Final Revision B – Provided by the Rye Civic League


            Present (clockwise around table):  Town Administrator Michael Magnant, Selectmen Craig Musselman, Priscilla Jenness and Phil Winslow, Finance Director Cyndi Gillespie. 

            Also present and sitting in the audience or the lobby outside:  Police Chief Kevin Walsh, Interim Fire Chief Tom Lambert, Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy, 

            Persons present from the public included:  Steven Borne, Deb Crapo, Peter Crawford, Alan Gould, Elizabeth Sanborn, Von Sanborn, Jenny Sears.


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 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 6:30:36 p.m. (0:00 elapsed).




1.      The new Fire Chief, Mark Cotreau, was introduced.

2.      A doctor or registered nurse is being sought to serve on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigation Commission, formed by State legislation.  Apply prior to the next Board of Selectmen meeting on September 11.

3.      The Town will continue to support the Coalition Communities (communities opposing Donor Towns) after it was revealed that a State legislative committee is looking into school funding.

4.      Numerous residents were present to complain about safety issues on Dow Ln., many proposing that it be made a dead end.  Despite repeated attempts to get the selectmen to agree to next steps and a timetable, Selectman Musselman said that it would appear on the agenda if and when they decide to take up the issue again.

5.      The bid for Shoals View Dr. paving, authorized by a $125,000 warrant article this year, came in above the budgeted amount.

6.      Town Hall improvements, including replacement of the back stairs and enclosure of the Town Finance Director’s office, are being considered for this year.




            There were no announcements.


Public comment (0:44 elapsed)


            Selectman Musselman said that Dow Ln. could be discussed when that agenda item arises.  He warned that the purpose of the public comment period is not to ask questions.  The last couple of times, comments have gone on for 20-25 minutes.  In the future, these will be limited to the five minutes per person allotted, he said.

            Deb Crapo complained about the new assessed valuations and said that the contract assessing firm is using appraised values, not assessed values.  She said that her land is valued at $.5 million, but, the next street over, the land is valued for much less.  My taxes will go up almost 40 percent, while the town in general is up 14 percent, she said.

            Steven Borne expressed hope that the appointment to the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigation Commission would be made later, and that it will only be announced tonight.  He also voiced various concerns with the Master Plan process, and said that the town needs to “up its game” on planning.


Sealing of minutes (9:09 elapsed)


            The motion to seal the minutes of the non-public session on August 22, 2017 carried unanimously.


Consent Agenda


            All four items were unanimously approved.  None were taken off of the agenda.


Minutes (10:30 elapsed)


            The minutes of the August 14, 2017 meeting were unanimously approved with changes.  Selectman Musselman commented that he had no idea what he was saying when he said that the Superintendent has purview over Rye Elementary School.  The issue of decision making regarding the schools needs to be researched, he said.  The minutes of the non-public session of the same day were unanimously approved without changes.  The minutes of the public and non-public meetings of August 22, 2017 were unanimously approved without changes.


Introduction of Mark Cotreau, new Fire Chief (17:20 elapsed)


            Chief Cotreau was present with his wife Priscilla.  He said that he had started his career in Dover, NH in 1981 and that he graduated from the New Hampshire Fire Academy.  He said that he is excited about moving to the area.

            Town Administrator Magnant said that it was not yet Interim Fire Chief Tom Lambert’s last day, but thanked him for his service.  He also thanked Alan Gould who, he said, had conducted the search at cost.  Editor’s note:  Mr. Gould is Rye’s former Police Chief and Town Administrator.  He then read some of the comments that Mr. Gould’s firm, MRI, had received when talking to references.


Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigation Commission (24:20 elapsed)


            Selectman Musselman said that the Selectmen have a copy of HB484 in their packets.  That bill set up this Commission.  There are Senate and House appointments and obligations for appointments from the minority and majority parties, he said.  He said that someone with a medical background would be preferred.  He suggests that volunteers be requested, with responses due prior to the next Board of Selectmen meeting. 

            Selectman Winslow agreed and said that they should be proactive.  He referred to Tom Sherman and Burt Dibble as medical doctors who are possible candidates.  Editor’s note:  Dr. Sherman was recently the State Representative for Rye, but ran unsuccessfully for State Senate rather than for re-election to his House seat.  Dr. Dibble is a member of the Rye Zoning Board of Adjustment.

