BOARD OF SELECTMENS MEETING
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2017
COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM
120 MAIN STREET, LITTLETON, NH
Present: Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Milton T. Bratz, V. Chairman Schuyler Sweet, Selectman Ed Hennessey excused, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings
Others Present: Bob O’Conner (Channel 2), Jan & Mary Edick, Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), Rudy
Gelsi, Chief Joe Mercieri (Littleton FD), Ralph Hodgson, Kim Delutis, Bill Brusseau, James Pineo,
The Courier, Jeff Whitcomb, Linda MacNeil, Bob Copenhaver, Tom Clardy, John Scott
Bratz called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM
Bratz read the Town’s Appointment and Meeting Policy for Town appointed officials. No public comment will be allowed during presentations during the appointment time. Bratz explained the board wrote this policy because the meetings had become hectic.
Pledge of Allegiance
Chief Joe Mercieri (Littleton PD) Recognition Award
Captain Jeff Whitcomb and Fire Fighter Todd McKee, Lt. Bill Brusseau and Acting Captain James Pineo
Chief Joe Mercieri stated he would like to recognize two fire fighters who served the Town for many years. The first is Bill Brusseau. Bill was active for 23 years and active in fire prevention program and teaching CPR. Bill did a wonderful job with the school program and with the kids.
Chief Mercieri called on Jim Pineo who served as Lt. and as acting Captain when he decided to pursue his dreams. Jim is now the Fire Chief for the Town of Wolfeboro Fire & Rescue Department. He had a lot to do with enhancing our water supply and training. He also was helpful in procuring our fire truck grant. Mercieri thanked Pineo for his sixteen years of service for the Littleton Fire and Rescue Department.
Mercieri then called on Captain Jeff Whitcomb who provided 24 years of dedicated service to the department. Jeff thanked the Chief and the Board for the recognition.
Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD) Littleton E-Ticket Equipment Grant $4,500
Chief Smith congratulated the retirees’ and thanked them for the great job they did for the Town of Littleton. Smith asked the board to accept the grant from the Department of Safety for the E-ticket program. Schuyler Sweet made the motion to accept the grant. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 2-0.
Bob Copenhaver introduced himself as a member of the LICD. He was present to talk about the vote to change the zoning on a piece of land the LIDC owns from rural to industrial. Copenhaver went back in time to the 1950’s and the 1960’s. In the early 1960’s, the Town’s biggest employer went from 650 jobs to 0. Littleton was at its worst since the depression. We were in a difficult time and we had no idea where we were going. If you look at a Town when it loses employment and look at Berlin they went from 25,000 employees to 9,000 employees. There is nothing you can do in a Town like that to do what you need to support it. So we were faced with a very difficult time. We were very fortunate that Paul McGoldrick and King Covey took it upon themselves spearhead a movement to see if we could get some industries to come to Littleton. The first thing they did was contact the state. The state came up and said if you don’t have an industrial park to support businesses it is hard to get people to come. They went out and searched land that could support an industrial park. It is extremely difficult to get an industrial park that has all the components you need. Ultimately we ended up with the industrial park that we have today. The only problem was the access that was on South Street. We knew that if we put a bridge in right away we would solve that problem. They just didn’t realize it would take twenty years to get the bridge. They were starting to run out of room. They started to look at other places for a new industrial park. We started with Bethlehem in a partnership on the Brook Road. They spent a lot of time and money. They held meetings after meetings but it never came to fruition. The only other place they looked at a possible partnership was Lisbon. They are not far from the industrial park and they have good land down there. Nothing ever came of it and there is a serious power problem there because we can’t take our power from Littleton to another Town. There were two businesses that wanted to expand into new buildings, one was Tender and the other was Genfoot. They did not have a place to put them. They found three parcels of which Val Poulsen owned the middle parcel. They convinced Val to move to the end lot. Tender moved into the lot Val gave up and are located there now and growing after they were able to meet their needs. Copenhaver said they had no place for Genfoot. They wanted to consolidate other businesses in Littleton. The LIDC looked at the one piece of land they had that was large enough but was zoned as rural. They decided to investigate to see if they could put Genfoot there knowing they still had to go to the Town and get the zoning changed to industrial. They did studies and ground work and decided that it could be a very good site. Genfoot then started to back off a little bit. Copenhaver thought it might have had to do with the Tran Pacific partnership. They ended up not building in the park and they lost that opportunity. The LICD has done everything they could to protect the Town of Littleton and for the park to grow. There are 1,100 jobs in the park. They are quality companies in the park and they do everything they can to protect the surroundings of the park. There have only been two presidents of the LIDC, Paul McGoldrick and Greg Eastman. They work tirelessly for this nonprofit. No one makes any money. Copenhaver stated the LIDC would like the voters to consider changing the zoning from rural to industrial on Town Meeting Day. The LIDC needs your vote. Bratz said questions and comments would be allowed under Public Comments at the end of the agenda.
