Town of Sutton, NH

26 Grist Mill Street Committee

DRAFT Minutes of Public Hearing and Deliberative Session

November 21, 2019


Members present:  Dane Headley, Chair, Bob DeFelice, Vice-chair; Glenn Pogust, Andy Jeffrey, Don Davis and Betsy Forsham. 

Members of the public present: Sue Esposito, SM; Larry & Peggy Ford, NS; Charles Ash, NS; Dorothy Jeffrey, SS; Gail Guertin, NS; Pete and Marne Thompson, NS; Kris Headley, NS; and one other. (NS=N. Sutton – SS= S. Sutton – SM = Sutton Mills).

Call to order:  Chair Dane Headley called the hearing to order at 7:05 p.m. 

Chair Headley thanked everyone for attending and ensured that everyone had received the handouts.  He proceeded to give some background, explained the committee’s mission and its findings.  He began by reading Article 17 of the 2019 Town Warrant which asked voters to approve the purchase of 26 Grist Mill Street “for municipal use”, which voters passed at the March 13th town meeting.  While discussion at that meeting centered on using the lot for much needed parking, some folks asked that saving the house be considered.  The Select Board agreed to form an ad hoc committee to do so and thus the 26 Grist Mill Street Committee was created.  Dane continued to explain the research the committee did, meeting nearly weekly since May, which resulted in two scenarios to be considered and pursued in greater detail. 

The Chair continued to review the two scenarios, 1-b which showed the lot with parking, a park and the demolition of all buildings and 3-b which showed parking, the park and the retention of the house, minus the ell and the barn.  A “Grist Mill Place Cost Estimates” sheet was developed, comparing costs associated with both scenarios, which was also discussed.  He noted that we tried to get estimates from several experts, for demolition of the buildings, site work for creating the parking area, and costs to button up the house should it be retained.  He explained that ideas for the park portion of the lot, such as lighting, fencing, benches and the like would be handled by the newly created Parks and Recreation Dept. and was not part of this committee’s charge.  The scenarios and associated costs will be presented to the Select Board and the Budget Committee and will appear as two warrant articles on the 2020 Town Warrant.  The Chair then asked for questions and comments from the floor:

–  Marne Thompson asked about handicapped parking in the parking area.  It was explained that the one space was for users of the park and that handicap spaces for town hall would be right in front of the building where folks currently park.

– Sue Esposito asked about using the house for storage, and if so, would that necessitate a sprinkler system.  She also asked how mold would be inhibited.  It was explained that the house would be heated at 50 degrees and that the documents stored there would not be of high importance, so no sprinkler system would be needed.  It was agreed that using the house for storage was a want, not a need. It was noted that the idea of renting it had also been considered but was rejected for a variety of reasons.

– Vice-chair DeFelice indicated that plans are in the making to move and lease the hearse to Muster Field Farm Museum for 5 years, with the option to extend, thus freeing the stage for use by the town’s residents.  Charles Ash asked what kinds of uses would be considered and was told such things as plays, concerts and lectures.

– Peggy Ford asked how many people could be in the town hall at one time and was told 99.  Vice-chair DeFelice indicated that there is research being done on how to add supports to the balcony so that it may be used again.

–  Vice-chair DeFelice opined that he felt the committee worked diligently on its mission and that if left no stone unturned. He also thanked the minutes taker, member Forsham.

– Sue Esposito asked if the house has any historic value other than its age and was told that this was explored and the consensus was no.  She also asked if the warrant articles concerning the two scenarios could be placed closer to the beginning of the warrant so more folks would still be in attendance at town meeting to vote on them.  The request will be passed along to the appropriate persons.

Chair Headley noted the receipt of a petition from various citizens requesting that an article with only the costs associated with the demolition of all the buildings and the creation of the parking area and park be placed on the town 2020 warrant and that the option of retaining the house not appear.  The Chair will pass it along to the Select Board, as this is not in the purview of this committee.

Chair Headley thanked everyone for attending and adjourned the hearing at 7:52 p.m.


Committee members remained for a short deliberative session which opened at 7:53 p.m.

It was moved by Glenn, seconded by Andy to approve the minutes of the last official meeting, dated 11-19-19, which was unanimously approved.

Discussion of some corrections to the cost estimates sheet ensued with Glenn agreeing to do so.

It was moved by Glenn and seconded by Bob to present the two scenarios and corrected cost estimates sheet to both the Select Board and the Budget Committee on Monday, Dec. 2 around 5:45 p.m., which was unanimously approved.  Betsy will arrange with Elly Phillips to have us put on the agenda.

Dane thanked the committee members for all their hard work over these past several months and was thanked in turn for his leadership.

There being no further business to conduct, it was moved by Glenn, seconded by Bob and unanimously approved to adjourn at 8:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Betsy Forsham

Recording Secretary