Purchase of Camp Sokokis Paves Way for Ossipee’s First Town Beach

Ossipee — August 24, 2017 — Selectmen here have entered into an agreement to purchase Camp Sokokis and establish the town’s first public beach on Ossipee Lake. Negotiations have been in the works since March town meeting, when voters approved establishing a $25,000 reserve fund for the purpose of acquiring a town beach.

Selectman Richard Morgan made the announcement at the board’s Aug. 21 meeting that seller, Diane Sheehan, and the selectmen all signed a purchase and sales agreement, agreeing to a purchase price of $1.2 million. The campground includes 45 seasonal campsites, 24 boat slips, four moorings, and 200 feet of beach frontage on Ossipee Lake.

Camp Sokokis is accessible from Route 16B on the private Gretchen Road. The road will also become town property and is an “absolutely straight shot to the beach,” said Morgan. Currently, Camp Sokokis is also accessible along the winding, narrow town-owned Hodsdon Shore Road off Route 25 East. The property is actually eight separate parcels, including 52.84 acres with a total assessed value of $1,261,806. Much of the acreage is taxed at the reduced current use rate. The combined property tax bill for the eight properties paid to the town in 2016 was $26,389.

Morgan said there is the opportunity for the town to continue to rent out 30 of the campsites and many of the boat slips. This, he said, could generate enough income to pay the bond. This is a perfect opportunity, he said, for the Town of Ossipee to have a beach on Ossipee Lake without the taxpayers having to pay for it.

Morgan said the current owners, Bill and Dianne Sheehan “deserve a great deal of thanks” for giving the town the opportunity to acquire this property.

“It speaks volumes about their character,” said Morgan.

There were other potential buyers, he said, “standing in line with cash in hand” but the Sheehan’s agreed to enter into the Town deal instead.

Morgan said he has listened to people complain his whole life about the fact Ossipee people do not have public beach access on Ossipee Lake. “If the townspeople are serious and truly want a beach on Ossipee Lake this is very likely their last opportunity,” said Morgan. The only other alternative, he said, would be purchasing individual properties in lakefront neighborhoods and tearing down structures.

The purchase and sales agreement, signed by selectmen Aug. 15 and by Dianne Sheehan the next day, spells out some of the terms. There are additional terms, said Morgan but overall it is a very clean agreement. The Town agrees to keep the Gretchen Road name in perpetuity as it is named after the owners’ daughter who is deceased. And, unless absolutely necessary, no white birch trees will be removed from the property as those were planted in her memory. The third stipulation is there will be no lot rent increases for any seasonal campsites that remain once the deal is finalized.

It will be up to Ossipee voters to decide if they want to purchase this property, enter into a bond to pay for it, and whether or not they want selectmen to be landlords. Selectmen will petition Superior Court to get permission to hold a special town meeting, hopefully in November. If granted, there will be a series of public hearings, a lot of details will be worked out, the budget committee will have the opportunity to weigh in, and then it will go to a vote of the people. Bond votes require a two-thirds majority approval of the voters present at the special town meeting.

Morgan called this week’s announcement an “exciting, exciting day.” There is plenty of planning and work to be done, so if anyone is interested in helping, Morgan said they are encouraged to “throw your hat in the ring.”

Purchase of Camp Sokokis Paves Way for Ossipee’s First Town Beach

19 thoughts on “Purchase of Camp Sokokis Paves Way for Ossipee’s First Town Beach

  • August 28, 2017 at 5:11 pm
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    That is an expensive town beach!

  • August 28, 2017 at 8:07 pm
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    How does one inquire on a dock or mooring when the sale is finalized? We are very interested… a townie

  • August 28, 2017 at 9:45 pm
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    It is unfathomable that (2) Selectman are pushing their “personal” agenda for a town beach which will cost 1.2 MILLION DOLLARS when the annual town budget is approximately 5 MILLION.
    Doesn’t make sense to me

  • August 29, 2017 at 7:03 am
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    Does the town really want to be in the camping area business?…..Word is the beach at Duncan lake has issues.. Who will maintain it?….Doesn’t an inpact study have to be done?….What will be the long term costs down the road?

  • August 29, 2017 at 9:17 am
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    Word has it that several campers had an offer to purchase the campground and then would donate the adjacent beach lot to the town for free. If so and if that offer still stands it seems like a less costly route for the town to take vs a 1.2 million bond along with all the issues the town would be burdened with in running a campground.