            Other possible candidates who are medical doctors were mentioned.  Selectman Musselman said that a Registered Nurse might also qualify.


Infrared repairs to Wallis Rd. (29:55 elapsed)


            Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy said that Felix Marine had presented options.  They are willing to do the small project.  The Town has no experience with the infrared process, which involves bringing in propane heaters and adding asphalt.  Heating is done to two inches deep.  Repairs should be done when the temperature is above 40 degrees and rising.  He said that Greenland finds road repair more challenging due to monetary issues.  If Rye were to repave both Wallis and Sagamore Roads it would consume an entire year’s paving budget, he said.

            Selectman Winslow said that he would like a quarterly update on use of the $119,000 in Highway Block Grant funds.  Editor’s note:  See the notes of the August 14, 2017 meeting during which a grant of approximately this amount for additional funding, from the State surplus, was accepted.

            The motion of Selectman Musselman to authorize entering into the contract with Felix carried unanimously.


Coalition Communities contribution (36:38 elapsed)


            Town Administrator Magnant said that he had put this on the agenda as he had not heard back from the attorney for the Coalition.  He has since heard back, and there is a legislative committee that will be studying school funding.  Thus, the town probably should still provide its contribution of $5000 per year. 

            Selectman Musselman explained the history.  Rye residents were once on the hook for significant taxes.  A total of 35 property rich towns, including Wolfeboro, Portsmouth, New Castle and Newington participate in the Coalition, he said.  Editor’s note:  In response to the Claremont decision of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, that determined that funding local education solely through local property taxes unconstitutionally deprived residents of property poor towns of their constitutional rights, a state-wide property tax was instituted.  While that state-wide tax is still on the books, and in fact, still appears as a $2.49 per $1000 assessed valuation charge on the most recent tax bills, in reality, Rye is able to keep all of the funds that it collects from this tax.  As recently as 2004, however, Rye had to remit over $2 million to the State to be used to fund education in property poor School Districts.  Rye was considered a “donor town” as it was property rich.


Policy on interest on overdue taxes (39:37 elapsed)


            Town Finance Director Cyndi Gillespie said that the auditors had noticed that there is no written policy on this.  While the process under the policy is not changing from past practice, there was some confusion with the change in the Tax Collector as to her authority to waive interest.

            Selectman Musselman referred to a maximum $25 waiver authority without Board of Selectman approval.  He said that there had been a circumstance this year where a notice of taxes due was not mailed to the correct address due to a change of address.  In addition, his own tax payment had been credited to the wrong account.  He suggested that these sorts of situations could always be handled by the Tax Collector without Board of Selectman involvement.

            Selectman Winslow asked what the Town’s cost of borrowing would be if it used it.  Ms. Gillespie responded that it was about 3 percent.  Selectman Winslow expressed concern that residents are being hit with 12 percent interest.  Ms. Gillespie said that the rate is specified by State law.  When refunds are issued, these are subject to 6 percent interest, she said. 

            All were in favor of approving the policy, as modified by Selectman Musselman’s comment.


Notary/Justice of the Peace fees (45:08 elapsed)


            Under this policy, the discussion was that the Town will pay for the expenses of town employees who become notaries.  It was revealed that there is no charge to Rye residents and property owners for this service.

            Ms. Gillespie stated that there are three persons in the Town Clerk’s office who are notaries, and three more “upstairs.”  The cost is $75, but it is not annual.  Mr. Magnant said that certifications are good for ten years.

            All were in favor of approving the policy.


Policy on use of the Town Seal (48:00 elapsed)


            Town Administrator Magnant said that the Heritage Commission is planning a fund raiser in which baseball caps and t-shirts would be sold, potentially with the town seal.  He inquired of the Town Attorney, who said that the decision was up to the Board of Selectmen, he said.

            Selectman Musselman referred to a long policy against corporate logos on banners in Rye.  A couple of years ago, there was a mailing to raise money for Town Hall that had a realtor’s logo on it.  The Rye Historical Society is allowed to sell the Town Flag, which includes the Town Seal, he said. 

