"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Friday, February 26, 2016

New Owners for 4 Whittier Highway?

Jerry Boyson who runs his business out of 4 Whittier Highway, literally at the front door to Moultonboro next to Center Harbor, is in the process of negotiating with the building owner to buy the building. The Town for whatever reason in the distant past, owns the land it sits on and leases it to the building owner. The current lease will expire in 15 years or so and Mr. Boyson cannot get financing unless the lease is for at least 30 years. He wants to renovate the property and instead of an eyesore, it would be an asset as people enter Moultonboro.
The BoS have two articles on the warrant this year.One is to seek permission from the legislative body to sell the land, and the other is to seek permission to amend/extend the lease. We had originally thought this was a one or the other proposition and if the article to sell passed, we would motion to pass over the  next article to extend the lease. Enter Mr. Boyson, who stated that last year in a conversation with the previous Town Administrator, had requested similar action for 2015 Town meeting, but for some reason, the BoS were not made aware of that request and it did not make it to the warrant.
What was suggested this year, was to seek permission to sell the land and to also seek permission to extend the lease. It is a win-win in my mind and Mr. Boyson and his partner should be commended for wanting to keep their business in our town and improving the look of our front door.


Eric Taussig said...

I was at last nights meeting and don't see why the problem can't be solved by a simple amendment to the article(s) to frame for the legislative body the necessary question to accomplish the goal that it appears the BoS intended but for the miscommunication of the issue(s) with the prior TA.

That being said, the amendment(s) will have to be properly drafter, proposed seconded and approved by voters at the Town Meeting, who will still have to approve the necessary article(s).

Joseph Cormier said...

"That being said, the amendment(s) will have to be properly drafter, proposed seconded and approved by voters at the Town Meeting, ..."

Amendments ...

We all have one vote at town meeting. We may not agree on how to vote. No problem! The only day we're a democracy, and doesn't necessitate personal adversity.

Not-so-different, but ancillary issue, pertaining to amendments.

"And yet there may be proposed amendments, the legality of which is unclear, seeking to bind the hands of the BoS and not allow us to meet our fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers. I would not be in support of any amendment to the article."

The legality of the legislative body action at town meeting is clear to me. Many articles of/from the NHMA are available, and have been submitted to the BoS. Mobo is paying what ... $10-12k a year for being a member of the NHMA. Why not have Walter see what he can get from them. They may not be able to give legal advice, but can provide source documentation to the issue.

If town counsel is going to give a legal opinion, that's fine as well. BUT, provide legal citation. We're paying for his services, as well. If there is no case law, some of us know what that means, as well. His opinion is just that, and another lawyer will argue the opposite.


Another option the town has, is to get a Superior Court ruling, on their thoughts about the issue. Not a lawsuit, just an opinion from the court. Might be enough time and save everyone some time, money ... and grief.

I do know there is NO SUCH THING AS AN ILLEGAL AMENDMENT. Non-binding and/or unenforceable ... sure! I personally don't believe adding a "rider" to a warrant article would be overturned but a court of law.

Let's all take a breadth!

Anonymous said...

It would look a lot better than when you're driving to town and see old tractors and excavator out front just saying

Anonymous said...

win-win...depends on the price

Anonymous said...

This property has frontage on Lake Winni where many of us launch our kayaks. It also also supports the operations of the adjoining kayak shop; Please do not vote to sell; extend the land lease OK but pls do not sell the land.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

There is a rangeway running roughly along Wharf Road so there is a permanent easement to access the docks and water. Nothing will change if the land is sold.

Joseph Cormier said...

"There is a rangeway running roughly along Wharf Road so there is a permanent easement to access the docks and water. Nothing will change if the land is sold."

Not challenging, blogger ... but providing some input. Not quite an amendment, butt ... :)

Got back from the Bobhouse, and just about ready to watch Gold Rush.

Saw the post and thought, gee, it'll be nice when the registry of deeds starts the online access to deeds. It should happen in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, "rangeways" ... Bernie Waugh is often quoted by the NH Supreme Court at times, as an authority, in some of their decisions, when it gets to road law. His "Hard Road to Travel" book is a classic. I can lend my copy out ... on second thought, buy your own :)

NH BAR excerpts:


What remains of the rangeways? Bernard Waugh, Jr. addresses this issue in his manual on road law.

If subdivision lots are sold fronting a "paper street" that never gets accepted, those lots often have no other access. Since it’s well-known that abutters are presumed to own title to the center of a street or way [], the owners of "front lots" sometimes claim possession of the paper street, and try to block off access to the "back lot" owners. That’s what happened in Duchesnaye v. Silva 118 N.H. 728 (1978). But the Court held that, although the "front lot" owners did own the "soil" to the center of the platted streets abutting their lots, nevertheless every "back lot" owner had an implied easement of access over those paper streets - and not just a personal right to pass over them, but the right to develop them from end to end for public access to his/her property!46

A careful reading of Duchesnaye shows that the implied easement created is a private easement appurtenant to the lots abutting the paper street. The private easement gives the public the right to access the abutting lots, in contrast to creating a public highway for all to use for any reason. The common law rule that "mere ... nonuse by itself does not terminate an easement" applies to these implied easements.47

Therefore, under Duchesnaye, it would follow that most rangeways are encumbered to this day by private viatic easements benefiting lots abutting the rangeway. Exactly which lots are benefited, and the full extent of the private rights, is an open question."


Older 2005 "stuff"

Going to the bathroom, now, and then watch cable TV ... or some streaming.
GOT broadband?

Fred Van Magness said...

In looking at the budget, I see an amount of $1,860 from rental of town property. Is this the annual revenue we get from the ground lease? If we sold the land, what is its current appraised value? What amount of property taxes are we foregoing by renting instead of selling? Is the difference significant or negligible? Could we redeploy the cash from a land sale to offset any capital costs if the Community Center is approved?Is this land insured by the town...if so, at what annual cost? Is the tenant/building owner liable for all land maintenance, including plowing, sanding, etc. I am not sure I understand the full extent of this issue, so will await town meeting for more discussion and knowledge before forming a firm opinion. But my first take is that the town really should not be in the role of landlord. It is not a long term government role or responsibility. But a lease for 30 years seems somewhat unreasonable without a lot more facts. I appreciate the position of a mortgage company not willing to put forth a mortgage unless the land is totally secured for the entire lease period. And I really applaud the current lessee who wants to buy the building. We obviously need to support and encourage business owners who drive jobs in our community, but do we really want to be in the land rental business that may be encumbered for the next 30 years? Of interest is the recent battles in Laconia over a marina that rented town land and had built a building, only to have the city decide not to renew a lease but to sell to the highest bidder....a huge penalty to a business. I would hope the potential buyer is present and addresses town meeting before any vote is taken. I would like to hear from them first hand.

Anonymous said...

Why is it automatic that the current renter can buy the building? If we are going to sell it we should do it in the open market and get the true value for it.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

It will go on the open market.

Joseph Cormier said...

"It will go on the open market. "

Who says?

The town DOESN'T own the building. It's up to the owner, not the BoS.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

I'm referring to the land Joe.