For those following the Steinman vs Tuftonboro lawsuit, please see the attached documents.
For those following the Steinman vs Tuftonboro lawsuit, please see the attached documents.
Last week a preliminary hearing in Steinman vs Tuftonboro was cancelled at the 11th hour when the parties came to an agreement for a Stipulation on Preliminary Injunctive Relief. Rick Sager, the selectmen’s attorney, was kind enough to forward the agreement to me yesterday evening.
The Steinmans and the selectman have temporarily agreed to the location of the center line of Brown Road and the location of the Right of Way, without waiving any legal rights, “for the duration of this action or until amended by Court order.”
As long as they don’t encroach on the towns Right of Way, as temporarily agreed to, “the Steinmans may maintain the stonewall in its present location… on a temporary basis during the pendency [sic] of this action.”
Before the final hearing, the Steinmans may “extend the said stonewall along the temporarily stipulated right of way boundary line so as not to encroach the Town’s ROW to the water’s edge in compliance with all Town and State regulations.” However, they acknowledge if they do so the court may later require them to move the rocks.
The town agree to “take reasonable steps to ensure the stones” (in their present location) are “secured against any third party removing” them.
The two parties acknowledge the Stipulation “does not create, extinguish, or limit any right for any member of the public to use any right of waay which may or may not exist in this location, but reserve the right to “proceed against any person whose actions are in disregard to the several rights of the parties hereto” through civil or criminal charges.
One of the points of agreement in the Stipulation is that the Town will “Notice this Order publicly in Town Records.” So it’s in the Town’s interest to get this information out, and I’m happy to do my small part. Still, Rick didn’t have to send it to me, so I thank him.
There will be a hearing on Friday, December 1, 2017, at 10:30AM at Carroll County Superior Court for the lawsuit that Dr. Theodore and Carol Steinman have brought against the town of Tuftonboro.
In 2016, Carolyn Sundquist, who was the chairman of the selectmen at the time, told the Steinmans that they could place boulders on their property along the edge of Brown Road. The goal of placing the rocks was to stop people from accessing Lower Beech Pond with boat trailers. Carolyn acted without the approval of the rest of the board of selectmen, but the Steinmans followed her directions anyway and placed boulders in the town’s right of way. The selectmen — included Carolyn — then told the Steinmans to move the boulders. When the Steinmans refused to move them, the selectmen — Carolyn having since left office — instructed the Road Agent to push the boulders farther onto the Steinmans’s property, out of the town’s right of way.
The Steinmans dispute the location of the right of way and allege that the town trespassed on their property.
Richard Sager, of Sager & Smith in Ossipee, is representing the selectmen. A review of his available invoices show he has billed the town at least $3,568.75 for the Steinman lawsuit.
Someone has moved the rock that was blocking the access to Lower Beech Pond at Brown Road.
As you can see in the video, it’s evident that the rock was dragged along the shoulder. It has been left a considerable distance from its prior position. It is also within the town’s right of way, which extends 14’3″ to either side of the pavement.
Here’s what the access looks like today:
And here’s what it looked liked a few days ago:
This week Tuftonboro Road Agent Jim Bean moved the rocks on Brown Road that had been placed in the town’s right of way by Ted and Carol Steinman along their property. The Steinmans put the rocks in the right of way last year after getting approval from Carolyn Sundquist, who was at the time the chairman of the board of selectmen. The current board of selectmen has disavowed Carolyn’s actions, saying that she acted alone without the full approval of the board.
Here is a photograph of the access to the pond on May 18:
And here is the access on May 25:
On Friday, April 28, the board of selectmen (Lloyd Wood, Bill Marcussen, and Chip Albee) met at Brown Road to set the edges of the town’s right of way on the property of Ted and Carol Steinman. The selectmen’s meeting was posted as a public meeting and Guy Pike, Ben Ladd, and I attended. At issue for the selectmen to examine was a line of large rocks the Steinmans had installed on the of the road last summer within the town’s right of way.
Brown Road Road at Lower Beech Pond is a 3-rod road, meaning the town’s easement is 49.5 feet wide. (A rod is equal to 16 ½ feet.) While a road might not be in the exact center of the original easement, the Steinman’s attorney last week stated that their assumption is the road is centered in the easement. The pavement of the road is 21-feet wide, according to the selectmen’s measurement, which means the town has a 14¼ foot right of way on either side of the road (21+14.25+14.25=49.5).
Although it appeared Lloyd was opposed in general to spending public money, Albee and Bill indicated that they were in favor of having the town Road Agent (Jim Bean, an elected official) move the line of rocks out of the town right of way, farther onto the Steinman’s property.
There is a separate issue of the public access to Lower Beech Pond, which the Steinmans also blocked off.
One possibility there is that NH Fish & Game could install a boat ramp. It’s unclear what the town would have to do, if anything, in preparation for that. Chip mentioned the town could stabilize the bank for Fish & Game.
The board will likely have more to discuss on this issue at Monday’s meeting at 4PM at the town offices.
