May 28, 2020WOLFEBORO — The virtual Wednesday evening meeting of the Board of Selectmen on May 20 was well attended and many people entered the discussion. Of central interest was adoption of amendments to the beach policies, primarily related to Carry and Albee beaches.
Brewster Beach remains fully accessible to all comers. Albee Beach is open to residents, taxpayers and guests, including Cotton Valley Trail users and overnight guests at any licensed hotel, motel, inn, boarding house, camp ground, lodging house, bed and breakfast or housekeeping cottages situated in Wolfeboro. A pass system for parking will be in place.
The proposed amendment to the ordinance in regards to whom is allowed to access Carry Beach was met with firm opposition by the author of that warrant article, Michael Hodder, who objected to the definition of guest as applied to both Albee and Carry beaches.
He argued that the language in his warrant article was clear. Residents (including taxpayers) and their personal guests – not people who rent rooms in town, would have access to the beach.
"Everyone understood the restriction," said Hodder, "and it passed overwhelmingly."
Hodder added that when he first proposed the warrant article there was much commentary on social media and he engaged in numerous conversations clarifying that definition. To change it now "would frustrate the will of the voters."
Frank Pimenthal of Cricket Hill, up the road from Carry Beach, said he agreed with Hodder.
"There are multiple options, Brewster, Albee and Carry beaches and Lake Wentworth State Park," said Pimenthal, who pointed out that parking is limited at Carry Beach and access should rightly be limited to residents and guests.
A resident who lives near Carry Beach said "out of towners crowd it out" and agreed with Hodder that the warrant article was specific and that's what people voted for. Two other residents in the neighborhood sent emails in during the meeting to echo that sentiment.
While this year, the pandemic is raising questions about attendance at area beaches, the policy is being drafted in anticipation of typical attendance. Hodder noted that in 2017 attendance at Carry Beach averaged 70 a day, but last year - a short season, attendance averaged 181 a day.
Selectmen Brad Harriman, Dave Senecal and Linda Murray indicated they would like to add the word taxpayers to the amendment and did not object to leaving out the line in the Albee Beach amendment that has a more inclusive definition of guest. The matter was tabled to continue on June 3, at 6:30 p.m. to achieve clarity.