The Raymond Conservation Commission gets half of the current use penalty paid to that town, from anyone developing current use land, placed in account for the commission to spend prudently. They found a deal on some land already being eyed by a non-profit land trust.
Here is their story as gleaned from public records:
September 17, 2008: Minutes - Raymond Conservation Commission Chairman, Mr. Wood, states that he consulted Town Attorney, Mr. Ciandella, who he said confirmed that “the Bond Property Acquisition falls under the RSA 36-A process, whereby the Conservation Commission can disburse funds after a public hearing is held. He said the public notices were placed in the newspaper today and the public hearing is scheduled for October 1, 2008.”
October 1, 2008: Minutes - Raymond Conservation Commission holds a required public hearing to discuss the Bond Property “donation” towards “acquisition.” At this hearing Mr. Hart of Southeast Land Trust supported the commission in its efforts to donate towards the acquisition. Ms. Kent of the Raymond Con Com motioned to approve the donation. The vote was unanimous with one abstention. Raymond Con Com member Cody Cramer voted YES.
November 21, 2008: Martha Bond sells her sixty acres to Southeast Land Trust for $300,000.00. It is listed as an LCHIP property. Charles F. Tucker of Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, Raymond’s town law firm, signs the deed as the Notary public and as the witness for Southeast Land Trust.
December 17, 2008: Attorney Christopher Boldt of Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella sends a legal response requested by the town regarding this acquisition. It was received by the town on December 18, 2008 addressed to the Raymond Town Manager Chris Rose stating in no uncertain terms that it is unlawful for the conservation commission to buy land to be held by a third party – not the town. RSA 36-A:4 does not allow for a third party land purchases but a recent legislative change in the law would allow for third party purchases in 2009 if passed by voters in Raymond.
December 22, 2008: Selectman’s Minutes under Conservation Commission Property Purchase Selectman Wood disclosed that Mr. J. Wood of the Con Com is her husband. Mr. Hart of Southeast Land Trust explains a reverter clause in the pending Letter of Intent. Several people object to the “purchase,” they are; Ms. Kathy Hoelzel and Ms. Irene Wiggin.
Raymond Selectmen, apparently without seeing the letter from town counsel warning against doing so, sign the letter of intent to pay Southeast Land Trust $75,000.00 to “support the purchase and permanent protection” of Bond Property.
Southeast land trust in turn agrees to convey a permanent conservation easement on the Bond Property to Bear~Paws Regional Greenways. Raymond Conservation Commission member Casey Cramer is listed a being on the Board of Directors of Bear~Paws. Raymond would have no interest in the property. Brian Hart of Southeast Land Trust signed for them.
March 2009 Raymond Town Meeting: Warrant Article # 32 to adopt the changes to RSA 36-A:4-a, I(b) to enable the town to expend funds to qualified third parties for the purchase of property is voted down 698 NO to 232 YES leaving no legal way for the Raymond Conservation Commission to expend $75,000.00 of tax dollars on this project.
Believe it or not this still isn’t over.