printable version: RCL BOS 5-28-13 Meeting Notes

Present:  Selectmen Jenness, Musselman and Mills.  Also present:  Cindi Gillespie, Michael Magnant

            Editor’s note:  Normally, for ease in finding particular sections using the archived video and audio on the Town website, the times associated with each section are normally indicated.  However, the recording of this meeting is not available, thus no times are provided.


Fire Chief Skip King announced the firefighters’ memorial for the following Sunday.  This will be the first time that Rye is participating, he said.

Approval of minutes

The minutes of the May 7, 2013 public session were unanimously approved with a minor change by Selectman Musselman.  The minutes of the May 7 non-public session were unanimously approved without changes.  The minutes of the May 13, 2013 public session were approved after changes by Selectmen Musselman and Jenness. The minutes of the May 13 non-public session were unanimously approved without changes.

Resignation of Bill McDade as Library Trustee, appointment of Brian Klinger as replacement

            Editor’s note:  This matter had been tabled at the May 13, 2013 meeting, as the Board of Selectmen had not received a resignation letter from Mr. McDade.  Karen Oliver, Chairman of the Library Trustees, was not present at that meeting, however, Victor Azzi, one of the Library Trustees, was present, and stated that the Library Trustees had Mr. McDade’s resignation letter in hand.  See notes of that meeting, page 7.

            Karen Oliver, Chairman of the Library Trustees, opened the discussion by noting that the Selectmen have never required a resignation letter in the past.  Selectman Mills stated that the RSA requires that there be a resignation before they can appoint someone.  Ms. Oliver stated that she did not have permission to share the resignation letter, which was directed to her.  It gives reasons for the resignation, which are personal, she said.  Selectman Jenness stated that the Board of Selectmen cannot appoint a replacement unless there is a vacancy.  Ms. Oliver responded that no RSA provides that the resignation letter must be sent to the Board of Selectmen.

Ms. Oliver then read a portion of the hand-written letter, which stated that Mr. McDade had resigned, effective April 25.  When a copy of the letter was requested by the Board of Selectmen, Ms. Oliver stated that she would provide them a copy but did not immediately do so.

Selectman Musselman then moved to table the issue.  Ms. Oliver then started to sit down in apparent frustration.  Peter Crawford, a Town resident who was present in the audience, then suggested to Ms. Oliver that she show the Selectmen the letter that she had just read from.  Before there had been an opportunity for further discussion on the motion to table, Ms. Oliver got up and asked whether she could show them the letter.  She then handed the letter to someone at the Selectmen’s table, and Town Administrator Magnant appeared to then get up and make a copy, apparently then returning to the room with one or more copies, which he provided to the Selectmen.  Selectman Mills noted that they now had the actual letter and that the appointment of Mr. McDade’s replacement would be taken out of order.

Selectman Musselman made a motion to accept Mr. McDade’s resignation.  All were in favor.  A motion was then made to appoint Mr. Klinger as the replacement, which carried unanimously.  Selectman Mills stated that “once they had the letter, see how easy it was.”  Selectman Musselman noted that even if the RSAs were silent on the issue, they would not approve the appointment of a successor without a resignation.

Listing of Rye Town Hall on State Register of Historic Places

Selectman Mills noted that a letter to this effect had been received.  He noted that Sara Hall had done the work.  Selectman Jenness noted that a sign was available for purchase.  The Heritage Commission had discussed this, she said.  She suggested that, given the pending construction, the sign should be purchased and stored until after construction had been completed.  Selectman Mills agreed that “someone might forget,” so the sign should be purchased now.

Quit claim deed to paper streets, Brown Revocable Trust

The matter was tabled after the Selectmen noted that none of them understood the proposed quit claim deed.

Appointment of Town Hall Committee

Initially, Selectman Mills stated that he would like to send a letter to the members of the 2012 Town Hall Space Needs Committee to gauge their interest in serving on the new Committee.  Selectman Jenness noted that they probably had as good a background as any group.  It would not be the same committee, however.  Gaps would need to be filled where they occur, providing expertise in the history, architecture, and building skills involved.  Editor’s note:  Selectman Jenness served on the 2012 Space Needs Committee.

