Tag Archives: economic development exeter nh

IOKA News

Just saw on Twitter a offer is in for the theater .

Brew pub/ restaurant . Exeter will be loaded with suds soon!

That German beer operation up on Epping Rd seems to be moving along albeit at a snails pace.

There will of course be no parking issues .

It will all be decided on the up and up by our new hybrid zoning board/planning member probably .

The “futures so bright I gotta wear shades ”

Why after all that talk is the Franklin St project not underway?

The project slated near McDonald’s is also going nowhere right now.

The Townspeople in my view are owed updates from time to time.

Hey here is one more. The PEA facilities fellow remarked on the taking of Gilman St by saying we don’t have to maintain it anymore.

Why don’t we give PEA Water Street downtown ? We are not maintaining that at all. I asked if it would be made whole this year and got a maybe.

The Lincoln St project which has been stalled by PEA dragging feet on the Stadium well could take all Summer/Fall. So Water St could fall off the schedule, if there is one.

Mike

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details

I stopped off at Me & Ollies for my  loaf of bread, but today’s delivery of the “Healthiest Bread Ever” had not arrived.

Don from Upright Fence was completing the installation  of this beautiful fence above the parking lot. I had to ask what was there before “chain link ” he replied. “Funny ” we both said at the same time, how one forgets what was there before, when things are improved for the better.

In this case, way better.

You could, as a property owner put up just any fence, perhaps some crappy stockade, or another chain link.

I had to tell him that the boxes covering the galvanized posts was really a nice touch! One would only say that if you actually were there , as they were being concealed. I mean to say that I’m pretty sure I have seen such structural supports left exposed on other fence projects.

Once that concrete retaining wall gets a coat of paint it will really look great. This is  very nice addition to our beautiful downtown.

My hat is off to the property owner.

Thanks so much for going the extra mile

P1050343

P1050344Inn at the Bandstand

Mike

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place holder

I attended Indiana University a few miles from Seymour, so I am familiar  with the lay of the land .

That was in the 70’s.

I drove through Needham Massachusetts yesterday, my home till  the  ninth grade, then we moved to the northern suburbs of Chicago, Deerfield IL.

Neither Needham nor Deerfield is unrecognizable, but both are decidedly different.

The huge Sara Lee Plant which was practically downtown in Deerfield is gone, replaced years ago with an office park.

I am still working on getting my head around the import of the All Board Meeting the other night at the library.This post is just an exercise in that process.

There was an opportunity at the conclusion of the meeting for public comment. The conference room at the library is small so it was not packed with citizens observing.

It was the regular crowd.

I made a comment, so did Brian Griset, Gerry Hamel, a fellow from out of Town spoke.

Then a gentleman stood up ,a young man, and he struggled a bit in his delivery.

Most everyone else in the room has had many chances  to engage in verbal gymnastics with each other. It’s a bit like family getting together, perhaps a dysfunctional one. That indeed could be a significant issue  for moving this grand scheme forward. The wrong folks are in the room.

This citizen stood up and with a crack in his voice, told the assembled how he had bought his first house in Exeter only 3 years  ago. He selected Exeter for exactly what it was then and today.

He seemed a bit troubled by all this talk of exponential change.

I called Don Clement(BOS Chairman) the next morning to recap the meeting.

In the course of our conversation I told him the one comment of the night that for me, hung in the air, was that young man’s.

Don agreed, that comment brought Don right back to when he and Helen  first drove through Exeter looking for a home.

Those that were born here and never left, and those that have come from afield, all share the same love for Exeter.

So  for that reason we have to make sure the call for change is echoed by all residents.

More later

Mike

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All Board Meeting Report

I just got back from a very important meeting at the library. It was the first , imagine that, meeting of all our regulatory boards. The volunteers that continue to step up, to make important  decisions, sometimes working late into the night, to thoughtfully guide our Community forward.

I really have to collect my thoughts, I took no notes, just engaged in active listening for two and half hours.

Oh, I remember the gems for sure , there will be some flavor in my post for sure.

“Benevolent overlords”

“Bring on the tattoo parlour!” I am taking some license with the tattoo parlor, but a brew pub ,maybe.

