Seabrook Ruled Out As Court Site

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By Scott E. Kinney Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, July 21, 2006

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

SEACOAST -- One down, four to go.

While the committee continues to attempt to locate a suitable space for a new combined Exeter/ Hampton courthouse, one plot of land has been removed from the list of possible sites.

The committee has removed an offer for a plot of land in Seabrook from the list of prospective sites.

The decision to reject Seabrook's offer of land came last week during the most recent meeting of the committee.

Three options remain for the site of the future joint courthouse. The facility will be built on land in Exeter along Routes 101 and 85, which is currently owned by the state Department of Transportation, on one of two locations in Hampton, or possibly leasing land along Route 108 in Stratham, currently owned by developer Susan Conway.

State Representative Stella Scamman said the decision to remove the Seabrook offer was made based solely on geographic location.

"We're trying to find a location that is central to the 14 towns served by the two districts," she said. "We were told this (Seabrook site) is a hard place to get to."

Currently Hampton and Exeter have separate district courts, though both towns' facilities were ordered to be closed down because both buildings were determined uninhabitable by Chief Justice John Broderick in late 2004. Hampton district court makes its temporary home at 130 Ledge Road in Seabrook, while Exeter district court is currently sharing space at Rockingham County Superior Court in Brentwood.

The two courts were ordered to combine as the state will not pay for separate courts.

Scamman said the committee is planning to meet in two weeks to make a final decision on the court's location.

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