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Raymond Selectmen Asked to Reverse Vote on Flint Hill Restricted Deed
By Cheryl Killam    11-25-14

Three Raymond citizens Kathy Lee, Brian Campbell and Cheryl Killam, decided to try to reverse the  3 to 2 vote at the Raymond Board of Selectmen’s meeting  on Monday November 17, 2014 to place  a ‘Restricted Deed” on the Flint Hill property instead of the “Conservation Easement” the voters approved on warrant article 28 in 2009.

It took 5 hours on Sunday afternoon Nov 23rd,  to gather 113 signatures on a petition to ask  the selectmen to honor the will of voters.

The petition said: We the undersigned voters of Raymond request the Board of Selectmen RESCIND the vote of Monday Nov. 17, 2014 to place a “Restricted Deed” on 145 acres of Flint Hill property.

We further request the Board of Selectmen abide by the majority of voters 601 – 352 who voted at the 2009 Town Meeting and passed warrant article 28 to place a “Conservation Easement” on 145 acres of the Flint Hill property to be held by a recognized New Hampshire Conservation Easement Holding Entity through a deed from the Town as Grantor to the Entity as Grantee on the parcel.

The feedback from the public was that they were very pleased that this petition was going to be handed to the selectmen because, “what the selectmen did was wrong”, said one signee, Eileen Fitzgerald.  

On Monday, Nov. 24, Killam reminded Chairman Wayne Welch, that Frank Bishop tried to stop the Town from implementing the Lillian Cassier Memorial Forest Conservation Easement  in 2010 with a lawsuit  that asked the court to put the warrant article back on the ballot for voters to revote  on in March 2011, and he lost.  Bishops lawsuit cost the town taxpayers $14,500.

The August 31, 2010 decision below from the Rockingham Superior Court  Judge Kenneth  R. McHugh was that the vote of the people needed to be implemented and is the same with the 2009 warrant article 28.     

 

In the Objection for Injunctive Relief submitted by Raymond Town Attorneys Donahue, Tucker and Ciandella (“DTC”) the following items were included:

 

Included in the Motion to Dismiss submitted by  DTC was the following:

 

The Board of Selectmen (BOS) were given the authority in 2009  to place a Conservation Easement on 145 acres of the Flint Hill property to be held by a recognized New Hampshire Conservation Easement Holding Entity through a deed from the Town as Grantor to the Entity as Grantee on the parcel with a majority vote of 601 to 352 on  warrant article 28. The BOS were not given the authority to place a Restricted Deed.  

The selectmen have authority to change the vote of the people only to avoid doing something illegal.  This is still an active legal warrant article . 

At the Nov. 17 selectmen's meeting Jack Barnes said, “There has been a lot of conversation about it. No one has come to me complaining about what hasn’t happened up there. I haven’t had one complaint.”  

Kathy Lee said, “I attended the BOS meetings on August 18 and October 27 and asked the selectmen when they were going to work on the Flint Hill conservation easement from the 2009 warrant article 28 and reminded Barnes that his quote was still available from Candidates Night on RCTV.   Why should people contact him when he said, ' If the citizens made a decision, that’s good enough for me. That’s why people go and vote.  I want to know  what’ s going on and why it hasn’t happened.  If the voters voted yes it’s OK by me.' 

She said, “The public trusted him to keep his word.”

Brian Campbell said he sent a letter to Barnes in August. In his letter he said, "I am becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of activity implementing the conservation easement on the Flint Hill Property. I am requesting that as a veteran, former state senator, current and past selectman and local leader, that you take a leadership role in getting the easement completed."

Prior  Boards of Selectmen over the past 5 years with the following chairmen  Frank Bourque in 2009 and 2013,  Timothy Auclair in 2010, Bill Hoitt in 2011 and Lee Weldy in 2012  have failed to implement the vote of the people on this warrant article.

The difference between a Conservation Easement and a Restricted Deed is the conservation easement has a grantee or third party who holds the easement.  Without a conservation easement  there is no accountability for the town to keep the Flint Hill property protected and environmentally self-sustainable when this generation is long gone.

A restricted deed that does not have a third party to oversee that the conditions or restrictions written into the deed are never violated has no impact.

The next board of selectmen’s meeting is Monday December 1 at 7 pm in the Raymond High School Media Center. Public input is usually first on the agenda for those interested in voicing their opinion on this issue.

 To read more on conservation easements visit  the  Land Trust Alliance website .

 

Warrant Article 28 From 2009 Annual Report

Shall the Town of Raymond vote to place all but 70 acres of the parcel located on tax Map 35 Lot 4, otherwise known as Flint Hill, into a conservation easement held by a recognized New Hampshire conservation easement holding entity (“The Entity”), with the 70 contiguous acres to be reserved located along the southern boundary of the parcel, for future economic development purposes, such purposes to include infrastructure improvements and non-residential commercial, light manufacturing and/or mixed use business park, any of which must conform with applicable zoning. 

The Conservation Easement will be achieved through a deed from the Town as Grantor to the Entity as Grantee, and easement monitoring fees to be paid by the Town from the Conservation Fund.  This will ensure that the Town will have no future ability to use or develop any portion of Flint Hill, except for the aforementioned 70 acres.

  Further, that the balance of the acreage within the Conservation Easement may be included as pooled mitigation land in accordance with the Town of Raymond Expandable Pooled Mitigation Plan (the EPMP), adopted in December of 2007. This is a petitioned warrant article.  

Yes 601      No 352

 

In the interest of full disclosure Cheryl Killam owns Raymond Area News.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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