Town Manager’s Report:
Remich Park Building Architectural Contract
Andrew Dorsett said he was looking for approval to expend out of the capital reserve fund set up for the Remich Park Building Replacement Fund. The recreation commission formed a committee to design a new building and voted to replace the current building. The Request for Proposals was sent out with a deadline of January 30th. The committee reviewed the proposals and agreed the town manager enter into a contract with Ward D’Elia &Samyn D’Elia Architects. Schuyler Sweet made the motion to authorize the Tow Manager expend from the Remich Park Building Replacement Fund. Sweet added this had already been approved by the voters at last year’s Town Meeting. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 2-0. Dorsett said they recently received approval for safe routes to school to move forward. The estimated substantial completion for the project will be before the start of school.
Accept Donation of $250 to the police department of Gift Cards from Shaw’s
Chief Paul Smith stated that Shaw’s had a grand opening and they donated $250 work of vouchers in $25 increments to assist those in need. Sweet made the motion to accept the donation. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 2-0.
Other Business: NONE
Old Business: NONE
New Business: NONE
Rudy Gelsi wanted to talk to the selectmen about an article in the paper regarding the sewer pipes. He believes you guys put this article in the paper because of what happened a couple of months ago in the Littleton Town Court. Who is going to pay for that? You are saying you are going to have a pre inspection for every business that is involved with the oil and the grease and stuff like that. Dorsett said that everyone has a sewer discharge permit and what they are trying to do is setup a regular scheduled inspection to make sure they are in compliance with the discharge permits. Gelsi asked if someone does not comply what you guys are going to do about it. Are you going to go to court again? Dorsett said each individual case would determine that the next action would be. Gelsi then asked some questions on the new law that passed for the right to carry. Gelsi wants to know how the board is going to compensate for the loss of money because of this law. Gelsi said he would like to hear from the Chief of police. Chief Smith said there really isn’t a loss of revenue. Some people will still have to apply for a permit. Smith said he is against it because they have caught people who have tried to get permits who had a record. Bratz said it is an issue of perceived safety. The issue is not a money issue it is a safety issue. It is not a major financial impact for us.
Kim Delutis wished Mr. Copenhaver had stayed because there are questions and she is opposed to Article 2 for the following reasons. Mr. Copenhaver said we have run out of space for industrial expansion, but according to Capital Appraiser’s Associates there are about sixteen parcels totaling about 200 acres that are zoned industrial and are not being used. She wanted to know why that has not been brought to their attention. She is sure they know about it. Kim said they believe that it goes against the Town Master Plan. It will impact the scenic view shed particular from Kilburn Crags which is deemed as an area that needs to be protected. Delutis said the article says there is no tax impact obviously because they are just asking for it to be rezoned. But in fact there will be taxes down the road with any new development. We will be in charge of funding the roads, sewer and maintenance and the maintenance of rural Mount Eustis which is extremely narrow and there are no lines on it and it is crumbling already. We think that if you vote yes on this article you are setting a precedent for future zoning to be changed on a whim just like that. We want to protect the rural beauty of Littleton. That is why we moved here. When you look at the article and see the map and lot number you don’t realize that it sits on top of a mountain. It will affect property values as well. Capital Appraisers has proven that it will reduce our property values from five to twenty five percent which is huge. In her mind it is up to the Planning and Zoning boards to protect property values. When you purchase something you know what you purchased. You don’t need the rug pulled out from under you. It is stealing our property value. We are a small Town and we are all friends here and it is a real shame that we have to keep going back and forth on this. She said there are 200 hundred acres that are not being used and we need to look at that before we start clear cutting a mountain top. She would urge everyone to vote no on article 2. She urged everyone to go to NOarticle2.com for more information.
Tony J. Ilacqua said he was reading a sample of the ballot today it says on article 9 for $150,000 for road improvements on parts of Mount Eustis Road. Milt Bratz explained it is the part near Lisbon on the other side of the industrial park. Ilacqua asked about the 2 miles from the industrial park to Cottage
Street. Ilacqua asked when the last time Mount Eustis road was paved was. Schuyler Sweet said it was a question of priority. Bratz said they usually spend $300,000 to $500,000 on road repairs. Sweet said the master road plan went away when the budget was cut and we are still trying to catch up. A brief conversation about the problems with traffic and the condition of the Mount Eustis Road ensued. Tony Ilacqua said we have a lot of good things going for us. We are lucky to have the industrial park, downtown and green space. Ilacqua asked the board if they would consider site plan review. Schuyler Sweet said that as a selectmen and former zoning board member he recommends it.
Tom Clardy wanted to add a few comments on article #2. He honors and respects the history of the industrial park. If this article passes the neighbors around the land will lose. No one has to lose. He is asking the LIDC to step up their game and look for responsible development. We know when we do zoning the zoning goes through what is the effect on the property value and will it be a nuisance. Yet this is 115 acres that will change. It will change the total community. We do have view tax and we are taxed on it so we can’t discount the fact that the view is important. He is asking LIDC and the people of Littleton to try and be win/win. We don’t’ have to be win/lose. The feeling he had from the other meeting was oh well tough luck. They even said nobody wants an industrial park in their backyard. Please vote no on article 2. John Scott said the majority of abutters are against it. They have a mountain behind them. If this were your backyard you would be voting no too. Sweet made the motion to adjourn. Bratz seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 5:45 PM.