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Charlestown voters back zoning changes

CHARLESTOWN — A bond article to connect the selectmen’s office to the library and add office space was voted down at the polls Tuesday.

The $450,000 bond article needed three-fifths of the vote to pass, but was soundly defeated, 393-151, Planning and Zoning Administrator David Edkins said Wednesday.

The proposed office space would have served as a new town clerk’s office, he said.

“The purpose was to get our town clerk out of the basement of the library building,” Edkins said.

Incumbent Selectman Steven Neill was reelected, 314-236, over challenger Jack Berquist.

Finance Committee member Thomas Minickiello, who received 238 votes, was ousted in a four-candidate race for three seats. The winners were current member Patricia Royce with 484 votes, Eric Johnson with 375 votes and Hal Livingston with 308 votes.

Voters approved rezoning Main Street to limit uses in one section and increase business uses in another. The zoning article establishes — by a 346-70 vote — a new zone on North Main Street that allows various residential and business uses, but limits some business uses.

“It was kind of brought about by the demolition of a historic building on Main Street to make way for the construction of a Jiffy Mart,” Edkins said.

Voters also voted 308-210 to support a zoning article to add two Main Street lots to the business district that they abut.

A zoning article that allows existing non-conforming signs to be replaced or changed in character as long as there is no increase in dimension passed 377- 210.

Voters also authorized the Heritage Commission to assume the composition and duties of a Historic District Commission, discontinued the Highway Advisory Board and approved the proposed $4,718,879 budget, which includes a $3,819,913 operating budget and water and sewer funds operating budget.

Meghan Pierce, Union Leader Correspondent

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