Rindge

Overlay district nixed at the polls

Select Board member unseated

  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.
  • Rindge voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 2 amending zoning regulations around the intersection of Routes 202 and 119, March 11.

RINDGE — Rindge residents have insured that the intersection of Routes 119 and 202 will not be altered by zoning amendments in Article 2, which they turned down at the polls by a vote of 434 in favor and 969 opposed.

The article asked for voters to create an Overlay District, which would allow for additional development of the area around the intersection, and more business and commerce to take place there. The article stated that the goal of the Overlay District was to make the intersection a center for commerce and community activities.

The incumbent Select Board member Samuel Seppala lost his seat in the election to Robert Hamilton, with a vote of 635 to 784. Hamilton said in an phone interview Wednesday that he would like to work to keep the town’s budget relatively similar to what it is. People don’t want things to change, he added. “I’m a little surprised that I won because it was such an uphill battle for me,” said Hamilton. “[Seppala] did his job for three years and I thank him for that.”

Voters also approved the town’s operating budget of $3,706,500.

They also approved $18,000 for the replacement of Wellington Bridge and $28,000 for work on Converseville Road to provide alternative access onto Route 119.

An article asking for $161,000 for a new six wheel dump truck for the Highway Department failed.

Voters approved $25,000 towards maintenance on the meetinghouse,but turned down $25,000 to replace a 13-year-old Recreation Department vehicle and $25,000 to add into the library’s Facilities Capital Reserve.

At the polls on Tuesday, voters said they were concerned that the Overlay District article would irreversibly change the landscape of Rindge and rely on government grant dollars. In addition, the article would reduce the required lot sizes allowing for half-acre lots.

“It seems that they’re setting this town up for building, building, building,” said Larry Cleveland, a member of the Save Our Town resident committee, which formed in opposition to Article 2. “We want to keep Rindge small and rural.”

Cleveland said he and the committee were concerned about government grants which would be used to develop the area. He said he would like to keep the federal government out of development projects in Rindge. The way in which the zoning amendment was proposed on the ballot was also deceptive, he said.

“I think the overlay district was totally deceiving,” said Cleveland. “Nowhere in there will it say they’re changing the zoning from two-acre to half-acre. The voters are going to vote on that and not even know what they’re voting on.”

Another member of the committee, John O’Day, echoed those concerns and said he didn’t want federal dollars in Rindge either.

“I think the federal government has way too much say in how we live our lives these days,” said O’Day. “I’m against HUD grants.”

Holly Koski, who ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for a Planning Board seat, said the area is already zoned for business and she didn’t see any reason to change it.

“The people on the 202 intersection [with Route 119] aren’t happy with what’s happening with zoning,” said Koski. “It’s already zoned as commercial and businesses can already build there. It’s just a matter of the lot size. Leave it at two-acres, that’s what people want.”

At the polls voters seemed to agree, voting against the article by a more than two to one margin.

“I have mixed feelings on it,” said Phil Stenersen. “I have no issues with letting landowners have more options in doing what they want to do. I’m against the architectural design regulations. I love our quaint little New England village. We have a place for business and our little town center. Rindge has the best of both worlds.”

Residents also voted 494 to 963 against Article 3, which would have changed the language of the frontage section of the zoning ordinance requiring every lot to have 100 feet of frontage.

Voters also turned down Article 4, with a vote of 544 to 914, which would have required lots in the College Zoning District to be at least one acre.

Article 5 failed too, with a 577 to 882 vote. It would have amended the zoning ordinance to include language defining detached dwellings, or smaller living spaces separated from the primary residence. The article would have included regulations for those detached residences including limitations on their size and architecture.

Voters approved Article 6, with a vote of 903 to 522, allowing several changes to the Aquifer Protection District Ordinance by creating a Water Resources and Aquifer Base Map, clarifying the language of the appeal provision in the case that an aquifer’s location is uncertain, and clarify legal appeals for aquifer issues.

Voters approved Article 7 by a narrow margin, with a vote of 746 to 705, altering the language of the Wetlands Conservation District Ordinance.

Article 8 passed with a wider margin, 936 to 501. It would allow homeowners to rent their spaces for weddings, events, and other similar rentals.

Residents also supported Article 32 submitted by petition, with a 1001 to 403 vote, to urge New Hampshire to join other states in regulating political spending.

Hayden James can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or hjames@ledgertranscript.com.

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