This came up in thread woven by our inveterate  booster of Downtown, Dan Chartrand.

That perhaps the core could lead, and fast , with almost a hands off policy relative to business ventures.

I took a trip to San Francisco this Spring, great.

So naturally I was and continue to follow the great city by the bay.

I recently read a story about a neighborhood up in arms, in Haight- Ashbury of all places.

It is a very dense area.

There was a restaurant called Bacon Bacon, it closed after the neighbors complained about the rancid smell.

Some others protested that  they love bacon and it’s odor. If they could buy bacon perfume, they would.

A pitched battle ensued.

You can read the whole story here in the Wall Street Journal

The joint was closed down due to issues with filtering of grease.

Then for all the bacon lovers, and despite continued neighborhood detractors, it opened again.

Bacon Bacon Reopens /Inside Scoop story

It’s a good story to read and would suggest that all tonight’s participants  check it out.

Tonight was a good start for Exeter.

More later.

Mike

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Disappointed

I saw an article recently that detailed a visit  by Jonathan Ring to the Stratham Planning Board. This night Jonathan was wearing his work force housing hat. The portion of the story that interested me was the change in zoning for a parcel that is right on our Town line. I guess this is being placed on the March warrant in Stratham toute suite!  I will bet you most people think that Stratham  begins after you cross under 101.

Nope.

The water and sewer  in the area is  provided by Exeter and would be also be key  to this proposed development . Stratham has no such services.

Here is the link to that article

Jonathan  was asking that  work force housing be allowed at several areas, around the Middle School( which I guess was previously age restricted) the Industrial Park ( Lindt?) and the end of Rollins Road. Then he slipped in one more, the “Special Commercial  District”. To orient yourself to the Special  District just check out the aerial view below. This is the slice of land laying alongside 101 at the end of Stony Brook Lane which was once considered as the site for St Michael’s Church faith campus. Stony Brook Lane  is in the lower right corner of the aerial view. There are several other odd pieces of   land around the salt marsh that  currently are being massaged by developers. One  on the South side of  McDonald’s and another on the North side.  These all surround the marsh, which of course is connected to Great Bay. So check out  the map below.

I have always felt that the site would be better used  in conjunction with our current waste water treatment plant. Linking the two sites or plants, or an  expanded regional plant with the latest technology with a pipe  under the Squamscott would not be difficult. Trying to find land  in the future for  a wastewater  treatment plant will be impossible. It’s like a gun club, how do you find a new location. Right  now as configured, getting in and out of any apartment complex or condex village sited on this point of land would be a grind. I hope we are not siting work force housing in marginal areas, and that any  planning process is unaffected by the grand purpose proposed.

It’s just another project.

 Click here  for Aerial View of  “Special District”.

Here is  a bit of history for you  from the Stratham  Planning Board minutes April 19, 2006

Tax Map 1 Lots 1 & 2, Saint Michael Parish Proposed Church, Parish Center, Rectory and maintenance building located on Stoney Brook Lane:

Mr. Federico informed the Board that he was a member of St. Michael’s Church, and said he would step down if the Board so wished it. There were no objections to Mr. Federico remaining on the Board. Pastor Marc Drouin was present representing St. Michael’s Church. Daniel Blais from TF Moran, Inc., and Amanda Barker from NH Soil Consultants were also present. They had submitted a design proposal for their site at the end of Stoney Brook Lane. They propose to build a church with a seating capacity of 1,000 people, a Parish Center, a home for clergy, and a maintenance garage. Rev. Drouin gave a brief history of St. Michael’s Church and their future plans. He indicated that the gift of this property to St. Michael’s Church comes with the stipulation that the property must be used for the development of the church within 10 years or it reverts back to the benefactors or their estate. Rev. Drouin noted that all of the buildings will be in Stratham, and acknowledged that the site borders environmentally sensitive areas. Mr. Blais described the location of the property, and the property itself. He stated that municipal sewer and water is in the road extending from the Town of Exeter. They have petitioned the Town of Exeter for permission to hook up to both sewer and water. If they are unsuccessful, they will go with individual wells and septic systems. Mr. Blais stated that the house on Lot 1 will be removed. He said that the church desires to keep the manmade pond. They would need to cross the 100 year flood plain for the proposed driveway. Mr. Blais indicated that the church has met with the Planners and Conservation Commissions from both Stratham and Exeter. He said they recognize that this project has Regional impact and is subject to review by the Rockingham Planning Commission. He stated that Ms. Barker from NH Soil Consultant has met on the site with representatives from various State and Federal Agencies. Mr. Blais said that soil borings had been done. He acknowledged that a church is not a use that is allowed in the General Commercial Zone in Stratham, so they will be applying for a Variance with the Stratham Zoning Board of Adjustment. They hope to make the May 9th hearing date.

