Plaistow, Sandown Voters to Decide Police, School Issues

Plaistow, N.H., Town Hall.

Plaistow Town Hall.

Voters in the towns of Plaistow and Sandown go to polls today to decide, in addition to filling seats at town offices, proposals for a revamped Plaistow public safety complex and whether to create a new Sandown school district.

A warrant article on the ballot in Plaistow asks voters whether to approve spending $8.5 million for an expanded public safety complex, including renovation of the existing Plaistow fire station on Elm Street. Plans also call for construction of a new single-story, nearly 14,000-square-foot Plaistow police station adjacent to the apparatus bays of the existing fire station. According to documents released Monday, Plaistow’s Public Safety Complex Building Committee coordinated work over the past decade “to identify and address significant deficiencies with the existing police facility.” Security and overcrowding issues at the current police station were cited by reviews “against evolving industry standards, best practices and recently constructed facilities throughout New

Hampshire and Massachusetts.” Deficiencies also identified at the fire station include lack of adequate ventilation in locker areas doubling as laundry and storage space, as well as a lack of adequate space for fire officers and administration support staff due in part to reconfigured building uses. The proposal, part of the town’s capital improvement program, has received favorable recommendations from the Plaistow Board of Selectmen and the Plaistow Budget Committee.

“In 2015, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) engaged the services of an owners project manager to help reduce the scope and cost of the proposed project from $11 million to $8.5 Million,” according to a warrant article statement. “The BOS also hired a general contractor to help provide additional cost certainty and mitigate risk for the proposed project.”

If approved, the project is estimated to add $183 to the tax bill for the owner of property with an assessed value of $250,000 in the first year and decrease in subsequent years.

Meanwhile in Sandown, a petitioned warrant article, signed by at least 31 residents, asks voters whether the town should “begin actions to form a separate school district” under a plan submitted last October to the Sandown Board of Selectmen. It would call for the town’s withdrawal from the Timberlane Regional school district and operation of the new school district by July, 2018. To meet legal requirements, the warrant article would also direct the Timberlane Regional School Board to conduct “a study of the feasibility and suitability of the withdrawal of Sandown” from the Timberlane school district. The proposal has received unfavorable support by a three to two majority of selectmen.

Polls in Plaistow and Sandown are open until 8 p.m., Tuesday.