Saying that they had met with Carolyn Sundquist “at this table” in a “series of meetings,” Dr. Ted Steinman and his wife, Carol, accompanied by their attorney, Jeremy Eggleton of the law firm Orr & Reno, described to the board of selectmen (left to right: Chip Albee, Bill Marcussen, Lloyd Wood) on Monday, April 24, how last year they had sought and “followed directly the town’s directions” when placing boulders along the edge of Brown Road on their property in order to block access to Lower Beech Pond from boat trailers and bob houses.
Carolyn Sundquist’s emails concerning Brown Road were obtained by Guy Pike through a Right to Know request last December. In one email to Road Agent Jim Bean dated August 25, 2016, Carolyn Sundquist wrote “I advised the Steinmans to go ahead with placing boulders in front of the access.”
1:15 First appointment: Gerry Hammer / Jack Parsons
5:00 Intent to excavate permits: discussion of ordinances in light of new articles passed at Town Meeting
5:10 — Jack Parsons
7:00 — Chris Sawyer, PB chairman weighs in
12:30 Review of pending intent to excavate paperwork
14:00 — motion to approve with provisions that selectmen can rescind. 3-0
15:00 — Signing paperwork
15:50 Jack Parson Building department update (the only damage to town property from Storm Stella was a few shingles blew off town house roof)
16:35 Ben Ladd — Mirror Lake boat ramp grant that was passed by Town Meeting. Discussion of contractor bids.
21:45 Chip would like to set a policy for putting contracts out for bid in the future, but not for this project since it’s already in process.
23:50 motion approval of project. passed 3-0 and Lloyd signed the paperwork
25:30 Clay Gallagher Transfer Station update & household hazardous waste collection update (july 29 & august 5). Pamphlets at transfer station.
44:15 Transfer station workers would like to work half day on Easter. They would receive holiday pay + half day.
50:30 Chip raises issue of different rates for contractors at transfer station
51:25 Review of 3-27-17 meeting minutes
53:00 Continued business
53:10 — Board committee assignments
Chip: Budget, welfare, Parks & Recreation
Bill: Planning, Old Homes, Energy, CIP Joint loss, milfoil, Planning
Lloyd: emergency planning, conservation, TACC, watershed
57:12 Board meeting schedule. Bill doesn’t want more meetings. Chip says if there aren’t more meetings, then the meetings have to be better organized. Chip doesn’t like relying on attorney client privilege as a way to subvert open meeting requirement to respond to RTK. Lloyd is ok with meeting every Monday. That way the meetings will be shorter, too. Lloyd suggests meeting once a month at 7PM. Also at different locations around town. Next meeting Friday at NINE AM.
1:06:45 Brown Road
Chip “I don’t know how you got into; well, I do know how you got into this mess.” Says to direct Road Agent to remove the rocks.
Bill: rocks clearly within right of way.
Chip: problem I have with this is it was all done without a vote.
Chip: enormous amount of legal bills in this town, and this is one of the reasons why.
Lloyd asks for input from public
1:17:20 Sandy Knoll Road
1:23:30 Selectmen’s update
1:23:40 Chip looked at the tree on Union Wharf Road. Chip says it’s not on town property, but is in town right of way. Chip thinks it’s health and not a danger.
1:25:12 Bill went to workshop on town roads. If someone wants to build on a property on Sandy Knoll Road, they’ll still have to get a building permit, and the governing body doesn’t have to approve it. Noted with sadness the passing of Steve Honeycutt, town Sextant.
1:33:00 Lloyd met with Mark Howard and others to tour three areas of concern in town on state roads: Tuftonboro Corner, 109/109A, and Mirror Lake narrows.
1:42:50 Appointments to Agricultural Commission. Approved.
1:44:35 Motion to appeal all yield taxes. Perchanski. Bob Wood. Alan Blazek. 3-0
1:47:23 Intent to cut. Blazek. Perchanski. 3-0
1:48:42 Request for change in employment compensation. (RETROACTIVE to January 1, 2017.) Tabled.
1:51:30 Other business
1:52:00 Right to Know from Ed Comeau
1:58:15 Chip “I don’t know what Comeau’s after.”
1:59:30 in past Tuftonboro had a former employee who was still covered.
2:07:45 Chip says they need to set a price per copy policy at a market rate.
2:09:45 Chip need to respond to Comeau saying the board will working on the request.
2:10:40 public input
2:10:50 Elissa Paquette question about intent to excavate and the board wanting to have an addendum allowing the to revoke permit.
2:15:06 Charlotte Allen: NarCan training opportunities
2:16:32 Carla Lootens: Wanted to make sure town won’t give anything to Comeau unless the selectmen’s attorney, Richard Sager, has looked at it.
2:17:05 Gordon Hunt: Was happy selectmen were not giving in to Comeau just because he has an attorney.
2:17:35 Steven : follow up Brown Road. Why did property owners place rocks?
Max Ledoux: To clarify, Carolyn Sundquist told Steinmans it was ok.
Elissa Paquette jumped to Carolyn’s defense.
More info on Brown Road:
In an email recently, Glenn Normandeau, Executive Director of the NH Fish & Game Department, confirmed what many Tuftonboro residents are already aware of: The department did not stock Lower Beech Pond with fish in 2016.
For more information on Lower Beech Pond, read: Selectmen Vote on Brown Road Lower Beech Pond Issue.