Selectmen clarify position on Lang Pond Road application

May 07, 2009
TUFTONBORO — Road maintenance and classification of town roads dominated discussion once again at the Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen's evening meeting on May 4. Eric Roseen, a local surveyor, was on the agenda to discuss his concerns about the Mirror Lake Protection Association's application for stimulus funding to relocate a section of Lang Pond Road.

He commented that changes to roads take care and consideration of the history of a roadway, transportation needs and commerce. He noted that Lang Pond Road has been in existence since the establishment of the town and that any proposed changes need to be brought to the attention of the planning board, "just like everyone else" is expected to do.

Roseen said that there are ramifications of changing a road's classification, such as real estate values and property taxes, and that something as significant as the plan supported by the Protection Association should be reviewed first.

Chairman Dan Duffy agreed, saying, "They put the cart before the horse. A citizen went forward without consulting us." Selectman Carolyn Sundquist added that she thought the organization was trying to see if they could get funding in order to increase their chances of approval for the project. Roseen responded that the funding should be secondary to approval.

The application itself, prepared and signed by Dusty Davies, head of the organization, notes, "This pre-application is submitted by the Town of Tuftonboro, NH, the Town of Tuftonboro Conservation Commission and the Mirror Lake Protective Association." Duffy and Sundquist both emphasized that the board has never seen any figures on the project and therefore has not given any approval.

John Simms, head of the Capital Improvements Program committee, asked what would happen if the group is successful in its quest for funding. Sundquist said that the selectmen would need to see a plan and that there are a number of steps involved in approval of such a project. She commented that it would be difficult for the group to accomplish the timeline they set out for themselves. (The application sets forth an August start date.)

More on roads, water and timber

Duffy reported about the Holmes/Ratcliffe dispute over water runoff that necessitated a site visit on April 27. The road has an easement, he explained, and it has been established that both parties own to the center and can do as they wish on their own property, but there is to be no obstruction of culverts.

A visit to Federal Corner Road with Road Agent Jim Bean led selectmen to conclude that the road may need to be widened to improve winter maintenance.

Selectman Bill Stockman said that several road issues, one pertaining to Sandstrom Road and another with plowing on Plants Way and Cross Neck Road, were brought to his attention, and he passed them along to Bean.

He also offered an apology for commenting on market prices for wood in the Jim Clark timber cut tax assessment matter, saying that he agreed with Clark that selectmen should limit discussion to tax assessment, not matters between a land owner and a forester. Clark had asked selectmen to allow him to deduct the cost of gravel needed for a road from his timber tax, and the board declined.

Susan Weeks, who has been in charge of the town road maps, spoke during public input about the impact of reclassification of town roads, a matter brought up earlier by Roseen. She said an upgrade changes property values, allows for development and adds to the town budget, as services are increased.

When she started to give examples of discrepancies with the draft, recently prepared by Simms and presented to the board, Duffy stopped her and said that he would like her to submit her concerns in a letter in writing to the selectmen, so they could better prepare a response. He said, "You should be on the agenda…I'm not prepared for questions," and made a motion to have Weeks submit a letter for discussion at next week's meeting. Sundquist seconded the motion, but the motion failed following a comment from Simms on the matter of automatic reclassification of roads that the town maintains continuously for five years.

Sundquist suggested, "Let's hear her concerns and listen tonight," and Stockman agreed. Weeks then continued, explaining that she had been looking over tax maps recently and felt that it would be a good idea to form a committee to discuss the discrepancies. "It's more than a one person project," she said.

Simms commented that a primary focus on Class V and Class VI roads and matters of differences between what is a private road and what is a driveway are issues for discussion. Weeks added that the E911 listing roads and ownership was last compiled in 2005 and said that she thinks they should be consolidated.

Sundquist said she thought a committee would be a good idea, commenting, "One of these days we'll have the list up to date."

Police department update

Chief Andrew Shagoury reported that police broke up their first underage drinking party of the season and that they had recently responded to two domestic violence complaints. The radar trailer is out again to remind travelers to watch their speed along Tuftonboro roads.

A comparison of statistics from Jan. 1 to Mar. 31 of 2008 and 2009 shows an increase in traffic stops from 38 to 284. Summons, arrests, felonies and incidents have all risen; however, accidents have gone down markedly, from 17 during the 2008 time period to seven.

Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

John Simms said that he would like to see the CIP better integrated into planning for next year. He pointed out that library and public safety building needs are paramount, asked that the board use the CIP for short-range planning and expressed the desire to have the committee included when the budget committee and selectmen meet to discuss capital projects. The first CIP meeting of the year was scheduled to take place on May 6 at the Tuftonboro Library.

Selectman updates

From 60 to 70 citizens attended the recent meeting on current use at Tuftonboro Central School with Dave Hynes, representing the state Department of Revenue Administration (DRA). The selectmen hosted the meeting to provide updated information and forms on current use in anticipation of the department's updating of Tuftonboro's values in 2010. About 300 applications on file need to be updated before DRA begins its review.

Sundquist has drafted a no smoking ordinance, which she is passing out to committees in town for feedback.

More recycling bins have been ordered to meet demand at the transfer station.

Last week, mention was made of Duffy's attendance at a selectperson's educational institute. Its location was incorrectly attributed to Antrim College. The correct location is the Antioch New England Institute (ANEI) in Keene.

The next selectmen's meeting is scheduled for May 11 at 9 a.m. at the town offices.

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