Ossipee—November 2, 2017—The purchase of Camp Sokokis is the town’s best hope for acquiring a residents-only beach on Ossipee Lake, selectmen’s chair Richard Morgan told a crowd of about 100 residents and out-of-towners gathered Monday at town hall for a public hearing on the proposed land purchase. Ossipee selectmen want to purchase land and buildings located at 130 Gretchen Road for the purpose of a town beach and recreation area. It would include 52 acres and 200 feet of beach frontage.
The land is being sold by Dianne and Bill Sheehan of Ossipee. They had offered a smaller piece of land for free, but Morgan said that proposal wouldn’t meet the town’s needs because it wouldn’t have been large enough and lacked space for parking.
Selectmen said they don’t want to run a campground; they just want residents to have access to the lake. The asking price is $1.2 million. Residents will be asked to vote on the proposal at a special town meeting set for Nov. 28. Selectmen and the budget committee will hold more public hearings on the proposal today [November 2].
Morgan said getting a beach on Ossipee Lake has been a goal for decades. But right now, access to the lake is limited.
“If you do not do this, I think it is the death knell for the concept of a beach on Ossipee Lake,” Morgan said, “because I don’t know of another site available or likely to become available.”
He listed a number of features that make the site attractive, including access to and from Route 16B, which means residents can access the beach without disrupting neighborhoods. It also has plenty of parking.
“Some of us have been looking for this site for 15 years,” said Morgan. “Somebody show me another site on Ossipee Lake that would give what this site gives, and I’ll gladly take a look at it. I can tell you they are not out there.”
In addition to being used for swimming, the site also would be used in the winter for ice-fishing and snowmobiling.
Residents pressed Morgan on maintenance and police patrol needs. One man asked if police really had time to monitor the beach, to which Morgan replied, “That’s a preposterous presumption.”
Morgan said police are patrolling the town all day, every day, and they have time to patrol the beach as needed.
Audience members chuckled when Morgan said there was wide enough of passing two cars.
“I don’t think so,” said one man.
One woman was upset that she would not be allowed to vote by absentee ballot, and Morgan said that’s an issue for the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
The purchase would be paid for by taking $200,000 out of the town’s unassigned fund balance and then bonding the rest for about 30 years at a cost of $85,000 per year. That equates to 15 cents per thousand dollars of property value if there’s zero growth, “which never happens,” said Morgan, adding that between 2016 and 2017, the town’s value went up $7 million. Last year’s tax rate for the town was $6.29 per thousand dollars of assessed value.
Morgan also clarified there would not be a lifeguard at the beach. He said lifeguards are hard to find and increase the town’s liability. He said the town’s beach ordinance on Duncan Lake would apply to this new beach, which means it wouldn’t be open at night, and alcohol and pets wouldn’t be allowed. The beach would be open only to Ossipee taxpayers and their guests. Access would require a transfer station sticker.
The docks would be removed, Morgan said. “Boats and swimmers do not mix.”
One audience member asked how the purchase and sales agreement related to the 45 campsites. Morgan said some of the campers can stay until 2020. Campers would have to move to make room for parking.
Maureen Nault, a new resident and camper of 12 years, was skeptical of the purchase.
“My question is where would the $1.2 million be better spent — for the economic development of your town, which would attract more residents and raise your assessment, or a town beach you could use for three or four months per year?” asked Nault, noting that Ossipee schools have had low test scores.
Morgan said the school and its budget have nothing to do with the town. He also asked her if residents deserve a place to access the beach.
“There was a donated beach,” she replied.
Some, like Indian Mound Golf Course owner Jonathan Rivers, were concerned about the economic impact of losing 45 campers. Selectman Sandra “Sam” Martin said nearby businesses might actually see an increase in revenue because beach-goers would be staying in Ossipee rather than traveling elsewhere.
Planning board member Dennis Legendre added that Westward Shores had been approved for 150-200 campsites at Ossipee Lake.
“There’s going to be more than enough to make up for those 40 campsites,” said Legendre who also said he supported the purchase.
The selectmen will hold a public hearing on the proposed bond at 5:30 p.m. today [November 2] at the town hall. The budget committee will hold a hearing on the proposed town beach at 6:30 p.m. at town hall.
