Raymond Community News

Smoking, Hunting Policies Adopted By Raymond Selectmen
by Mona Zecevic   8-25-14

The Monday, Aug. 25 Board of Selectmen meeting answered several questions about the use of public land in Raymond.

The board unanimously approved a motion to allow hunting, including a discharge of firearms, on Lots 17 and 21 on Map 9, which sit on town owned land on Morrison Road.

Board members also enacted an ordinance that will ban smoking on outdoor recreational properties except in designated smoking areas.

But these decisions did not come without much discussion.

When the board reviewed the conservation commission’s request to allow hunting on the Morrison Road property, they relied on suggestions from the 2009 Board of Selectmen and Town Manager.

But Chairman Wayne Welch made it clear that these were only suggestions.

“We’re not bound by other boards’ decisions,” Welch said.

Selectwoman Colleen West-Coates repeatedly addressed a concern over a notation from the former board members.

The notation, included on a list of properties suggested to be used for hunting, stated that the Morrison Road property on Map 9 Lot 21 should only be used as a playground.

Conservation Commission member Paul Hammond then provided the Board with deeds that stated both lots were acquired through either a tax sale or tax lien, which imposed no deed restriction against hunting on these properties.

Town Manager Craig Wheeler informed the board that according to legal advice from attorneys at Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, PLLC, Warrant Article 28 authorizes selectmen to allow hunting on town property as long as it meets New Hampshire Fish and Game laws.

Article 28 also requires the board to receive public input on the matter through a duly noticed hearing, which occurred during the Board of Selectmen meeting on Aug. 18.

Selectman Bill Hoitt said he did not want to delay the decision further if there are no restrictions on the land. Hoitt made a motion to approve hunting on both lots and the board agreed unanimously.

Members of the board then addressed a petition warrant article to ban smoking in outdoor recreational areas.

Wheeler explained that enacting an outdoor non-smoking ordinance with an imposed fine would be invalid.

But for Selectman Jack Barnes, it was the vote of the people that mattered. “I’m going to vote for this ordinance because the voters voted for it,” he said. “I’m going to go with what the voters said even though I think it’s terrible and I don’t like it.”

Board members struggled to find a middle ground until Hammond provided the Selectmen with Petition Warrant Article 25, which called for an amendment to Town Code 273-8.

The amendment would state that, “No person shall smoke any tobacco related product on town recreational property including Cammett Field, Route 107 Ball Fields, Riverside Park, Town Common, and associated parking areas unless in a posted designated smoking area to be determined.”

West-Coates agreed that designated smoking areas would be a good compromise.

Welch and Vice Chairman Greg Bemis specified that the intent of the article was to set an example for children that smoking is bad, and Bemis made a motion to move forward with the spirit of the petition.

All board members voted to enact the ordinance except Hoitt, who abstained. When asked to provide a reason for abstaining, Hoitt replied, “I just do. That’s my reason.”

Public Comment at Monday’s meeting was also made in good spirits.

Resident Bob Gagnon announced a dramatic reading of “Will Green’s War” that will be held at the Raymond Congregational Church on Sept. 17 during the town’s 250th celebration.

The Sportsman Club will also be running a contest with a novelty shoot to replicate Civil War veteran Will Green’s sharpshooting skills.

In other business:

• The board approved Boy Scout Anthony Dickerson’s request to place a bench commemorating Raymond’s six French and Indian War veterans in the Town Common. Completing the project will move Dickerson up to Eagle Scout rank.

• Wheeler referenced under correspondence Leslie O’Donnell’s RSA 91-A:3, III Right to Know request for unsealing the minutes of a 2011 non-public meeting when the Board of Selectmen removed her and two other Conservation Commission members “for cause.” No explanation for the removal has been given.

Wheeler said he is in the process of finding the 2011 Board of Selectmen minutes pertaining to the request. He said the matter will come up again when the minutes are brought to the board for further review. O’Donnell is the editor of Raymond Area News.





















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