Municipal Affairs: 1970 - 1979

Chapter 12 -- Part 9

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It was estimated that $500,000 wouid be needed to complete sewer extensions to the remaining portion of town along and east of Lafayette Road. Approved $100,000 for sewer extensions to follow a priority list, with the understanding that a similar sum would be appropriated annually for the next four years. Discouraged by the lack of Town action in providing storm drains for the Hackett Lane/Moore Avenue section, frustrated residents there asked the Town to buy their property, remove the buildings, and prohibit further building there. The article was indefinitely postponed, but another article to appropriate $88,000 for drains passed. Voted to appropriate $40,000 for a water line to the industrial-park site off Towle Farm Road and bounded by the Interstate, the money to be spent only if a business made a firm commitment to move to the site. Zoning changes approved resulted in an industrial district being created on Tide Mill Road (primarily the area of the town dump), and made changes in the regulations regarding industrial districts north (along the Interstate) and south (bordered by the expressway) of Towle Farm Road.


Voted $39,900 for a new fire truck, to exempt the Meeting House Green Memorial and Historical Association from property taxes, to establish the five-member Board of Selectmen, and to convey a right-of-way behind the Lane Memorial Library to what was then Hampton National Bank, under construction next to the library. (This right-of-way ended when the library expanded in 1985.) Voted to establish a list of regulations for Hampton beaches and parks that prohibited alcoholic beverages, sleeping in nighttime, allowing dogs to run loose, and fires on beaches. It also gave priority to residents for use of the tennis courts. Adopted the fire-prevention code and increased lot sizes to 40,000 square feet in areas that were not served by public water and sewers.


Helen W. Hayden, who had retired as town clerk after serving 19 years, became the first woman to be elected to the Board of Selectmen. Voted to reject a $346,000 bond issue to build a municipal complex to house the uptown fire department, district court and town offices. Voted bond issues of $140,000 for sewer expansion study, $400,000 for a new Lafayette-Landing Road sewer intercepter, and $95,000 for police station repairs and expansion. Voted $38,000 to purchase the Mason property, east of the town office, now the fire station site. The house was sold and moved to Park Avenue. Voted $500 for the Conservation Commission, with $150 for the commission budget and the balance to begin a land-acquisition fund. Voted to create the full-time position of recreation director, allowed the selectmen to continue to sell leased lots, but at current fair-market value, and voted to convey 32 lots in the HBIC leasehold to the individual leaseholders. For some reason, these leaseholders had been given deeds to their lots by the HBIC, and they were not paying rent or taxes. As of April 1970, these leaseholders were to be liable for the taxes until the lease expires in 1997, when the Town will give them quitclaim deeds. As a result of a June special town meeting, Hampton purchased an ambulance and began an emergency service operated by the fire department. Voted to appoint a committee to plan a celebration for the American Revolution Bicentennial in 1976, to give the tax collector a three-year term of office, to establish the need for a housing authority; enacted an ordinance to prohibit domestic animals from running at large, to permit trailers or mobile-home parks in the General District only and to increase those lot sizes, and to prohibit new gasoline stations within 1,000 feet of an existing station.


Voted to have two sessions of the annual town meeting -- one for election of officials and ballot questions, the other to act on warrant articles. This replaced the previous system whereby a motion to postpone action on articles until the following Saturday was made at the regular town meeting day on Tuesday. In theory, a majority could have voted not to postpone the meeting and action on articles could have begun on Tuesday, when most people expected to meet on Saturday. Voted a three-year term for town clerk; to adopt a variety of building, electrical, and plumbing codes; and to reject a $715,000 bond issue for a municipal complex to include a police station, which would have meant using the Beach station only in the summer. Voted $1,000 to raze the former Coast Guard station, $500 to renovate the Deacon Tuck Grist Mill on High Street, and to begin a program of approving (and therefore repairing and maintaining) previously unaccepted streets. Voted to abolish the Recreation Commission, since the selectmen had appointed a Recreation Advisory Council to work with the recreation director, not to rezone the land near the intersection of Landing Road and the expressway from residential to business, and passed a resolution requesting the selectmen to begin study of a new municipal complex that could be built in parts beginning with a town office.


