Forum for Jan. 26, 2023: Many questions about Charlestown development

Published: 1/31/2023 8:28:43 PM
Modified: 1/31/2023 8:28:31 PM
Many questions about Charlestown development

I commend the discerning articles by Patrick O’Grady about the dispute in Charlestown over our Selectboard’s support for a proposed “mansion” atop Perry Mountain on the town’s border with Unity.

Our family bought Sky Farm, on the southern side of Perry Mountain, in 1970. It was a nature lover’s paradise, enjoyed by us and by people of Charlestown who were welcome to hike, hunt, ski, snowmobile and share appreciation of wild birds and animals. In 1992, I placed a conservation easement on 296 acres of this property so that future generations would always have similar opportunities as have benefited so many in our time.

An easement is a deed in perpetuity. It is legally binding. The Sky Farm easement was granted to the town of Charlestown. The Selectboard has fiduciary responsibility for upholding the easement but does not have authority to change it.

Last summer an individual bought 41 acres atop Perry Mountain that had been marketed as “perfect for camping out,” but the new owner wishes to build a 10,000-square-foot residence. For access, he intends to use a narrow Class 6 section of Borough Road, bordered on both sides by the stone walls that define the edges of the easement lands.

People are concerned. How can trucks carrying heavy equipment, blasted rock, timber, and building materials use the Class 6 section of Borough Road without impacting adjacent conserved land?

Why has the property owner not presented engineering plans for obtaining water and power and for protecting wetlands?

Why a floor plan from an internet advertisement, rather than a plan by a local architect who understands our soils, ledges, and water management?

Why are the Charlestown Selectboard and staff spending time advising and assisting a single individual and not considering the public interest in safeguarding easement lands?

At present, questions are many. Answers are few. People are concerned.

Sharon Francis


Competence before concepts

The “divisive concepts” controversy can be resolved with a small compromise. Each school should first meet a “threshold of competence” in elementary subject matter. curriculum should be limited to basic skills and knowledge until they are mastered.

Currently, only about 23% of NH elementary students scored “proficient” in the 2019 NAEP (the so-called “Nation’s Report Card”), so maybe we should require, for example, that each class reach 50% proficiency in elementary skills and knowledge before trying out novel theories of social construction.

Until a class is competent and comfortable with the elementary tools of learning, it’s hardly ready for rigorous analysis of complex social constructs. First things first. Curriculum should focus first on remediation of elementary deficiencies; reading, writing, arithmetic, and the like. Oh, and grammar! Please, please include grammar!

None of these subjects is controversial, none of it is divisive. So there’s plenty to be learned that isn’t controversial at all. Let’s get at least half our kids up to “proficient” in basics, then move on to promoting novel theories of historical analysis.

Robin Carpenter


Fundamental reading

I continue waiting for a list of those “demonic” and “prurient” books that should be removed from libraries and schools. Be sure to include the Bible — witches, devils, demons, violence, and don’t forget the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation.

One value of reading everything is it gives one the possibility of experiencing (sometimes bad) things without undergoing them. The most important thing you can do for your child is read to him/her. Every single day.

Susan Brown


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