            Selectman Jenness noted that many responses to the Town’s requests for proposal include the Town Seal.  Selectman Musselman noted that his firm does this with their proposals.

            Selectman Winslow asked what protection could be obtained if the Town Seal is registered or copyrighted. 

            Mr. Magnant said that the Town Attorney would have to look into that, as it is not his area of expertise.

            Selectman Jenness suggested that a policy be drafted.  Selectman Winslow nodded in agreement.


Dow Lane safety issues and proposed elimination of through traffic (58:12 elapsed)


            A large crowd of Dow Lane Residence were in attendance filling all available seats in the meeting room.  Opening remarks and attendee comments:


Jenny Sears - 6 Dow Lane

·                       Aware of deferred requests re:  Dow Lane

·                       Aware used as access point since 1809, but that cut through James Dow farm did not take into consideration cars since they were not invented until 1886.

·                       Of the cars surveyed in the summer of 2016, 60% were recorded speeding

·                       Now it is a through way of convenience.

·                       Original letter had 51 signatures, but that number could be tripled.

·                       Staggering number of close calls

·                       Speeds up to 45-50 mph

·                       Even technology such as Apple and Google Maps, Waze, etc. direct drivers to take Dow.  There is no eliminating such technology.

·                       Sears family has a 4 year old and an 18 month old

·                       Already her car was demolished from being rear ended just pulling into her driveway

·                       Only answer is to shut off where road meets Route 1


Elizabeth Sanborn - 16 Dow Lane

·                       Echo Jenny Sears comments

·                       Lived on Dow 20 plus years

·                       One of the remaining affordable neighborhoods.

·                       Rye needs young families such as our neighbors

·                       Road is currently unsafe for children and pets


Debra Chase - 31 Dow Lane

·                       Lived on Dow for 33 years and it has just gotten worse.

·                       Drivers don’t obey the three foot rule

·                       We’ve previously asked for speed bumps, but never got any response

·                       Police are there at wrong times…and drivers just spot them.


Betsy Bass - 40 Dow Lane

·                       Resident for 35 years.

·                       30 years ago they approached BOS for same issue and were just “moved along”

·                       In some Scandinavian countries cars are banned from certain areas.

·                       History shows that at one time there was not a light at Breakfast Hill

·                       It is time to address our road


Robert Lonman (sp?) - 26 Ham Lane


Don Magstrom - 175 Washington Road

·                       House looks right down Dow

·                       Cars traveling faster & faster

·                       People don’t see stop sign, run up onto my lawn


Brett Mulvey - 48 Dow Lane

·                       Lived on Dow for 8 years

·                       Always nervous when walking daughter in stroller


Steve Borne

·                       Commuted 15 years and used Dow Lane, but now it has gotten so much worse that one can’t get onto Route 1


(59:24 elapsed)

Police Chief Kevin Walsh invited to speak

·                       Commented that the open communication with residents was good

·                       Letter from Chief Walsh to BOS dated 8/25 shared with Jenny Sears

·                       His team is taking about different strategies to take, but no firm action yet

·                       Most people traveling 35-45 mph…but needs to try and get it to 30 mph, the posted speed limit

·                       Will get Message Board up.


Selectman Priscilla Jenness

·                       Debris comment in letter…Don’t think you’re alone. Love Lane is the worst on record.

·                       Traffic by my house at Cable Road & Central is horrible.

·                       All places in town have speeding problems.

·                       The State has no sign on Route 1 announcing change of speed to Dow Lane.


Chief Walsh

·                       Thanks for the ideas, we will discuss it in the District 6 meeting


Selectman Priscilla Jenness

·                       Perhaps they can extend the approach 25 feet


Selectman Phil Winslow

·                       In your letter, Chief, you said it was not in the best interest of the town to make Dow Lane    a cul-de-sac.


Chief Walsh

·                       Cars speeding are Rye residents, who use four access points to enter and exit Rye


Selectman Phil Winslow

·                       Elwyn, Lang (not signaled but working on), Washington, Dow.

·                       In future, all will be signaled except Dow.

·                       May need to face up to making Dow a cul-de-sac.


