Municipal Affairs: 1950 - 1959

Chapter 12 -- Part 7

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The new sewer proposal had to be voted upon again, since the bids were higher than the amount of money available. The State approved a less-expensive expansion of the existing plant, rather than a new plant, and residents again approved the $250,000 bond issue. Following a lengthy discussion, voters approved a motion calling for the removal of all buildings from the fish-house site and calling for the area to be left as free public property forever. Voted to appoint a committee to meet with representatives of Rye and North Hampton to consider forming a municipal water district. Voted to approve an extension of Kershaw Avenue and King Road (later renamed Tuck Road), which extended north from Ann's Lane, "if it meets with the approval of the selectmen." A ballot vote approved beano games in Hampton, 358-355. Voted to lease to the school district for $1 the Town-owned land (to a depth of 240 feet by 270 feet wide) behind the Centre School. Voted to postpone for one year, then to vote on by ballot, the question of adopting the nonpartisan election of town officers. Voted to approve the first amendments to the zoning regulations and rejected a citizen petition for other changes. Voted to accept the roads of Fairfield Park, Hampton's first large postwar development.


Voted to continue beano but to oppose the nonpartisan ballot (272-521). Hampton was overwhelmingly Republican, and the party caucus, held before town meeting, was the real election, since the party put forth its slate of officers without much opposition from the less-numerous and barely organized Democrats. This meeting voted to adopt the Caucus Law to conduct party caucuses. Prior to this, the caucuses had been conducted with little regard for the checklist and parliamentary procedure. Voted $500 for mosquito control, an article sponsored by the Monday Club. Voted $300 for restoration of old cemeteries. Voted $3,000 to build the Island Path parking lot. Indefinitely postponed an article to rescind the previous year's vote regarding the fish houses. Voted to approve the continuation of the water company study and to prepare facts for a special town meeting. Following the 1950 Beach fire, it was learned that low water pressure hindered firefighters, and voters were angry with the water utility. Pending approval of the selectmen, the Town approved the new roads of Moore Avenue, Rice Terrace, and Hackett Lane, as well as new roads in the "Great Lots," the new development east of Moulton Road. Accepted a resolution from the American Legion to honor the men who died in World War II by naming streets, parks, and bridges in their memory. The sum of $1,000 was raised for civil-defense purposes.


Voted to request the water company to add fluorine to the water system. Voted to raise the selectmen's pay to $1,200 with $300 for expenses, to increase the police budget to allow officers to have a 48-hour week, and to give firefighters a raise. Voted to adopt the provisions of the federal Social Security program for town employees. Voted to study the need for expanded parking space in the Village shopping district. Voted $7,000 for the Ann's Terrace sewer but to postpone building the Fairfield Park sewer until the following year. (In these years, zoning regulations did not require developers to install sewers for new subdivisions.) Voted to accept the road that became Philbrook Terrace. Lengthy debate resulted in the Town going on record in favor of the construction of the proposed Pease Air Force Base. Voted not to change the name of Marsh Avenue to Sunset Boulevard. Resolutions passed to honor deceased town clerk William Brown, who had served as tax collector from 1923 to 1925 and town clerk from 1925 until his death in August 1951, and for Beach pioneer and town benefactor George Ashworth, 87, who had died in January.


Voted against the town manager form of government. Postponed for two years a $211,000 extension of the sewage treatment plant and new mains on North Beach. Indefinitely postponed $30,000 for Fairfield Park sewer, a sewer for Rice Terrace, and $1,500 for extension of the sewer on Mill Road, but voted $30,000 for a sewer on a portion of Wmnnacunnet Road. Voted $10,000 to acquire land for parking on High Street. Voted $1,200 for spraying against Dutch elm disease, and to appoint a Shade Tree Committee (Ruth Stimson, Gertrude Knoblock, and Roland Paige. The latter has served on the committee, now a commission, ever since.). Various articles calling for the adoption of building codes were combined and referred to a study committee for action the following year. Accepted as new streets, with approval of the selectmen, a new road in Ross Acres, George Avenue, Emery Lane, a new road off King's Highway, and Cedar Lane. Passed resolutions to appoint a committee of five people to begin planning for an update of the History of Hampton, and to instruct the Planning Board to seek estimates on the preparation of a master plan. Town Clerk John Creighton died and Helen W. Hayden was appointed as his replacement, the first woman to hold the office.