            Selectman Musselman suggested that two persons be added to the new Committee, beyond those on the prior Committee.  He suggested that he be appointed.  He stated that he had 38 years of experience managing public projects and could contribute.  He suggested also that Victor Azzi be included.  He had provided good input the prior year, and also informally provided input in connection with the RFP that is being sent out to architects.  Selectman Musselman suggested that all 17 members of the 2012 Space Needs Committee be invited to join the new committee.  Editor’s note:  Mr. Azzi was in the audience.

The motion by Selectman Musselman to form a new committee as stated above was seconded by Selectman Mills.  All were in favor.

Selectman Musselman noted that there would be 19 people invited to join.  Broad input is needed, and a community consensus.  When the process moves forward to the design and construction phase, there won’t be 19 people involved.  It wouldn’t get built if there were that many.  His view is that this committee would serve for a year or so, not for four years during construction.

Town Administrator Magnant indicated that he had an RFP that had been drawn up.  He had prepared it, with input from Selectman Musselman, Mr. Azzi, Public Works Director McCarthy, and Selectmen Jenness and Mills.  It follows the Warrant Article and addresses Recreation needs.

Michele Sopher, co-chairman of the Energy Committee, asked whether there had been any consideration given to having the building be “LEED Certified.”  Editor’s note:  LEED means “Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design.”  See www.usgbc.org/leedMs. Sopher asserted that studies have shown that such buildings are not more expensive.  She noted that the Portsmouth Public Library, the Portsmouth Fire Station on Lafayette Rd., and the new Service Credit Union building had all been LEED Certified.  There are requirements relating to alignment with the Master Plan, storm water management, and bike access.  Selectman Jenness stated that Mr. Guadano believed that believed that LEED Certified buildings were more expensive.

Editor’s note:  Art Guadano is the principal of AG Architects which conducted an initial assessment relating to the Town Hall, under contract to the Town, in 2011.  At meetings during late 2011 and 2012, a number of Town residents expressed displeasure at the initial design that his firm had provided.  That design provided for expansion of the Town Hall from its current 6000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft., with a brick addition connected to the existing white clapboard structure.  Some residents also expressed displeasure that available space over the equipment bay of the new Public Safety Building, completed during the middle of the last decade, was not being considered for Town office space.  Many disagreed with the analysis that Mr. Guadano presented at a public meeting in early 2012 that showed that option as being more expensive.  Further funding to proceed on the Town Hall design development was defeated in early 2012 (Warrant Article 10) by 484-830.  That same year, Petitioned Warrant Article 27 passed 1070-268.  That Warrant Article required study of a broader range of options, including the Public Safety Building and the Old Police Station (also called the 1899 Trolley Barn), as well as consideration of the square feet per employee needs of Rye vs. other towns, prior to proceeding on the Town Hall.  

            Selectman Musselman responded to Ms. Sopher by stating that the Town Hall Committee should discuss this issue.  He has been involved with having buildings LEED Certified, as well as others that stopped short of this.  In his experience, LEED Certification may mean adding things that would not otherwise be added.  Also, it does not necessarily mean that the building uses the least amount of energy.

Selectman Musselman moved that the RFP be advanced with a 30 day turnaround.  He stated that they should endeavor to have the first meeting of the Town Hall Committee before the first proposals come in.  He stated that Town Administrator Magnant and Public Works Director McCarthy had met with Rob Doyle regarding the 1899 Trolley Barn (a.k.a. Old Police Station) investigation.  Editor’s note: See notes of May 13, 2013 meeting, pages 4-5, awarding the contract to Doyle.  A separate 2013 Warrant Article 5, providing $9800 for study of this facility’s use for town space, passed 691-391.  The Trolley Barn is located about 100 yards down Central Rd. from Town Hall, on the other side the road and across from the cemetery. 

            Selectman Musselman continued, stating that they are looking at “cold” storage (an apparent reference to an unheated building), demolition of the structure, and its use for a handful of people.  There is also the possibility of more intense use, including for meetings and the Recreation Department.  Of the 2500 sq. ft., 500-800 sq. ft. could be available for offices and meeting spaces, with the rest devoted to the Recreation Department.  However, that would require parking beyond that which is available in the “front yard.”  Editor’s note:  There is currently striping for approximately 10 parking spaces in front of the 1899 Trolley Barn.  Selectman Musselman suggested that additional parking could be provided across Central Rd., and made accessible by a crosswalk.  However, a notch would be required in the stone wall at the cemetery to provide for this.  He asked whether this would be a fatal flaw.  Selectman Jenness stated that there was enough in the proposal already, appearing to reject parking across the street.  Selectman Musselman stated that looking into more extensive use of the Trolley Barn is already in the RFP.