Chief Walsh

·                       Speed is the number one quality of life complaint


Selectman Priscilla Jenness

·                       Can’t reroute to Washington Road as it would mean 2000 more trips in front of schools if cul-de-sac


Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       Two intersections in Rye don’t work:  Washington & Wallis and Dow & Route 1

·                       Discussion ensued abut squaring off entrance in North Hampton, not in Rye


Chief Walsh

·                       45 mph is speed limit going north on Lafayette Road


Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       ——- will never slow it down


Vaughan Sanborn

·                       It would if police catch


Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       Questioned if there was enough land to make a cul-de-sac


Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy

·                       Right-of-way is 33 feet wide


Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       Can’t do cul-de-sac

·                       Not sure it’s BOS’ decision to dead end a road.  May need Town Meeting approval.

·                       Had an issue last year at Ocean Blvd. and Fair Hill (Shoals View), and the warrant article passed by a large majority

·                       Personally I agree with all of you if we had the land.


Selectman Priscilla Jenness

·                       Do we have an accident count?


Jenny Sears

·                       How many accidents on Dow versus light at Washington?


Chief Walsh

·                       More at light

·                       Got warning light regarding red light….issue coming up hill.


Jenny Sears

·                       The business owner at 56 Dow has parking lot and land.  Nancy Splaine


Tom Swist - 9 Dow Lane

·                       We’ve heard a lot of agreement on speed


Dieter ______ - 23 Ham Lane

·                       Disagreed that Dow was only used by town residents. Others use it as a cut-through


Brian Mulvey

·                       I use it as a cut through


Elizabeth Sanborn

·                       Based on tonight’s conversation, many residents have met with the BOS previously    on this issue.

·                       A traffic study was done last year

·                       Amazing how 65% were speeding.   Lots of warnings given, very few tickets

·                       If a warrant article is proposed, people won’t vote to make dead end unless it is recommended by the BOS


Betsy Bass


Don Magstrom (sp?) - 175 Washington Road

·                       Install a safety cone

·                       Make Rt. 1 35 mph and Washington Road 30 mph not 35


Steven Borne

·                       What next things will the BOS do with traffic study, so the info is available for a warrant article?


Selectman Craig Musselman

            * First of all, you must recognize that there is no money to address now.

            * A traffic study of Route 1 would engage the DOT

            * We need to take under advisement

            * We need more data to develop case.

            * Maybe an advisory Town Meeting vote should be the first step

            * The second step would be a warrant article with dollars attached presented at regular Town Meeting.

Brett ______

·                       Could we request that the BOS look into whether it alone can make the decision?


Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       Not sure to us it matters.  We had the power to do Shoals View but decided to make it a warrant article.  We’d be criticized loudly if we made that big a capital decision.


Jenny Sears

·                       This is a severe safety issue.

·                       One month ago I could have been killed.

·                       This can’t wait a year.


Selectman Craig Musselmann

·                       To Chief Walsh…do you give tickets for speeding at 35 mph?


Chief Walsh

·                       Defending them in court a problem.


Jenny Sears

·                       Can we get speed bumps in the interim?


Chief Walsh

·                       We are looking at a lot of options and we don’t know if that is the best as they require a lot of maintenance dollars.

·                       I don’t want to commit to do for entire town


Selectman Craig Musselmann

·                       These were previously considered only for Recreation Road


Selectman Priscilla Jenness

·                       Don’t know if size of wooded area on Dow that is being referenced would accommodate a fire truck.


Question:  Could the State DOT area be used as turn-around?


(116:15 elapsed)

Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       Dow Lane in Rye ends at town line.


Jeff Sears - 6 Dow Lane

·                       Other roads like Burnette have no turn-around.


Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       Those were designed years ago, if we are going to do it now, it will be done right


Steven Borne

·                       Is there a way to spend money from the surplus on that now?


Selectman Craig Musselman

·                       It doesn’t allow spending on unauthorized items.


(122:34 elapsed)

            Selectman Musselman said that there had been a good discussion, they appreciated their interest and understood the point.  He said that they would “go from here.”

            Someone in the audience asked whether it would come up at a later Selectmen’s meeting.

            Selectman Musselman responded “it will be on the agenda if it’s on the agenda and you’ll see that as it’s posted.”  We’ll encourage you to come when it’s on the agenda, he said.

            There was discussion about making Dow Lane one way.

