Town Meeting 2021: Peterborough elects new board members, passes Article 2

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Peterborough held its Town Meeting voting at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/12/2021 12:10:55 PM

Peterborough’s Article 2 – and a Planning Board candidate who backed it – both won out at Town Meeting Tuesday, as voters passed all warrant articles and elected new members to the Planning, Zoning and Select boards while reelecting Town Clerk Linda Guyette.

New Planning Board member Stephanie Hurley said she hopes to work well with her colleagues after being driven to run for office by unpleasant experiences working with the board as a citizen, after petitions to repeal and/or modify Peterborough’s Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zones I and II two years ago eventually led to a pair of lawsuits.

“I’m not holding any grudges,” Hurley said. “I want to work with the board, because I know they have a lot of knowledge and I have a lot to learn.”

Hurley was a proponent of Peterborough’s Article 2, which sought to strike a clause in the Open Space Residential Development ordinance that gives the Planning Board the ability to modify the requirements. That article passed 852-817. Hurley received 808 votes for her three-year planning seat; the next closest was Sarah Steinberg Heller, who was elected to the other three-year seat by just one vote, 502-501 over Blair Weiss.

“I definitely want affordable housing and tiny houses,” Hurley said. “I want to look into that, and I want to help citizens find ways to bring in affordable, workforce housing, as well as help other people who recognize the beauty of our town. I just want to follow the codes, and if we need to change the codes, change them.”

Select Board

Peterborough’s Select Board race was whittled down to Richard Clark and William Kennedy after Karen Hatcher’s sudden exit Sunday night; Kennedy won the day with 859 votes to Clark’s 548.

“Second time’s the charm,” Kennedy, who ran unsuccessfully in 2019, joked Wednesday morning.

Kennedy said he had been meeting with department heads and other board members throughout his campaign to get a sense of what is most important for the town going forward.

“It’s all about that conversation and that back and forth that makes our town really strong,” he said.

The biggest issue he’s heard from constituents, he said, is housing, and while the Select Board doesn’t have a direct say on planning and zoning matters, “you can certainly have administrative influence” on housing policies, Kennedy said. A former Economic Development Authority member, Kennedy said he hopes to revive the town’s housing task force.

Given his tech background, it’s logical that Kennedy’s first order of business is to increase residents’ access to the town’s virtual meetings, currently being live-streamed on Facebook without the ability to allow citizens to participate in true real-time conversation with the boards.

“One of the areas that I want to improve is civic participation,” Kennedy said. “By our current system, people can participate in Select Board meetings, but its’ kind of at arms length due to the Facebook situation.” Kennedy said he hopes to set the meeting up on Zoom to allow residents to weigh in live.

“I’m a good listener and I like to hear people’s opinions,” he said.

Virtual meeting attendees should have it a little easier sometime in the near future, as Peterborough voters approved a broadband internet buildout plan, partnering with Consolidated Communications for a bond-free $262,000 appropriation to deliver high-speed internet to every underserved residence in town.

Although both Hatcher and Judy Wilson Ferstenberg dropped out of the race, the pair received their share of votes due to early voters who cast absentee ballots or those who were not informed about the two dropping out. Hatcher received 146 votes and Ferstenberg 72. Even if all those voters had cast their ballot for Clark and added to his 548-vote total, Kennedy still would have had the edge.

“It looks like it was a clear mandate,” Kennedy said.

Town Clerk

Peterborough’s three-way Town Clerk race went resoundingly to incumbent Linda Guyette, who won with 1,004 votes. Challenger Eddie Gomez II received 564 votes and Brendan Bohl 202.

Other winners included:

Donald Parkhurst, three-year Budget Committee seat

Josh Blair, one-year Planning Board seat

Richard Dunning, three-year Cemetery Commission seat

Laura Hanson and Karen Struthers, Library Trustee, three-year terms

Robert Fox, three-year Recreation Committee seat

Michelle Rourke, two-year Recreation Committee seat

Roxanne Loudin, one-year Recreation Committee seat

Loretta Laurenitis and Donald Selby, three-year Zoning Board seat

Phillips Runyon III, Town Moderator, three-year term

Mandy Sliver, Treasurer, three-year term

Thomas B. Mullins, Trustee of the Trust Funds, three-year term

John A. Nieskens, Trustee of the Trust Funds, two-year term

Voters also approved $163,100 to stock capital reserve and expendable trust funds, $400,000 for the ambulance revolving fund, $400,000 for the roadway systems upgrade capital reserve fund, and a $3,000 transfer from the cemetery fund. Voters approved releasing the town’s restrictive covenant on a water supply at RiverMead, and approved a pair of resolutions: one on committing the town to 100 percent renewable energy and another committing the town to urge the state to conduct non-partisan redistricting.

The town budget passed at $15,817,741.

Voters cast 1,796 ballots for this Town Meeting cycle, more than twice as many as voted in 2020’s Town Meeting during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As my first time as an elected officer running for office,” Hurley said, “I was thrilled to see participation from so many people. There was a huge crowd down there lining the walkway.”




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2020 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy