Municipal Affairs: 1980 - 1988

Chapter 12 -- Part 10

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1980 - 1988


Rejected articles for a $990,000 bond issue for a new Beach fire station and for expansion of the library. At the November election, voters approved the establishment of a State liquor store, sale of beer, and, for the first time at an election, sale of wine in grocery stores, although wine had been sold in stores for several years. Also voted to adopt the state law prohibiting dogs from being permitted to run at large. Voted $170,000 for a new 100-foot aerial ladder fire truck, but against $100,000 for a new Beach pumper; voted against $250,000 to purchase the Precinct fire station, and against $265,000 to purchase the Precinct saltwater fire system. Voted $40,000 to "hire the use" of the Precinct fire station, garage, and fire apparatus, and against an article to approve the separation of the Precinct from the rest of the town. This was the last of a series of articles acted upon at this meeting resulting from the friction between the Precinct and the other parts of town. Voted to spend $60,000 to purchase the Arnold property on Academy Avenue, to permit the New Hampshire Housing Authority to sponsor a low-income elderly housing facility in Hampton, which resulted in the construction of Dearborn House on Dearborn Avenue; to permit the selectmen to grant one or more cable-television franchises in the town; and to inform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the Town would not appropriate funds for evacuation planning since the town did not believe residents could be evacuated safely in case of an emergency at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.


Voted $100,000 to begin a capital reserve fund for expansion of the library and to spend $42,000 for a new ambulance, but against expanding ambulance service to Hampton Falls. Voted to establish an ordinance to prohibit drug paraphernalia. Instead of voting to give the selectmen authority to sell any leased lots (except HBIC lots) to the leaseholders, the meeting approved an amendment to study the leased-land situation and to report back at a future town meeting.


Voted $7,000 to support the mounted patrol unit of the police department; not to litigate the lease of the HBIC because of alleged violations concerning its rent policy regarding liquor licenses; to establish a Vietnam War veterans honor-roll committee; and to establish a library study committee. Several articles were voted in connection with the leased-land situation. First the voters approved the establishment of a real estate trust fund that would permit money derived from the sale of leased land to be placed in the trust, then voted to ask the local legislative delegation to file two bills -- one to establish the real estate trust fund as required by state law and the other to establish a Hampton Leased Land Real Estate Commission to oversee the sales of the leased land. At a May special town meeting, attended by some 600 residents and leaseholders and subleaseholders in the HBIC area, voters approved the sale of the leased land to leaseholders, a decision that ranks among the most important votes ever taken in Hampton.


Voted $1,223,000 for a library addition; to spend $150,000 for three Beach parking lots; $25,000 for a three-year lease to use the St. Patrick's Church parking lot, most of the money to be used for grading and fencing the lot; and $250,000 for further sewer-system and treatment-plant expansion studies. Defeated an article to rescind the vote to sell the leased land, but to retain as a perpetual town park a series of undeveloped oceanfront lots in the Pines section. The latter lots had been leased to Selectman Brian Doherty, causing a major controversy. The lease was rescinded at an executive session of the Board of Selectmen, and residents voted to keep the lots free of buildings forever. A December special town meeting was needed to make "housekeeping changes" to the leased-land-sale article, limiting sales only to 640 lots at the Beach that traditionally had been leased.


Voted to adopt a Wetlands Conservation District ordinance; to prohibit the establishment of tattoo parlors; to spend $5,000 to finance a contract and begin the process of preparing the publication of an updated Hampton history; $4,900 for repairs to the Tuck Grist Mill; and $650 to begin the Vietnam War Memorial. A November special town meeting approved $800,000 for the Brown Avenue sewer intercepter; gave permission for firefighters' Local 2664 to erect a building adjacent to the Tuck Museum to house the 1853 hand tub and other historical artifacts related to firefighting, and amended the taxi law to permit nonresident taxi licenses if no resident qualified or wanted a taxi license.


Questions about certain aspects of the Wetlands Conservation District resulted in approval of a new ordinance. A so-called open-space development district was rejected by voters. An article to spend $85,000 to renovate the Arnold property on Academy Avenue was amended to provide for a committee to study the possible uses for the house. Voted to spend $45,000 to lay out 240 new lots in the cemetery; $88,000 for new town tax maps; $8,600 for repairs to the Tuck Grist Mill; and to expand the library board of trustees from three members to six.


Voted a $7.8 million bond issue for sewage-system expansion; to establish a burial-ground trust fund to be administered by the Trustees of the Trust Funds; to create a land-bank conservation committee to recommend purchases of land for conservation purposes; and not to sell any more of the leased lots in the HBIC holdings until after the 99-year lease expires in 1997.


Voted to abolish the resident tax; to establish a Municipal Charter Commission to study a new municipal charter; rejected an article calling for $2.9 million for a municipal center; and appropriated $165,000 for a new fire truck. The Precinct voted to buy an identical truck. Voted $20,000 for the 1988 350th anniversary celebration; $5,000 to dispose of the Arnold house; $75,000 for the conservation land-acquisition fund; to authorize the Conservation Commission to manage Town-owned forests; and to designate the Timber Swamp and Twelve Shares as vital natural areas.


H. Alfred Casassa served as moderator for his twenty-first and last meeting. Louisa Woodman, long active in town affairs as a selectman and member of the Planning Board, was elected moderator, the first woman elected to the position. Voting on a ballot by a count of 874-1555, residents rejected a new municipal charter that would have replaced the Board of Selectmen, the Budget Committee, the town manager, and town meeting with a town council. Many residents apparently were opposed to giving up the town meeting, among other objections, although voter turnout at the traditional meeting on Saturday was about 10 percent of the number who voted on the ballot the previous Tuesday. Voted not to transfer the duties of the tax collector to the town manager; to require sprinkler systems in all new multifamily buildings; and to establish an aquifer protection ordinance. Voted to join the Southeast Regional Refuse Disposal District; to spend $82,000 as Hampton's share of the district's expenses; $75,000 for the Conservation Commission land-acquisition fund; $2,000 for the restoration of one of the two remaining fish houses; $600 for a tablet in memory of General Moulton; and to lease for $1 the former Arnold property as an off-street loading lot for school buses. The adjacent former Martel property is now a parking lot. Voted against spending $2.9 million for a recreation center; indefinitely postponed an article calling for a $418,000 municipal center; raised $272,000 for a sidewalk on High Street from Five Corners to Ocean Boulevard; and voted $80,000 for a computer system for the town office. Voted against articles providing for the semi-annual payment of property taxes and the prepayment of property taxes; to rescind a 1986 vote that curtailed the sale of leased land in the HBIC leasehold; and to permit the election of five library trustees. At an October special meeting, voters approved $200,000, half the money needed to begin a revaluation of Hampton property as ordered by the State. The revaluation process then was underway, so the meeting was necessary to make the expenditure legal.
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