Voted $840,000 for the construction of a secondary sewage treatment plant; rejected spending $30,000 for a public park on land that was later developed as Windmill Lane; and voted to prohibit further sales of leased land, a decision made while the Town studied what to do with the land. Voted not to sell or lease three specific parcels of Town-owned land: the Coast Guard station site; a lot at the junction of King's Highway, Winnacunnet Road, and the boulevard that was needed for traffic safety; and an oceanfront section of lots in the Pines section. Voted to establish a mosquito-control district; to accept regulations regarding a flood hazard zone, in order to permit property owners to apply for federal flood insurance; and approved the use of absentee ballots for voting at town meetings. Voted to require site-plan review for nonresidential developments; voted to delete the zoning provisions for "marsh reclamation," to prohibit multifamily dwellings in the industrial zones, and to require site-plan approval for multifamily dwellings in all zones except Business Seasonal.


Accepted a $2.6 million federal grant for the new sewage-treatment plant. Voted $80,000 for an addition to the town office; to appoint a committee to begin study of a new uptown fire station; to name the former Coast Guard site Bicentennial Park; and to name the sewage treatment plant in honor of longtime superintendent Leavitt Magrath, who would retire in 1976 after 41 years of service to the Town. He was the first and only superintendent of the sewer system from 1935 until 1976, a call fireman for 34 years, and a special police officer for 22 years. Voted to establish a three-member Shade Tree Commission. Voted $10,000 for the mosquito-control district.


Voted to retain the town manager form of government; to prohibit a new penny arcade within 2,000 feet of an existing penny arcade; to approve bylaws to control and license coin-operated amusement devices; and expanded property-tax exemptions for the elderly. Voted to pay the town clerk a salary in lieu of fees, which had been the traditional payment for clerks; and voted to reject a $160,000 bond issue for a new fire station. Voted $5,000 and appointed a committee to begin planning a library addition; to prohibit smoking at all public committee, department, and board meetings; and amended an article calling for the selectmen's meeting room to be named in honor of Lawrence C. Hackett. Instead, the room was dedicated to the memory of all previous selectmen who had served since 1638. Rescinded the previous year's establishment of a Shade Tree Commission by readopting the earlier commission with three members serving staggered terms. The chief of police, detective sergeant, fire chief, and the building inspector all resigned. Many street names were changed to avoid similar names, and a new house numbering ordinance was enacted.


Voted $223,000 for the new uptown fire station on Winnacunnet Road; to reject a $525,000 proposal for a library addition; and to adopt the town seal as the official town flag. Voted 62-155 against construction of the proposed Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. For the second year in a row, the Town rejected an article to appropriate money for Hampton Beach promotional brochures. Selectman Helen Hayden submitted her resignation for health reasons, but, since continuing her term to its conclusion would give her 25 years as an elected town official, the Board of Selectmen rejected her resignation and voted her a leave of absence for health reasons until her term expired.


A majority of the Board of Selectmen sponsored an article to repeal the town manager form of government, a move that resulted from the tough stance of Town Manager Peter Lombardi in acting on many issues that he was authorized to determine by statute (such as hiring department heads) but in which selectmen had often injected their own desires. When Lombardi resigned, a majority of the board voted to delay hiring a new manager until after the town meeting vote. Residents voted 1,070-779 to retain the manager form of government and also voted not to reduce the number of selectmen from five to three. In another ballot question, the vote was 930-835 in favor of the board asking for Lombardi's resignation. Voted to prohibit the location of any restaurant or club selling liquor to be located within 1,000 feet of an existing place selling liquor; to reject another proposal for a library addition; to spend $80,000 for another pumper fire truck; and to approve $98,000 for a property reappraisal. A June special town meeting authorized the New Hampshire Housing Authority to operate in Hampton for the purpose of building elderly housing, now known as the Ross Colony Court on Winnacunnet Road.


Voted to elect members of the Planning Board; to spend $185,000 for sewer planning and $50,000 for three new tennis courts at Tuck Field; opposed $140,000 for an aerial ladder fire truck. Rejected an article to limit a household to three cats. Voted to readopt a number of articles that had been approved at the previous town meeting. Voted at a November special town meeting to establish cemetery trustees to handle funds for the cemetery, and to take over operation of the cemeteries from the Hampton Cemetery Association, ending 75 years of association operation.
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