            Jenny Sears suggested some interim ideas to improve safety that were not viewed favorably by the Selectmen.  Ms. Sears said that she had been plowed into from behind by a car going 45 m.p.h. while she was trying to pull into her driveway.  It is a serious problem right now, she said.

            Chief Walsh said that a ticket had been issued for distracted driving to the person.


(125:38 elapsed)

            Jenny Sears again asked whether anything could be done in the interim. 

            Selectman Musselman laughed and said “tonight?”  He added that it was being discussed for the first time. 

            Selectman Winslow suggested rumble strips.  Chief Walsh said that the thought would be brought up in a meeting with the State, which has jurisdiction of the possible location for the strips.


Letter to State on Harbor Rd. bridge (131:04 elapsed)


            Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy asked the Selectman to sign a document relating to the Harbor Rd. bridge.  That will start the process, he said.

            Selectman Musselman guessed that the bridge might be funded in 2026. 

            Editor’s note:  See the notes of the May 10, 2017, May 22, 2017 and June 12, 2017 meetings.  The weight limit for this bridge has been reduced, following an engineering study of various options to improve the bridge that determined that the bridge is structurally deficient.  This will likely have the greatest impact on cement and rock trucks, although oil trucks and septage trucks will likely need to schedule their bridge crossings for times when they are not full.  Because of the possibility of using state funds, that would not be available for a number of years, acting immediately to resolve the problem, using solely town funds, was rejected.


Shoals View Dr. paving proposal exceeds warrant article amount


            Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy said that the bid opening on this had occurred.  He did not reveal the amount.  Selectman Musselman raised his eyebrows when the low bidder was revealed.  Editor’s note:  2017 Warrant Article 10, which passed 916-628, provides $125,000 for the paving of this dirt road, between Parsons Rd. and Ocean Blvd.

            Mr. McCarthy said that 550 to 800 lineal feet is involved.  It has been determined that it is all ledge, he said. 


Town Hall back stairs and Town Finance Director office improvements (135:35 elapsed)


            Town Finance Director Cyndi Gillespie addressed this issue.  She said that the new Assistant Building Inspector would be starting September 11.  The idea is that the Building Inspector, Peter Rowell, would work out of the old Recreation office.

            Selectman Musselman asked why access could not occur within the building.  Ms. Gillespie responded that it could, but would need to be through Janice Ireland’s office. 

            Town Administrator Magnant said that the current hand rail is not ADA compliant. 

            Ms. Gillespie referred to the difficulty of obtaining responses to small RFPs (requests for proposal).  She also spoke about moving her office to the former Sewer office, and providing a drop ceiling for privacy. 

            That led to discussion about heating and cooling the office if it is enclosed. 

            Selectman Winslow asked whether the expenditure would be precluded due to non-passage of the warrant article on Town Hall.  Editor’s note:  2017 Article 30, to provide $500,000 for town hall improvements, including handicapped access, windows, and energy efficiency, failed to pass 874-702.  Under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 32:8, also known as “no means no,” no money may be expended for a purpose for which no appropriation was made, which is the case when a warrant article fails to pass.  

            Selectman Musselman said that he did not believe that the expenditure would be precluded.  He asked about the cost to rent a trailer.

            Town Administrator Magnant said that they already had those costs.

            Ms. Gillespie said that the modifications would not be done by September 11, but could perhaps be done by November. 

            Selectman Musselman asked how they know that the expenditure would not run afoul of “no means no.”  He also asked whether anything constructed would need to meet code.  He also asked about approval of the Historic District Commission.

            Mr. Magnant said that the Town is not under the purview of the HDC, but in the past has brought issues to them anyway.

            Selectman Musselman said that a courtesy review would be appropriate.  He said a drawing was needed.  He asked whether the HDC would approve composite materials rather than wood.

            Mr. Magnant referred to holes in the Town Hall siding.  They are hoping to get a contractor in to deal with.  There are birds in the attic.  Last year there were squirrels and mice as well, he said. 

            Ms. Gillespie said that she would get a sketch of the proposed changes to the stairway from Peter Rowell. 


Adjournment (155:54 elapsed)


            Whereupon the meeting adjourned at approximately 9:07 p.m.