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Wakefield to meet with Middleton on boundary dispute

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
July 03, 2014
WAKEFIELD — Selectmen met once more with resident John Fournier on June 25 to find a way to resolve the boundary dispute he has with the town.

Fournier contends that the current Wakefield map of his property incorrectly shows his house as being located in Wakefield when it is actually on the Middleton side of the town line. The house on Route 153 had burned down years ago and when it was rebuilt it was placed on a foundation behind the original dwelling, which Fournier says showed it was in Middleton as late as 1986. When the town line was last perambulated by selectmen of both towns, a boundary marker was missing, and in the process of adjusting for the missing marker, the boundary was moved and Fournier's house was once again in Wakefield. He has been paying Wakefield taxes on this house since 1999 and started objecting to the house being placed in Wakefield in 2001.

In May Town Administrator Teresa Williams met with Bob Talon of the Right-of-Way section of the N.H. Department of Transportation who stated that no bounds were moved when Route 153 was widened in 1986 and that one town cannot cede property to another town without state legislation.

Fournier came to the June 25 meeting to let selectmen know that his lawsuit to force an adjustment in boundary was about to be filed in Strafford County Superior Court.

Selectmen Chair Ken Paul said he wants to meet with Middleton selectmen to discuss how the issue could be resolved.

Selectman Charlie Edwards, who said he was sympathetic to Fournier's problem, asked if there was anything the Town of Wakefield could do on its own. Fournier interjected that the assessing map was changed several times over the past 20 years with no explanation. He asked why couldn't the selectmen reverse a change that was made incorrectly.

Williams responded that the changes were made by Cartographics using their own methods, and that the survey Fournier had done was sent to Cartographics. She added that changes could not be done without a court order.

Paul reiterated his view that the board should meet with Middleton selectmen and see if something could be worked out between the two towns. Failing that, the next step would either be to go to court or pay to have the town line surveyed again. Since the last estimate of a survey cost was $15,000, it would have to be added to the 2015 budget and approved by voters before work could be done.

Fourneir said he met with Middleton selectmen on April 28 and got nowhere.

Selectmen voted to have Williams write to Middleton and set up a joint meeting.

In the meantime Fournier said the notice of his lawsuit will arrive shortly.

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