Prior to the meeting, John W. Brooks died. He had been moderator since 1937. Voted to adopt the town manager form of government (by a four-vote margin after a recount, 441-437), but again rejected the nonpartisan ballot. John W. True was hired as the first town manager. Town History Committee reported that it did not seem to be financially feasible to do the history at this time. Voted to pay the town clerk a salary of $1,000 in addition to fees received. Appropriated $15,000 ($5,000 in each of the next three years) to prepare the first town master plan. Preceding a vote to appropriate $1,000 to investigate the legality of the 99-year HBIC lease, a controversy arose when it was stated that a stenographer was making a record of the proceedings. For some reason, the residents objected to the stenographer, who was working for the HBIC. Following a lengthy debate over the right of the stenographer to work, and after calls to the state attorney general, the Town and an HBIC lawyer reached an agreement providing for the stenographer to turn over to the town clerk the record being made until its ownership could be determined. (By law, voters can determine who can attend a town meeting. Over the years motions have been made to prohibit attendance by nonresidents, and/or to allow nonresident property owners attend, but of course not to vote. Permission may or may not be granted to permit nonresidents to address the meeting. Usually these permissions are granted to attorneys, engineers, architects, or others so that they may address warrant articles on behalf of clients or because they have prepared information for various town agencies. This meeting concluded with a nonbinding resolution that stated that only residents could attend further town meetings. Today recordmg devices are common at public meetings, and nonresidents are allowed to attend town meetings, although they are usually requested to sit in a specific area.) Finally, at this meeting, the voters approved $1,000 to study the HBIC lease. Voted $2,000 for an addition to the town office, $500 to build a civil-defense aircraft spotting station at the Beach, and $500 to fence in one acre in the river for an experimental clam propagation project. Because of the two hurricanes that year, this proved unsuccessful. Renamed Cedar Lane in memory of Richard W. Blake, a portion of Jonty's Lane in memory of Robert K. White, and a short street at Five Corners in memory of Harry A. Parr, Jr., all of whom were lost in World War II. Voted $375 for bronze plaques for the memorial streets, for a complete revaluation of property (although no money was appropriated), to accept Sunset and Meadow Pond roads as public streets, $5,000 to prepare tax maps of property, and $1,000 for a Beach traffic study. Helen Hayden became the first woman to be elected town clerk.


By ballot, the voters reconfirmed the adoption of the town manager form of government and adopted the municipal budget law. Voted $5,000 to continue tax mapping, $5,000 for Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce promotion to offset the loss of raffle income, which had been ruled illegal, and $8,500 to purchase the depot yard to be made into a park. Nothing had been done with the 1953 vote to buy land on High Street for a parking lot, so this meeting acted upon another article and approved $15,000 to purchase land from Hampton Associates. Voted $1,000 to replace the 30-year-old traffic light on Lafayette Road at the corner with High Street and Exeter Road, $7,000 for a new fire truck for the Village station, and $6,750 for two additional firefighters. Indefinitely postponed articles to raise $1,500 for recreation activities and to appoint a recreation commission. Voted $8,500 to build a road across the marsh, using garbage as fill, to connect Glade Path with Island Path; to accept Sea View Avenue, Surfside Avenue, and Leary Lane; $25,000 for the Fairfield Park sewer; $10,000 for surface drains for Hackett Lane and Moore Avenue; and $6,500 for surface drains for King's Avenue. The last two projects were not completed because the railroad refused to allow drains to discharge in their right-of-way. Renamed the existing Dearborn Avenue to honor World War II veteran Norman M. Dearborn, who died in the war. Voted to elect 12 at-large members to the newly enacted Municipal Budget Committee. Voted to amend the zoning regulations to permit trailers (mobile homes) in the general district and created a Hampton Village Business District North (of the High Street-Exeter intersection). Voted $1,100 as half of the cost of a civil-defense air horn; the federal government paid the other half. Voted to appoint a committee to prepare the list of Korean War veterans. A garbage-packer truck was purchased, saving $6,000 in truck rental for garbage pickup. Major alterations to the zoning ordinances were approved at a January special meeting.


