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Raymond selectmen oppose stricter rules on 'nuisance' items

Union Leader Correspondent

June 12. 2018 8:36PM

RAYMOND — Selectmen voted unanimously Monday to reject a proposed ordinance that would have adopted stricter rules to regulate “nuisance” items on properties in town.

The decision ended a contentious debate over the town’s role in regulating what private landowners should and shouldn’t be allowed to keep on their properties.

The ordinance was drafted in response to concerns about what some residents considered to be junk piling up on properties that created possible health and safety concerns, but opponents of the proposal argued it went too far and would infringe on property rights.

The concerns were focused primarily on the Green Hills Estates manufactured housing community.

Selectman Wayne Welch’s motion to oppose the ordinance proposal at Monday’s board meeting passed 5-0.

The proposed ordinance, brought forth by the planning department, defined nuisance as “any condition or use of property which unreasonably interferes with health, safety, peace, comfort or convenience of the general community and is detrimental to the property of others or which causes or tends to cause substantial diminution in the value of other property in the neighborhood in which such property is located.”

The ordinance also contained a long list of potential nuisance items, including junk, trash, debris, disabled cars, trucks or boats, vehicle parts, waste, old lumber, abandoned furniture, stoves, refrigerators, freezers, appliances, containers, compost piles and personal property of any kind that is no longer in use.

Violators could have been fined up to $1,000 if the nuisance issues weren’t addressed within 10 days of a property owner receiving notification.

The selectmen’s decision came after Health Officer David Hall and Fire Chief Paul Hammond visited Green Hills to make a list of properties possibly violating other regulations already on the books.

Selectman Greg Bemis said he felt the town could enforce existing rules.

Hall said only two properties appeared to be a problem. One is owned by the town after it was seized for nonpayment of back taxes a couple of years ago while the other is a private property that Hall said may require legal action to get it cleaned up.

Hall said the town property includes a mobile home that likely will need to be removed.

Board of Selectman Chairman Jack Barnes has told supporters of the ordinance that they could submit a citizen-petitioned warrant article to give voters an opportunity to consider the proposal.

“The selectmen aren’t here to tell people to cut the grass when it’s too high,” he said Tuesday.

Local and County Government Raymond