Ms. Barker stated that NH Soil Consultants completed the wetlands delineation on the property, delineated the edge of surface waters, completed the HISS mapping, identified the limit of tidal influence, and did a wetlands functions and values assessment. She pointed out the key water resource areas on the property. She indicated that they had compiled a list of all the environmental setbacks for both Stratham and Exeter. Ms. Barker stated that there will be approximately 20,000 square feet of wetland impacts. She went over the site layout plan in relation to the wetlands, and water resources in detail. She briefly described some wetlands mitigation they were contemplating.

Mr. Barker stated that the applicant came before the Conservation Commission and gave a presentation on their proposed plan. Some of the Commission’s suggestions have been incorporated into this proposed plan. He asked about drainage from the parking lot and snow storage. He was told they have been working on that issue. They hope to use mostly sheet flow for drainage. They haven’t decided where they will store the snow. Mr. Hyland asked about daily traffic flow. He was told that the project description that was submitted had that information. Rev. Drouin stated that they do not plan on renting out the hall. It would only be used for parish ministry. There was a discussion on this issue. Mr. Federico asked if they had any plans for further expansion. Rev. Drouin said not at this time. There were additional discussions on seating capacity; parking; sewer and water; traffic; the size of the rectory; the amount of affected wetlands; and making sure the prayer paths don’t affect the wetlands areas. They will be doing a traffic study. Lucy Cushman, from the audience, strongly suggested that they leave as many trees as possible. Mr. Blais stated that they have no control over the trees in the power line easement. They will try to maintain a green buffer where they can. They will be providing a view shed so that people can see the church.

End Minutes.

I heard a phrase the other day, someone,  a Norwegian I think, was discussing the Kyoto Protocol. He disparagingly  termed the actions by the major players this week ( backing out) “the triumph  of the short term over the long term.”

I see that every day.

Really though, if this site becomes  more workforce housing( whatever that means anymore ) Exeter should get the huzzah, not Stratham.

Mike

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a rising tide lifts all boats

President Kennedy used this phrase often, kept it in his pocket. It was given to him by an aide that  spotted it being used  by a chamber of commerce. When the EDC meets today could they consider a blight ordinance? I think that abandoned gas station  on Portsmouth Ave  needs a lot cleanup. Despite the downturn you simply  have to keep your property up to snuff.

It’s a community.

Lawn parking should be talked about too, and project boats that will never be launched. I will also suggest the Planning Department compile a list of  commercial properties in Town and what you can build on them. What type of business would  fly without any major issues. Projects that  would not require high theater and country  lawyers  browbeating   zoning boards.

Mike

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Lincoln Street

This was a night  shot as you can see so I have had to reduce it. It’s a bit fuzzy  otherwise. Too bad,  but it is certainly  a powerful  image regardless of size. I never miss an opportunity to visit the Lincoln Memorial.  Abe and I share the same birthday, February  12th.

I just called Barb Rimkunas of the Exeter Historical Society to make sure the street was not named after Fred Lincoln.

She wrote a sweet little piece on this very subject that appeared in the paper  a year ago. It is hoot, how things remain the same when  money is on the table.

Barb’s Essay

The Exeter  Newsletter today has an editorial regarding spending for the Train Station. They are suggesting we wait a bit. You will perhaps notice that  I have ceased banging the drum for a composting toilet on the Swasey, times are tough . So I concur with the paper on this one.

I still believe however that we can talk   about what we might do moving forward. Lincoln Street requires a face lift.

A few pictures, since there is little  landscaping  Winter images are not much different from Springtime. This post is not meant to skewer anyone, it is a suggestion.

