By Susan Morse
Hampton Union, Tuesday, April 5, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
SEABROOK -- The owners of some stores near the site proposed to temporarily house the district court are hoping the court will be good for business, but the move must first be approved by the state Legislature.
House Bill 158, which will permit Hampton and other courts to move, has come out of the Judiciary Committee in Concord and awaits passage by the full House and Senate.
Rep. Tony F. Soltani, R-Epsom, who introduced the bill, said he expects no difficulty in passage.
"It should go fairly quickly, these are not controversial bills," said Soltani. "It would take the name of the town where it is located. It would have to be called the Seabrook District Court."
The bill modifies the current law, which places the court in Hampton, he said.
Soltani said the bill would allow the district court to be located permanently outside of Hampton.
State officials have set no date for the Hampton District Court to move from its location on Winnacunnet Road to the World Gym Complex on Route 1 just south of the Hampton Falls town line.
is pleased with the court relocation.
[Photo by Jamie Cohen]
But John Tang, owner of Tang's Restaurant, which is across the parking lot from the proposed site, joked he will offer a courthouse luncheon special on his menu.
Linda's Breakfast & Lunch Place, open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., may expand its lunch hours to accommodate late traffic, according to Rene Rawson, daughter of owner Linda Foster.
Joe Noradki, who opened the Gold Leaf Tobacconist 10 years ago, said he doesn't know what to expect.
"I really haven't gotten any feedback yet," he said.
Laura Kiernan, communications director for Chief John Justice Broderick, has said the chief justice wants to relocate the court as soon as possible. The current courthouse was fumigated for fleas last year. Mold is growing on the ceiling in the second floor courtroom. The court also is not wheelchair-accessible.
Peter Goodwin, an administrator with the Bureau of Courts who helped find the new temporary location, said a lease has yet to be signed because of the bill.
He said the lease will be year-to-year. He had no estimate on the number of years the court would be there.
The new courthouse landlord would be Bob Bialobrzeski, who owns the space occupied by Seabrook Ace Hardware and works there as well.
The Seabrook District Court would be located behind the hardware store, in a section of the building that was once used to stock Ace's paint and plumbing supplies.
Other businesses in the plaza includes Boat U.S., Nextel, the World Gym and All-stars Sports Bar & Dance Lounge.
Bialobrzeski said court officials found his space for lease through word of mouth. Seabrook Police Chief David Currier asked Building Inspector Paul Garand for suggestions on a temporary court location and Garand suggested the vacant space.
Court officials were looking for 4,000 square feet of space, said Bialobrzeski, and will have twice that much.
The property is 8,000 square feet of open space with fluorescent lights, tile floor and two office rooms on one side. A row of windows looks out to a parking lot.
The court would be responsible for all renovations, said Bialobrzeski.
"They've talked about new lighting, floors, new offices," Bialobrzeski said. "I think they're going to have plenty of parking and put parking out back."
Bialobrzeski said he doesn't know what the courthouse would do for other businesses in the plaza.
"Most people who have to go to court for the day," he said, "are in a lousy mood."