By Steve Jusseaume
Hampton Union, Friday, June 6, 2003
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON - Nine old barns in town were granted tax relief this week by the Board of Selectmen.
The nine structures were submitted for abatement by property owners following the passage last year of state legislation granting local boards the authority to grant tax relief for what they consider historic buildings in their communities.
Nine land owners submitted requests for their barns a month ago, and all nine received some percentage of relief, ranging from 25 percent of value to 75 percent. One old barn, considered the most aesthetic as well as historic, received a 75 percent reduction.
A barn owned by Philip A. Towle at 105 Towle Farm Road was given a 75 percent reduction. The 2,508-square-foot Towle barn is registered with the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources and is widely considered the most historic barn in town. The Towle barn "has a pedigree," Selectman Cliff Pratt told members of the board in recommending the 75 percent abatement.
A barn on Exeter Road and owned by the Diane R. Riley Trust was granted 60 percent relief. The 38-foot by 84-foot Riley barn includes an attached shed and totals 3,672 square feet. Pratt, who investigated all of the barns submitted for consideration, said the Towle and Riley barns were in the best condition of any in town.
Two barns were granted 50 percent relief. Ann McDermott's 34-foot by 36-foot barn at 222 Winnacunnet Road, built in about 1750, was originally used for livestock. And Ansell W. Palmer's 30-foot by 40-foot barn at 204-206 Winnacunnet Road was used for hay at the time it was built.
The Board of Selectmen, again following Pratt's recommendations, granted 35 percent relief to a barn owned by Peter Janetos at 28 Park Ave. Four remaining submissions were granted 25 percent tax relief, including a circa 1820 barn owned by Barbara and Terry Stukowski at 80 North Shore Road, a mid-1800s barn at 67 North Shore Road owned by David Cropper, the Susan Williams Erwin barn at 205 Winnacunnet Road, and an 1850 barn restored in 1975 owned by Marsha and David Skoglund at 271 Winnacunnet Road.
The tax relief, in the form of an easement, is in place for 10 years. Town Assessor Robert Estey could not give a monetary value to the abatements at Monday's meeting.
Board Chairman Brian Warburton viewed some of the barns during his travels this past week. "I find myself looking at old barns much differently now," Warburton said.