Freedom — November 6, 2009 — Much of Tuesday’s meeting of the Article 26 Committee was spent in public debate and on debate within the committee on its own procedure. Eventually, the architect was asked to make his presentation.
First, he showed how the decision made at the last meeting to use the Town Hall building for all meetings of 30 or more people would reduce the demand for floor space, and, most particularly, for maximum parking, at the existing Town Offices if they were to be renovated and enlarged.
Several members of the public spoke up in favor of not spending any money on the existing town office building, because of the limitations of parking in the vicinity, and because of the lack of room for further future expansion.
There was some debate about the need to allow for growth in the size of municipal buildings, both on account of population numbers and on account of the tendency for growth in the scope of public services.
There was no definite conclusion about the need to make provision for growth beyond the 20-year period envisaged in the current planning exercise. It is evident, however, that there is still room for growth beyond that on the existing Town Office site. There was also some debate about parking standards.
The architect next demonstrated possibilities if the town were to purchase the Clancy house, 59 Old Portland Road. It would be possible to build the required area of new offices behind the house, and to accommodate the necessary parking, but it would be hard for the town to find a good use for the house. Thus, it would seem likely to find itself with two fine old historical buildings on its hands, without a good use for either.
After much debate, it was decided to whittle the options down to five, and to calculate the relative costs for each. The five options are:
- (A) Renovate and extend the existing Town Office. Move the police to the existing fire station site and build new for both departments at that site
- (D) Renovate and extend the existing Town Office. Move the police and fire departments to a new site purchased on Ossipee Lake Road (this would leave the existing fire department site, with building, empty)
- (E) Move town office facilities and police and fire departments to a new site purchased on Ossipee Lake Road, and build new for all functions (this would leave the existing Town Office building and site, and the fire department site with building, empty)
- (H) Move town office facilities and police and fire departments to the existing fire station site and build new for all (this would leave the existing Town Office building with site, empty)
- (I) Move town office facilities to new site at 59 Old Portland Road. Move police to the existing fire station site and build new for both departments (this would leave the existing Town Office building and site, and the historic house at 59 Old Portland Road, empty)
The next meeting of the Committee was scheduled for Tuesday November 24th and was announced to be a meeting with the architect and the users of the three Town facilities to thrash out details of room requirements. The public was invited to be present.