During the day the street does not suffer from a lack of customers or traffic, that’s a  good thing.

Small business incubators are great but the entrepreneur often in my opinion goes too small. This building has tried but  really is only suitable as a shoe repair shop.

Here is list of things that might be  talked about in a Lincoln Street Strategy Session.

Relocation of the dumpsters

Awnings or one big one( are they passe’?)

Ask Jeff Hyland to sit in on the meeting

Cohesive Sign  Strategy

Paint

landscaping

A second floor

Power washing

Parking

Paint( couldn’t resist)

Lighting

Faux New England Facades or  Old West. Mediterranean?

I believe there is one major  owner of the strip and a handful of sole proprietors. We  really have something up there. It is not unusual on  a weekend strolling Town to be asked  for directions to the  Handkerchief  Factory. It just could be so much better, and talk is cheap.What to do? You invite them all in and discuss,invite a bank or two and talk it over.

Lincoln Sesquicentennial Celebration Event

Save the date — Saturday, March 6, 2010! The Exeter Historical Society is partnering with Phillips Exeter Academy, SAU 16, Exeter Public Library, American Independence Museum, Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce, Inn by the Bandstand, Infinite Imaging of Exeter, NH Historical Society, Town of Exeter, Exeter Arts Association, Manchester Historic Association, NH Political Library and Woodman Institute to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s visit to the state. Festivities will include guided walking tours of Lincoln-related sites in town, a Geocaching adventure created by local 8th grade students, a Civil War-era band concert and kids’ activities sponsored by the Exeter High School History Club. The event will culminate in Lincoln’s encore presentation at Exeter’s Town Hall, where he spoke on March 3, 1860.

This program is made possible by a grant of the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

How great when and if anyone asks about  Lincoln Street we can say” Oh we just had a meeting, some things  are moving forward!”

Mike

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Town Crier reader links Epping Road Development with grand tax strategy.

“As for Squamscott Community Commons, the town specifically chased the non profit away in the mid 90s from Epping Road as they wanted all the businesses located there to be tax-paying. An earlier design of the center was there. So, the Linden Street site was chosen as the best way to reuse a challenging building/site. If you want to really understand the project, contact robin@squamscott.org. She can give you facts that might be interesting for you to blog about.”

Funny, in 20 plus years of living at the base of Epping Road it actually looks worse. This will require a major post with pictures. Fun!
The minimum starting point? Purchase the home and car repair/ junkyard beyond the Cable office on the East side and cut out that wooded island. Then lay out a new area to match the good job done on the shopping center contiguous to those properties. Then you would have at least a heartbeat for retail. The road could then be repositioned. We might be able to eliminate a host of curb cuts .Visioning sessions once discussed this prospect . There was once quite a bit of attention being paid to Epping Road by the Planning Dept. A renewed focus by the Planning Department would take their attention away from establishing a woodland trail system. I don’t believe the Commons would have any effect other than positive for Epping Road. Shooed away , funny.
More later
Mike

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Tennis anyone?

I was surprised  to see the Planning  Board moving along with  a tennis venue on  Industrial land. I think  keeping this site for a potential  employer of workforce housing residents a better idea. I guess according  to the Tennis folks tennis is up across the Country. They say it always has a spike when times get tough . Does this  speak to Ms Corsons question   in the paper today? She  wonders what  happens if the business doesn’t meet it membership goals. I think I heard that they almost  agreed to a laser tag  proposal for   the other industrial park, near the hockey rink. Maybe it was indoor trampolines, I don’t remember, it was not industrial use. This  is the slippery slope in a down economy , anything flies. Planning, not reacting  is the mandate  of the  the Planning Board. Let’s stick to our guns. I was amazed at the parking required for the proposed tennis club, 300 spaces. Is that a problem with  the required parking equation? Is it  fluky so it makes  all developments go for a variance?

The proposed new tennis  venue  would  be utilized by the same fellow that rents our courts at the  Recreation  Park every Summer. He is not the developer but certainly a player in the deal. The Summer tennis school  he runs is the  largest in NH. One of the largest actually in all  of New England.

