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new ipswich

Beleaguered building to remain

Plan for $12,500 study of emergency services facility fails

  • Building No. 2, the former district SAU office and Police Department, will remain standing, after a $46,000 warrant article to demolish the building was defeated during a ballot vote on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Voters had the final say on the fate of Building No. 2 at the polls on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Doris Sherburne of New Ipswich casts her ballots at the polls Tuesday afternoon in the Mascenic High School gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

NEW IPSWICH — Building No. 2 will remain standing, after a petition article to demolish the facility failed at the polls on Tuesday.

The majority of the articles on the warrant passed, including the town’s $2,566,384 budget. Only three articles fell short of the required number of votes — two of them having to do with municipal buildings.

Article 15 , brought by petition, proposed raising $46,000 to demolish Building No. 2, which until 2008 housed the Police Department. The building was abandoned when an infestation of black mold was discovered. In March 2011, voters then approved by a wide margin, 748-435, $70,00 to renovate the building and remove the mold. The same year, the Select Board approved an $80,000 expenditure to put heating and air conditioning in the building. But in 2012, voters decided not to fund further renovations that might make the building habitable, reducing a 130,000 warrant article to $0 at the town’s Deliberative Session.

“People voted last year not to spend another penny on Building 2, and it seems that they did the same this year,” said Select Board Chair George Lawrence, who was reelected in Tuesday’s election. Lawrence had not been in support of the article as there are several systems, including water and phone lines, located in Building No. 2 for both the town offices and highway garage that he felt the article didn’t address. He was disappointed, however, that no clear solution for Building No. 2 resulted from the vote.

“It’s going to sit for another year and deteriorate,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but true.”

Article 17 also failed at the polls; it asked for $12,500 to fund a feasibility study to determine space needs for the Fire Department, Police Department and Emergency Management Department. The study could have been a first step in building or purchasing a building to serve as a central location for all three departments, and would have included determining a location and a drafting design for the building.

Lawrence said he was disappointed that the funds for the feasibility study had been turned down, as it left the Select Board few options to move forward with in addressing space issues for both the Fire Department and the Police Department.

A $25,000 request to repave the parking lot at the fire station also failed. Fire Chief David Leel said in an interview Wednesday he was disappointed the funds hadn’t been approved, as the parking lot is badly in need of repair.

One major win for the town was the passing of two significant monetary articles for road reconstruction, one that asked for $250,000, which passed 798-195, and another for $350,000, which passed 654-314. The money will pay for the reconstruction of at least two major roads, including Temple Road, which will begin in the spring, said Lawrence. The town also approved a $40,000 article for engineering plans and wetland permits for River Road and Poor Farm Road, in anticipation of fixing those roads next year.

The town pool will see some much-needed repairs this year, as the town supported raising $35,000 from taxation and using a further $40,000 from the pool maintenance capital reserve to install a new 7.5 horsepower pump, add an interior finish, paint new depth markers, and acid wash the pool.

The town approved two petition zoning articles this year. The first waived permit requirements for small outbuildings in town, including outbuildings under 120 square feet, portable fabric shelters, portable greenhouses under 25 feet in length and temporary parade or fair tents or booths. The article passed 610-374.

The second eliminated impact fees, which previously required any applicant with an approved subdivision or site plan to pay a share of off site improvements to public facilities, such as the local schools. New Ipswich implemented impact fees in 2004. The intent of repealing the fees is to make housing more affordable for residents, according to the article. Voters supported rescinding the fees 697-281.

A third petition article was also approved. Town Clerk and Tax Collector Cindy Lussier drafted a petition to have the town offices accept credit cards for transactions such as for vehicle registrations.

Lawrence said the Select Board would likely be discussing the implementation of the town office credit card system at an upcoming board meeting. “It’s apparent that’s what people want. If that’s what the people want, that’s what should happen,” said Lawrence.

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