Selectman Musselman suggested that parking behind the 1899 Trolley Barn might also be possible.  He indicated that the Town did not own that land, and that it was probably wetlands.  Selectman Mills indicated that that was not the case.  Editor’s note:  The tax map shows that the parcel behind the 1899 Trolley Barn contains a long thin section, 616 by 106 feet, and the structure on the lot is located on Washington Rd., far away from where a parking lot would be located behind the Trolley Barn.


Selection of David Hynes and N.H. Assessing Services, as the new assessor

Selectman Mills stated that Mr. Hynes came very well respected.  He has worked with Portsmouth and Rochester.  Town Administrator Magnant indicated that he had asked the staff to negotiate the contract.  It had been reviewed by Town Attorney Donovan and the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration.

Selectman Jenness emphasized the importance, expressed by Joanne Drewniak, Assessing Assistant, of having the assessor there on Monday, as that is the day that taxpayers often come in with issues and questions.  She sees nothing in the contract about that.  Town Administrator Magnant responded that there needs to be flexibility.  Mr. Hynes understands that being there Mondays is important.

The motion to enter into the contract carried unanimously.

Sign announcing tours of Pulpit Rock Tower

Selectman Musselman noted that the request provides for a sign of 18 by 36 inches, which, he believes is larger than the permitted four square feet.  Editor’s note:  It is 4.5 square feet.  The motion to approve the sign, provided that it is smaller than four square feet, unless the sign has already been printed (in which case the size limit would apparently be waived), carried unanimously. 

Event permit for America by Bicycle Cross Country Challenge

Police Chief Walsh stated that the permit is for July 23 and August 5.  This group does not raise money, but helps others to do so.  He has the entry form and a map of the route.  The motion to approve the permit carried unanimously.

Appointments to Rye Recycling Education Committee

Susan Anderson, a proposed member of the Committee, spoke up to express surprise that the approval seemed to be limited to 3 persons.  Selectman Mills stated that that was what had been asked for.  Ms. Anderson stated that they wanted 5 or 6 members.  They want to advertise for more members.  Editor’s note:  See notes of April 8, 2013 meeting, page 1 and March 25, 2013, page 4.  The confusion seems to have stemmed from Selectman Mills assumption that the fact that 3 persons were proposing formation of the Committee meant that the Committee would be limited to these three persons.  Selectman Mills suggested 5 members, to avoid a tie vote.

Lisa Moll, Deidre Smyrnos and Susan Anderson were appointed to the Recycling Education Committee for one year.  All were in favor.  Selectman Mills related a situation 20 years ago when a guy on a similar committee had ripped open trash bags to see if people were separating their recyclables.  “It got hot,” he said.  He appeared to caution against similar episodes with this Committee.

Approval of bottled beer sales at Rye Farmers Market

Selectman Mills indicated that this request had come from Jaci Grote.  The request indicated that the beer would not be consumed on the premises.  He expressed concern about the sale of beer adjacent to the church.  The motion to approve the sale of beer was approved unanimously.

Energy Committee input into CIP projects

Tom Archibald of the Energy Committee indicated that there are a number of talented people on the Energy Committee.  Capital improvement projects are likely to include an opportunity to save energy.  This fits within their charge.  At appropriate times it might be appropriate for them to be involved.

Selectman Jenness stated that the CIP Committee does not make decisions.  Rather, they gather information and include it in documents.  Selectman Musselman indicated that they often have trouble filling slots on the CIP Committee.  Selectman Mills suggested that someone from the Energy Committee go to the next meeting of the CIP Committee.  He continued, stating that the CIP Committee decides nothing concrete.  Ask Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy, he said.  His request for a new truck was in the CIP plan, but the Board of Selectman decided that this should wait a year.  Editor’s note:  See notes of December 10, 2012 and December 26, 2012 meetings.  Initially the motion to approve the new truck, placing the warrant article for it on the ballot, had passed by a 2-1 vote, Selectman Mills voting against.  However, after Selectman Mills noted that Selectmen Jenness’ son worked at the Recycling Center, she recused herself, resulting in a 1-1 tie vote.  Ultimately, Selectmen Musselman’s motion to place the warrant article for the truck on the ballot failed for lack of a second at the subsequent meeting.