The last tennis  racquet  I owned was made of wood. I can  manage a few volleys here and there. It is however one of those life sports, like  golf, swimming. Unlike  hockey , and football, and baseball. You can play it a long time  if you take it easy.

I just wish  it was not going in  on industrial zoned land.

I would like to see us light  the  town courts at the recreation field. I would light the two  basket ball courts as well. The tennis courts could be on coin operated  timer. The new lights  available today  have little to no spillage. The basket ball courts would be great for  the kids.

The new thing today is  no cut tennis at High School and  College level. So no one  who tries out for the team gets cut. I guess with this new program we need more courts. The  EHS team used to use  the Town Courts before the the new school was built. Perhaps  they will begin needing the extra courts now with the no cut provision. If they do  could they do us a favor? The tennis courts at the new high school are kept locked. I  think this is still the case since I last inquired. Despite continuing  concerns about  vandalism  at the isolated campus  we have to open these facilities  up. Perhaps more people on campus on the weekend would deter  rather than foster  vandalism. The building is literally festooned with cameras anyway.

Hershey  Track & Field  Meet is  sponsored by the Exeter  Park & Recreation Dept.  They currently pay the Academy 65.00 an hour to use the Academy track. Is there any reason that this can’t be held at EHS? Can someone approach the High School  on this for me?

Synergy, Elements, Karate, Tennis  clubs, Great Bay Fitness, Public facilities. I think the prospect for the YMCA  is growing darker. If they  had been able to secure a larger amount of funding initially  it might have a chance. I don’t see it in the current climate at all.

A Golf Course purchase is better than a Y

I have suggested and will again, we should buy the Exeter Golf Course. I  see it  continuing  as a golf course  with a nice addition of  cross country skiing( life sport), and nature trails. I believe that this  parcel will turn into another huge battle like  Fort Rock Farm.  The  Town should wake up to the prospect of a developer approaching the Club with some  sort of proposal. Again , in this environment anything goes. Planning , Planning, Planning.

I posted some  stats from the assessors office on workforce housing. Exeter  is either number two or three  in the State  as to number of manufactured housing units. Frankly I do not understand  Sylvia’s comment  on  putting Exeter on the map. I have been fortunate to travel a bit . If I say I live in   Exeter this is what I hear. “Oh what a lovely Town, the Loaf and Ladle, the Academy , nice downtown” I have heard this all over the World, almost verbatim.

Here the  wiki entry for workforce housing. It  will help you understand the issue. Notice that NH  figures prominently  in the entry. Housing prices are going down.

How many years  will it take for Mr Felder to complete his project? How  many years till he begins? Is it really well thought out ? Will this  housing have income requirements? I think you introduce stigma with these special deeds and  restrictions. I also think that site is tight .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workforce_housing

Selectmen  debate cable contract  article today in the   paper. Katherine Miller of DTC Attorneys  is quoted.  DTC? is the reporter saving space or is the acronym all we need anymore?

Mike

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It all rolls downhill!

“It’s your sump pumps!”
Lets start off with some factual elements and I will try my best to keep to the facts.

First off, a statement from DPW regarding their CSO System.

The wastewater system experiences overflows during heavy rainstorms. It has been determined that during significant rainfall events, stormwater enters the sewer system causing overflows to occur; this is known as a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). The wastewater collection system wasn’t designed to handle large amounts of water received during heavy rain events. A CSO diversion system was put in place to direct these high stormwater flows to Clemson’s Holding Pond. The pond discharges through a permitted outfall and tidegates to the Squamscott River.

Ok? We got a system in place, that’s what I read.

These are the numbers from the Town website, there was a million gallon event too last year or the year prior that is not on the list, I am not sure. That was not classified as a CSO, lucky us.

Notice of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO):

  • November 9, 2006 – 36,000 gallons 1.49″ rain
  • November 15, 2006 – 103,000 gallons 1.46″ rain
  • March 2, 2007 – 39,000 gallons 1.97″ rain
  • April 16-20, 2007 – 18,497,000 gallons 5″ rain
  • February 13, 2008 – 52,000 gallons 2″ rain and associated snowmelt

I am sorry but all these facts are necessary to the tale.