“Beach goers would be staying in Ossipee rather than traveling elsewhere”. Are the inept board of Selectman expecting this property to become the “Jewel of Carroll County”?A “must see of Ossipee”!
If people treat the proposed beach the way they treat Duncan Lake, this property will become a stain on the lake.
I’d love to know how the bully squad (selectman) determined that the donated parcel of land would not hold adequate parking for the new town beach? The selectman have a way to look like a bunch of heroes… gaining a FREE town beach on Ossipee. Obviously there are other motives in the background, give it time and the donkey Morgan will be exposed.
If any townies think their taxes won’t go up, make sure you get that in writing and signed by the 3 stooges.
The saying goes, if something seems too good to be true then it is.
Rick Morgan is a buffoon who is clearly out for personal gain. He wants to be the town hero. His story about this purchase and details of what will happen all continually change. He is clearly not divulging the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Anyone who is willing to take the time to follow this as I have, can see there are blatant misdirects. Don’t forget that Rick Morgan is a salesman! Salesmen know how to tell you what you want or hear without telling you everything you actually need to know to make a properly informed decision. His job is to sell it, our job is to buy it, hook line and sinker. Ask the right questions and you’ll get the right answers.
First the campers were going to pay the bond, then only part of it, then he was going to kick them all out, now he’s going to let some of them stay but presumably make their lives so miserable that they leave so he doesn’t get blamed for kicking them out.
According to Rick, we’re only going to have to pay a $1 million bond. $200k is coming straight out of town funds. there won’t be any cost for “anything” else. So, the extra police patrols, water/sewer dept., parks/rec dept, plowing, maintenance, daily/weekly upkeep, picking up used drug needles, additional staffing for these departments, use of equipment, gasoline etc., is all coming from a magical money bag we don’t know about. Awesome! How much money did we put into Constitution Park, as opposed to how much it gets used? Why is all this going to be figured out AFTER we vote to spend a million dollars?
The story on how the deal was made doesn’t vibe with what I’ve heard around town either. I won’t have a dirty deal on my conscience.
Follow the trail of information and you will find the truth. It’s there if you take the time to look.
Please , please please, people, don’t worry about the money. If the town needs more all they need do is reignite the “let’s over tax the lakefront owners program” and wallah, like magic, more money the coffers…
Where is the cost going to come from to update the bath hours to be acceptable for ADA access? As far as I have seen the bath house is on an elevated slop above the road. Also speaking of the road you can barely fit two cars down that street (Gretchen Rd) where is the cost coming from to update the access. Also looking at that gate at the end of Gretchen road intersecting Hodsdon Shore Rd is abysmal looking like something my youngest son built. Where is the money going to come from for installing a better access gate? Where are the cost coming from to clear out the area down front? Watching the selectman meeting “town hall gathering” on 10/30 there was no definitive plan on Police patrol hours or definitive plans for regularly scheduled cleanup and support for the beach (with statements of we have an individual). With no life guard on duty the town is expecting that neighbors in the area will pick up the slack in reporting issues? There are a lot of additional questions on cost for getting this area into a usable beach that it seems like these clowns do not have an answer for?
This is a pipe dream…..I TOTALLY agree with comments above…..If this was soooo important for people to have a place to put their feet in the water….Why hasn’t this come up before?…..I’ll tell you why….it’s not that big a deal!…..Whats going to happen if maybe 10 or 20 folks use this over the summer?…..Probably the same thing as Duncan Beach or Constitution park…..I go by the park all the time,other than 4th of July I don’t see a lot use….. took me a long time to find Duncan Beach,couldn’t even find info on town web site.
Take the freebee! See how that works! before spending ALL THIS MONEY!!!
The opportunity to purchase a parcel of this size with waterfront access should be looked at as a benefit to the town. Reasonable questions have been raised and reasonable people can work through the concerns. The value of the property will only increase. To pass up this opportunity would be a shame. It may be difficult for some to see the benefits of the town purchasing the property now, but, look toward the future. Generations to come will be thankful this investment was made.
Do these 40-45 campers who will be kicked out have boats? Your saying Westward Shores has 150-200 sites in the new addition area for these campers.
Have you seen the recent “DRONE” videos of the new addition area that was flooded this last storm? Boats will be needed to escape the water.