            Editor’s note:  The statements by Selectmen Jenness and Mills regarding the role of the CIP Committee do not reflect the passage of 2013 Petitioned Warrant Article 21, by 829-208, requiring a public hearing on the CIP Plan, a listing of sources of funds, and a table showing how the proposed capital investments would affect the tax rate.  Also, New Hampshire RSA 674:5 specifically refers to the CIP Plan being recommended by the CIP Committee.

Removal of dandelions at Foye’s Corner

Selectman Mills noted that this is State land.  The request by Susan Sawtelle was referred to the Police Chief, insofar as permission was sought to park a truck in the roundabout to load the plucked dandelions.

Purchasing Policy changes

Town Administrator Magnant indicated that the Board of Selectmen had “sent us to the wood shed” on this issue at a prior meeting.  They had then redone the policy.  Editor’s note:  see notes of May 13, 2013 meeting, page 2.  There is now a “slight” increase in the level of expenditure requiring a purchase order, from $100 to $250.  He indicated that an approval stamp, rather than a purchase order, could be used to authorize expenditures of less than $250.  That would save money.  Finance Director Cindi Gillespie noted that they had gone back to the old numbers on a second authorization level (apparently the level of expenditures that may be made without Selectmen approval).  Selectman Musselman referred to $1500 and $2500.    The motion to approve the new purchasing policy carried unanimously.

Width of travel lanes on Route 1A

Chairman Mills read the letter, in response to one from the Town, indicating that travel lanes of 11 feet would be provided, rather than the 12 foot standard, from the Hampton Town Line to Rye Harbor.  He stated that they will not be adding asphalt, however.  Editor’s note:  See notes of April 22, 2013 and May 13, 2013 meetings.  In response to a letter from Jeff Latimer, the Selectmen had written the State regarding the width of the travel lanes.  Mr. Latimer is a Town resident who owns Gus’ Bike Shop in North Hampton, and has, in the past, supported bicycling interests before the Board of Selectmen.  Narrowing the lanes provides for a wider area outside of the white line, which area is often used by bicyclists.  Studies have also shown a “traffic calming” effect, reducing speeds, when the travel lane is made more narrow.  The section of Route 1A referred to is one not being affected by ongoing water main replacements by the Rye Water District.  These start at Rye Harbor and proceed northward, with two separate sections being replaced.  Public Works Director McCarthy stated that the parking areas will not necessarily be paved.  The paved area will consist of the travel lane plus four feet.  He noted that the 11 feet is a one foot reduction.  Mr. McCarthy indicated that only an overlay was being done.  No shimming is being done.  Selectman Jenness indicated that this could mean more parking areas for cars.  Fire Chief Sullivan stated that other work that had been done had created additional area for parking.  Town Administrator Magnant indicated that they would meet with the State and see where they were.

Open position at the Transfer Center

Mr. McCarthy indicated that, while the open position had been filled, the person had an issue with family demands and was unable to continue.  The Selectmen expressed no opposition to the position being offered to the runner up.

Memorial Day Ceremony

Town Administrator indicated that he had attended the Memorial Day ceremony in Rye, and it had been outstanding.

Final Inspection, Sanctuary Care

Fire Chief Sullivan indicated that the final inspection of this facility is being done.  They are close to opening.  Editor’s note:  This is the new facility on Lafayette Rd., which provides services for Alzheimer’s Disease patients.


Legal opinion on new committees with two selectmen

Selectmen Musselman indicated that there are now two committees with two Selectmen on them.  Editor’s note:  These are the new Town Hall Committee and the Beach Use Ordinance Committee.  He continued, stating that, as had been expected, a legal opinion has determined that, if two selectmen are interacting at a meeting, that meeting must also be noticed as a Board of Selectmen meeting.  There is a recognition that the third member is not present and deliberating.  These deliberations will need to be done elsewhere.

Non-public session

The Selectmen then voted to go into a non-public session on a legal issue.