First budget report by the Municipal Budget Committee, whose recommendations were accepted and voted upon without changes. Voted to establish the Recreation Commission and approved $1,500 for its activities; $12,500 for the second portion of the High Street parking lot; to permit the dumping of septic tanks on Town-owned property; to accept Belmont Circle; $3,000 to protect Bound Rock, the ancient southern town-line marker; and to mark the town's other historical sites. Appointed a committee to study a new town office building that might have an auditorium and serve as a convention center and that would also be a memorial building for those who were lost in the world wars. Voted to purchase a small strip of land to extend the marsh highway, which was now envisioned to cross the creek and connect to Tide Mill Road. The usual town appropriation of $2,500 for the Beach band was changed to $800, since that was the limit of expenditures for bands under the state law; however, the Town did appropriate $5,000 for promotional activities (primarily for a brochure) of the Chamber of Commerce. A special town meeting voted $15,000 to purchase the Martel property on Academy Avenue.


Article calling for Marsh Avenue to be renamed Sunset Boulevard was amended to honor George Ashworth. Voted $7,700 for Chamber of Commerce activities. Voted to accept Thomsen Road, Tobey Street, and Gray Avenue (the latter two named in memory of Edward W. Tobey and Roland M. Gray, who were lost in World War II), Homestead Circle, Tower Drive, Lamson Lane, Josephine Drive, Bourn Avenue, and Biery, Palmer, and Sicard streets. Voted $20,000 to map the marsh "southerly of Island Path in order that streets and lots may be developed in an orderly manner." Voted to purchase more land for the marsh highway. The town dump was moved to the end of Tide Mill Road, where rubbish and fill were used to build the highway. Voted $750 to make a place in the cemetery to hold Memorial Day and other memorial services, and to accept the gift from the American Legion of a speaker's platform and flagpole. Projects completed this year included building the High Street sidewalk from Mill Road to Locke Road, landscaping the new park at Depot Square, creating the position of dog officer, planting 150 rock-maple trees (to replace elm trees lost to Dutch elm disease), and application to the State for increased aid to cover the 12 miles of new roads in developments built in the previous five years.


A January special town meeting voted to sell a small piece of the High Street parking lot to be used as a portion of the site for the offices of the new Hampton National Bank. Voted against appropriating $2,000 to begin planning for a memorial civic center, but voted $17,000 to set aside a civic-center building fund. Indefinitely postponed an article to permit the selectmen to lease the fish-house lots to those who owned buildings in the area. This was a final effort by those in litigation with the Town, which had ordered building owners to remove the old fish houses. Accepted Birch and Pine roads and Duston Avenue. Voted to indefinitely postpone a zoning amendment to control building in the approach area of the Hampton Airport, located in North Hampton. Lamson Lane had been built in the area the previous year. Voted $1,000 for the Korean War Memorial. Voted against adoption of the nonpartisan ballot. Republican Harry Munsey was reelected as a selectman, but Democrat George Downer received a handful of write-in votes. Created the Department of Public Works to combine the highway, sewer, and rubbish departments. Town clerk issued 3,040 motor-vehicle permits.


Budget included $45,000 for sewer projects, and, as part of that sum, sewers and/or storm drains were provided to Philbrook Terrace, Leavitt Road, and Blake Lane. Voted $2,500 to investigate purchasing the water company, and $11,500 for the Marsh Reclamation Committee. The committee gave a lengthy report of plans, but no specific proposals were made for Town action. Accepted Mooring Drive, Hobson Avenue, Naves Road, Quinlan Lane, and Red Coat Lane.
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