My Aunt lives at the Mill and I visit her often, her place looks right out at the Powder house and the base of Jady Hill. Today the DPW was there working on a manhole. My Aunt and I know all about the manhole, probably anyone does that frequents the area. This man hole is like Old Faithful during a rainy period. I always assumed it was storm water geysering out, nope, its sewage.

What we have been witnessing is our “CSO System” doing it’s thing. Allowing raw sewage to cascade down the embankment into Clemson Pond. The “CSO System” got an upgrade today, they sealed it shut with a strap. This may cause more issues but maybe it will keep raw sewage out of the River. How many years has this been going on?

Anyone that follows the adventures of Water & Sewer has to be appalled at this “System” It is a fix to run out and strap the cover after responding to inquiries from Federal Agencies, State Agencies, Newspapers, citizens, that we have a “system?”

Below is the sluice way of the “CSO System”

Then the crap floats majestically past Old Glory on it’s way to the Squamscott via the tide gates and on to Great Bay. Hey? How were the smelts this year guys?

This last shot is looking up Jady Hill Ave from the “CSO System” It’s a hill and down that hill comes all the “stuff” from Jady Hill and Portsmouth Ave, all of it. That’s the problem it comes down that hill slams into the 90 degree left turn which in high flow triggers the “CSO System” and the manhole cover blows off, allowing it to flow freely to the Pond, for days. In high flow it cannot make that turn on its way across the Squamscott (in a pipe, that I hope is not cracked) to the Swasey Parkway Station then on to the sewer lagoons at the DPW yard. I think it may just start backing up Jady Hill.

I can keep going but even I am getting sick now. Perhaps some visual aids of what size tanks those “CSO System ” discharges would fill. Now this is the non fact base stuff, as I am using Town numbers. There is no meter that will fit on “Old Faithful” so how can they be reporting specific numbers. It might be lower, it could be higher. I think someone has been guessing. That is not good practice when meeting with regulators.

I called some people before I sat down to give them the heads up on this post. Major players in this tale had no clue.

Each of the above is a 50,000 gallon tank, the million gallon spill would be twenty of these tanks. That is a massive plume of raw sewage. The terminus of the Squamscott in Great Bay, that end, is the least tide affected. There is no “tide flushing” that anyone can make a case for to mollify me.

These are twin 20,000 gallon tanks. We have had several “CSO System” discharges of this size

Questions that I would like answered this week.

Who authorized the disabling of the “CSO System?”

Why has this been allowed to continue, by my estimation for 8 years maybe longer.

Why has the focus been on the water treatment plant and new water tank?

That last question is of course easy. Develop first as much as you can, then and only then deal with the waste. Today in the paper the Planning Board candidates in Stratham are interviewed. They are all asked about their Gateway Project. Several opine about the need for sewage treatment. Does anyone think Exeter is in a position to process waste water for Stratham? I have more but this is really too much for me. Two of our candidates for Selectmen stood tall for the Town employees at the Candidates Forum. They spoke about the high regard for our employees throughout the State. It is a terrible shame that Management right down the line put the rank and file in the position of welding covers shut as a fix. How many Camp Dresser representatives were privy to the “CSO System”

In closing an article from the Exeter Newsletter:

Combined sewer overflow
February 19, 2008

EXETER — On Feb. 13, due to two inches of rainfall and associated melted snow, the capacity of the sewer collection system, which is capped at 52,000 gallons of sewer and storm water, overflowed.

This overflow was then discharged into Clemson Pond.

During heavy rains, storm water can enter the municipal sewer system which can cause the system to surcharge and overflow. This is known as a combined sewer overflow (CSO). The waste water collection system wasn’t designed to handle large amounts of water received during heavy rain events.

A CSO diversion system was put in place to direct these high storm water flows to Clemson’s Holding Pond. The pond discharges through a permitted outfall and tide gates to the Squamscott River.

Permitted by who? Is that possibly some outfall that was permitted to the Mill? Does that permit include raw sewage?

There is a Water Sewer Advisory Board Meeting this week. It is my hope someone reading this, anyone reading this, shows up and asks questions. We got them on TV, let’s get some answers, on camera.

Mike

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Filed under Around Town, Environment, Great Bay, Public Servants, Sea&Sky, Squamscott River