Hampton officials discuss town hall policy

T he Hampton Town Board will let select groups use the town hall.
Officials began last week the process of putting together a set of guidelines governing the use of the town hall and are leaning toward a policy that would allow local, nonprofit organizations to use the facility.
Officials were approached this winter by a Vermont-based non-profit holistic healing center about using the town hall for a special event. The request was approved, but officials decided they needed to develop a policy regarding use of the town hall.
Although the policy is still being written, officials did agree on several guidelines.
Use of the town hall will be restricted to non-profit organizations. Commercial businesses or use for social functions would not be permitted.
“I don’t want to get into birthday parties and family barbecues,” Supervisor Dave O’Brien said.
The facility would also be limited to local non-profit groups on a first come, first serve basis. Groups from outside the community, or groups that don’t serve Hampton residents, would not be permitted to use the town hall.
Tobacco and alcohol use would be prohibited and any requests to serve food would be examined by the town board on a case-by-case basis. Groups would also be responsible for any damage that may occur and would be expected to leave the facility in the same condition in which they found it.
Officials are still determining if groups would be asked to provide a security deposit and whether to charge a nominal fee to use the facility.
Tamme Taran, councilperson, said she was in favor of groups providing a donation for using the town hall. That donation would be given to the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department, which has struggled to keep up with the escalating costs of operation.
Officials are expected to consider other guidelines as well as determine if the town’s insurance would covers groups using the facility.
A completed policy should be ready for board consideration later this spring or summer.

In other matters, the board approved a resolution to spend up to $1,200 on paint for the town highway garage.
The work, which will be done later this spring, will be completed by participants in Washington County’s alternative sentencing program and will not cost the town any money.
Using participants from the alternative sentencing program has become an increasingly popular way for municipalities to save money. The town of Hartford utilized participants last summer to paint municipal property and Hampton used participants from the program during construction of its town hall.

The board directed Herb Sady, highway superintendent, to obtain and erect signs regulating the size of vehicles that are permitted on Staso Road.
Officials express their concern last month about the number of motorists who use Staso Road, a dirt road less than a half-mile long, as a connection between State Route 22A and County Route 18.
The road, which is on the northbound side of Route 22A, approximately a half-mile south of the town offices, climbs a steep hill before it meets County Route 18. The intersection, which is located just north of a sharp bend in the road and on a hill, is problematic because motorists have a hard time seeing oncoming traffic traveling north and south on County Route 18. It’s particularly bad in the winter when snow banks further obstruct the view.
Officials had discussed closing the road during the summer, but are prohibited from doing so, although they can choose not to maintain it.
They hope that by imposing weight limit signs they can stem the flow of traffic on the road.

The town formalized an agreement with the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department to lease the firehouse. The agreement is valid for 10 years and will cost the department a $1.

The planning board hopes to review recommendations made by attorney Matt Fuller regarding the town’s mobile home ordinance. The planning board has been working on the law for more than a year and Bonnie Hawley, chairman is hopefully it will in front of the board for consideration by next month.

The town set May 21 at 7:25 p.m. as the date for a public hearing on a local law that would change the date residents could grieve their property tax assessments.

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