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Wolfeboro selectmen enjoy a rare brief meeting

February 11, 2010
WOLFEBORO — In a relatively brief one-hour meeting on Feb. 3, the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen approved multiple temporary event permits for the upcoming summer season, listened to the public, and discussed some minor items of business.

In regard to the Deliberative Session held last Tuesday evening, Feb. 2, Selectman Marge Webster publicly thanked the department heads who helped to put together a smoothly-run meeting. Webster also thanked the public for their comments at the session and for sitting through the lengthy meeting.

In preparation for town election March 9 Town Clerk Pat Waterman requested via an e-mail to Town Manager Dave Owen that the selectmen set their schedules for assisting at the town election. Selectmen Webster, Sarah Silk, Dave Senecal and Linda Murray announced they would be at the polls all day, while Selectman Kristi Ginter will be in attendance for the majority of the day.

With several revisions made to warrant articles having been made at the Deliberative Session, Owen asked if the board would make any changes on their positions. The board agreed that all of the recommendations made before the session would remain the same.

Another public thank you was given by Selectman Silk, who expressed gratitude to John Burt for his long tenure on the Wolfeboro Budget Committee. Burt, who has served 35 years on the committee, is completing his current term this March and is not running for reelection.

During the public comment period, two residents of Trask Mountain Road in North Wolfeboro, Paul D. and Virginia Panaccione, spoke on the issue of the Historic District Commission (HDC), and more specifically their support of Article 9 in the warrant, to abolish it.

Paul Panaccione spoke specifically about a Jan. 21 HDC meeting, which he had not attended but recently viewed on DVD. He stated that, "comments by your [Board of Selectmen] representative on the board were beyond pale and provide yet another example why the HDC must be abolished."

He went on to share quotes from the dialogue between HDC member Peter Roessiger, whom Panaccione says, "has been a voice for common sense" on the commission, and Silk, who is Selectmen's Representative to the HDC. Panaccione stated that Silk, "took immediate issue with Mr. Roessiger's remarks and went into a tirade against those of us who have called for reform."

Panaccione also took a moment to address the lack of written standards for the commission, something he says he's been calling for for the last four years because "there are no written regulations specifying what we can or cannot construct. This has enabled successive commissions to apply their own interpretations and biases." He explained that the confusion among the residents of the districts created by not having a definitive list of allowed or prohibited building features is unnecessary. He argued that the language in the commission's draft guidelines isn't specific enough to Wolfeboro's historic districts, but to the districts in Exeter and Amherst, from whose handbooks the language was taken.

While these guidelines have been a good start, Panaccione admitted, "It is too little, too late."

Panaccione closed by saying, "Enough is enough. It is time to abolish the HDC."

Virginia Panaccione took the opportunity to announce that a new Web site devoted to Article 9, to abolish the HDC, has been created at www.openvoices.com.

"The Web site was established to inform the voters, all our neighbors and the town of Wolfeboro about the Historic District Commission and the reasons we feel it is essential to abolish this commission."

According to Panaccione, the site is loaded with the proposed preservation guidelines, background information, past letters to the editor, and more. The site will be constantly updated over the next few weeks to keep the voters informed on Article 9, she said.

Other than a thank you from Selectman Chair Senecal for their comments, there was no response from the board to either of the Panacciones' statements.

Temporary event permits

After briefly reviewing each, the board voted to approve all four temporary event permit applications brought before them.

Three of the events, applied for by Brewster Academy, will be held on Monument Field during several weekends in July and August. The On the Green Arts and Crafts Festivals I and II were approved for July 9-11 and Aug. 13-15, and a Christmas in July Arts and Crafts Festival was approved for the weekend of July 23-25.

The last of the events approved allows the First Congregational Church to hold Sunday Church services at Cate Park from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. June 6 through Oct. 10.

After previously applying for a temporary event permit and being told the application did not meet their request, Arts on the Edge Wolfeboro has reviewed and unanimously agreed on guidelines developed by the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department, a document recommended by the Board as more suitable to the exhibit. Now, with the Board's approval, Arts on the Edge Wolfeboro will hold a sculpture exhibit at Clark Park and other locations this summer season.

Other business

The Board authorized Owen to sign the Voluntary Deed Restriction for wetlands at the Abernaki Ski Area on behalf of the board so that it can properly be recorded at the Registry of Deeds. The amended document was voted on and approved at the Jan. 20 meeting.

A discussion of the rental at Railroad Station was tabled until after the March election. The space occupied by the Wolfeboro Cooperative Nursery School during the school months may undergo repairs if passed by voters in March. Selectmen will need to know to what extent the building will be affected and if renting the space will be a possibility, and how the cost might be affected if it's under renovation.

The board also tabled discussion of re-advertising the position of selectmen's recording secretary. Terry Tavares, who has resigned from the position, will temporarily be replaced by her predecessor, Amy Cappone-Muccio, until summer begins, at which time the board will advertise the position.

A vote on the Board's amended Rules of Procedure was also tabled until the selectmen's next meeting on Feb. 17.

Owen clarified for the board that during the Town Employee Winter Luncheon, to be held Feb. 19, the town offices will remain open. Employees will take lunch in shifts so that the offices will be unaffected.

Selectmen plan to tape a discussion with the Budget Committee, to be aired on Wolfeboro Community TV on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Voc. Ed. at Kingswood Regional High School.

Silk announced that the Friends of Abenaki would be holding their annual pancake breakfast at Garwoods Restaurant, from 7 to 10 a.m. during the last Saturday of February vacation, Feb. 27.

Silk also asked that it be pointed out that both she and Seelctman Murray expressed their appreciation for Selectman Ginter's contributions to the board and willingness to serve at the Jan. 20 meeting, when Ginter announced that she would not be running for reelection in March. The report in the Granite State News of Jan. 28 stated that only Selectman Murray spoke for the rest of the board in saying she appreciated Ginter's work.

Additionally, Silk said that she, not Webster, was the board member who informed the board that Rep. Dave Knox is looking to have the reconstructed Smith River Bridge named in honor of Specialist Matthew J. Stanley, who was killed in Iraq, at the Jan. 13 meeting.

Wolfeboro's Board of Selectmen meets again on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.

Heather Terragni can be reached at 569-3126 or hterragni@salmonpress.com

Martin Lord Osman
Brewster Academy
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