  • August 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm
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    I DON’T THINK THE TOWN SHOULD BE IN THE CAMPING BUSINESS. IT WILL ONLY COST ALL THE
    PAYERS MORE MONEY DOWN THE ROAD!!! PLUS THE DANGER OR SOMEONE GETTING HURT AND COST THE TOWN.

  • August 29, 2017 at 8:51 pm
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    No town, city or state should enter into enterprise. Renting, leasing under guise of income and covering the note would lead to squabble, abuse and neglect.
    “SAY NO TO BUYING CAMPGROUND!”

  • August 29, 2017 at 9:06 pm
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    There are MANY questions and concerns with this announcement, especially for those tax payers that own property on Hodsdon Shore Road. Private property turned public is a major concern. What impact will it have on those that live there? A noramlly quiet deadend road now a point of access for anyone? How will it be maintained/monitored? Lifguards? What will that cost? Selectmen as landlords? Looking forward to having all of these questions and more answered at the hearings.

  • August 29, 2017 at 11:16 pm
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    How can a town that was in financial distress just a few years ago justify spending 1.2 million dollars for a beach when there are so many more pertinent economic issues?

  • August 29, 2017 at 11:22 pm
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    I would have a lot of concerns regarding a town beach. But with the purchase being in question, my main concern is budget. I don’t think a seasonal town beach should be the priority, and I do not think it would be a fiscally responsible decision for the town to make at this time.

  • August 30, 2017 at 8:49 am
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    I would hope that the towns people would vote no and let the campers buy it. Do we really want the expense of a campground and all the responsibility enless the selectmen have a agenda they are not sharing with us. And if they got offered the beach for free isn’t that the route they should take not a whole campground. The tax payers will end up With higher taxes in the long run.

  • August 30, 2017 at 2:13 pm
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    I am not sure that spending 1.2 million on a piece of sand that we can use 3 months a year is financially responsible when some of the roads in town are absolutely horrific. I don’t want my taxes to go up to buy a piece of sand that I might use once a year and they will probably charge a parking permit fee for anyway. Who is going to monitor the campground (plumbing, sewer, plowing, ect) and the beach 24 hours a day? The police? I have never seen the government run anything well and don’t believe they can manage a campground.

  • August 30, 2017 at 6:19 pm
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    This town, through several different boards and town administrators, has shown it would have a tough time managing a lemonade stand and now they want to manage a beach and a campground? Morgan was a disaster as a police chief but now he’s found a way to reach new heights with his buffoonery!

  • September 2, 2017 at 8:37 am
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    The proposed acquisition has merit. The longtime goal of establishing a town beach on the lake for town residents would be met with this proposal. Questions and concerns about the town running a campground have some validity. Fiscal concerns need to be addressed so that essential services are not compromised. The answer may lie in having the town enter into a lease agreement with a group to operate the camp ground allowing the town to cover its cost of the purchase without the responsibility or liability of day to day operations. While understanding the complexity of the transaction and the need for continued debate on the concerns through the hearing process, I applaud the BOS for bringing the opportunity to the voters to decide.

  • September 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm
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    Does any of u have any idea how much lake front property cost?? The local “natives” here have been wanting a beach for as long as I have been alive.its a great opportunity to get a great piece of property for a good price.. and I’m sure it will be maintained by the town crews like they do the rest of the town roads and such

  • September 3, 2017 at 1:05 am
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    My concern is who is going to pay the $26,000.00 in taxes that the town of Ossipee was already receiving from the current owner? Wouldn’t that shortage be passed onto the tax payers and cause our taxes to increase once again? It seems like the town would already be starting in the negative. A 1.2 million dollar bond payment to make and $26,000 less in tax revenue comming in. Any other thoughts on this?

  • September 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm
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    Duress in contract law is not allowed. Who was told they would be sued if they did not sign the P&S?

  • September 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm
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    Good point and wouldn’t taxes go up because we’re does money come from to maintain campground if rent is to pay bond. Also isn’t Duncan beach our town beach Why do we need two. I could be wrong but I think this is alot for us to take on. I do not want to pay higher taxes because in long run I think that is what will happen . mine are high enough.

  • September 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm
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    It doesn’t appear that collecting enough tax money for the town to spend has ever really been a problem for Ossipee. There are many of us who remember all to well the “glory years” for the town and the contracted town appraiser who gouged the lake front land owners and building up the town coffers, Those of us who own lake front property will just sit back and wait for our new inflated tax bills. Since we cant vote on how our tax dollars are spent we’ll just watch from the side lines and then fund the lions share of whatever the selectmen want to buy. Your welcome!

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