JUSTIN SWIFT is sworn in as Ossipee’s newest police officer. Swift has five years police work experience with Kingston and Pittsfield departments and currently lives in New Durham. (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
January 26, 2012OSSIPEE — Selectmen here had a full meeting Monday night as a new police officer was sworn in, they approved all of the articles for the March town meeting warrant, considered accepting a large conservation easement and considered granting permission for a logging operation to cross town-owned property.
Justin Swift has been sworn in as the newest officer to join Ossipee Police Department. Swift fills a vacancy created when Officer Shane Emerson left the department to join the Wolfeboro Police Department.
Ossipee Police Chief Donald Grow said Swift comes to the position highly recommended. He was one of eight finalists and one of three that were already certified as a full-time police officer. A panel of five including Carroll County Attorney Thomas Dewhurst, Effingham Police Chief Joseph Collins, Ossipee Police Sgt. Joseph Duchesne, Ossipee Police Officer Anthony Castaldo and Carroll County Dispatch Supervisor Keith Brown recommended hiring Swift, said Grow.
Swift has five years police work experience with Kingston and Pittsfield departments. He currently lives in New Durham but will be relocating closer to Ossipee, Grow said.
Conservation Commission Chairman Ralph Buchanan asked selectmen to consider accepting a conservation easement on about 96 acres of wetland off Nichols Road in West Ossipee.
Buchanan explained that when the property was subdivided by Patten Corporation in the 1980s, the town's planning board put a restriction on the plan approval that the backland of each house lot is to be protected from development with an attached conservation easement. Since that time, he explained, Patten Environmental Trust has held the conservation easement for those lots. That trust, he said, is now defunct and the state attorney general's office wrote to the commission and suggested they take ownership of the easements and the monitoring responsibilities.
Monitoring the properties means that commission members will be responsible for walking the properties and working with the lot owners to make sure there is no construction done or materials being dumped that would impact the wetlands. Selectman Harry Merrow questioned the cost. Buchanan said the commission anticipates little expense other than letters notifying property owners about the change in easement holder and the cost of registering new easement deeds. Any wetlands violations, he said, would be reported to NH Department of Environmental Services and that agency would bear the cost of any investigation and enforcement.
Selectmen agreed to take action at a later meeting after they have a chance to review the maps and other materials presented by Buchanan.
NH Secretary of State's Web site lists Patten Environmental Trust as a non-profit corporation that was established in 1987 and is now inactive. The listed registered agent is Robert Scerbo with a mailing address in care of Patten Corporation NH in Bow.
Crossing town property
According to University of New Hampshire Land Use Coordinator Steve Eisenhaure, about a million board feet of timber will be logged on the Lord Property this year. The stretch of property to be logged runs about a mile and a half south from the Lovell River Bridge on the westerly side of Route 16. There is an established right-of-way off Route 16 just across from Indian Mound Golf Course that Eisenhaure said is "excellent." Hauling cut timber to that landing from the southernmost part of the logging operation, a mile and a half away, however, is not the most cost effective option. Eisenhaure said the hope is to be able to used town-owned property at Map 88, Lot 8 to construct the second logging landing.
Money from the timber sales on the Lord property is used to provide college scholarships to UNH.
"Access across town land would enable UNH to expand a planned timber harvest, which would likely occur this coming fall or winter. Access to the southern part of our property will increase the value of the sale, and thus there is greater benefit to the town, the students of Carroll County and the University," his letter to the board reads, in part.
Selectman Harry Merrow said he doesn't have a problem with allowing use of the town property, as long as the abutters are in agreement with it.
Eisenhaure, as requested by selectmen, will draft a letter that selectmen can use to explain the operation to residents and gather their feedback before giving final approval.
Town property maps and assessing information are available online through the town's website at www.ossipee.org with a link titled, "Assessing data now online." Access requires a password that can be obtained by calling the town hall at 539-4181.
Other meeting notes
• Selectmen voted to approve a request to waive the building permit fees for Agape Ministries' project to revamp the former Pine Hill Plaza on Route 16 in West Ossipee that was heavily damaged by fire in 2008. At first, they were set to vote against the request until Zoning Enforcement Officer David Senecal verified that, in the past, the board has waived building permit fees for other non-profits, including the county's new nursing home. Waiving the fees will save Agape nearly $1,000.
• Selectmen approved the warrant articles that will be voted on at the March 14 town meeting. Some notable articles include purchasing a new backhoe and pickup truck for the highway department, renovations to the One Moultonville Road building to convert it to land use board meeting and storage space, a list of road paving projects, roof replacement on the transfer station's main building and replacement of the Thurley Road Bridge that crosses Dan Hole Brook. The warrant articles will be sent to the town's budget committee for approval as they work to finalize the total proposed 2012 budget.
• The filing period for anyone wishing to run for election to town office opened yesterday (Jan. 25) and will remain open until Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. Filings can be made in the Town Clerk's office. Sixteen elected positions will be on the ballot March 13 as voters will have the chance to vote for one selectman, a moderator, a treasurer, a trustee of trust funds, a cemetery trustee, three library trustees, two budget committee members, a supervisor of the checklist, two planning board members, three zoning board members and a water/sewer commissioner.