Selectmen create new committee to oversee fairground use

Sep 19, 2017

The Rochester Board of Selectmen has created a new property management committee for the Rochester Country Fairgrounds, after some abutters complained of the fairgrounds being used outside of original intentions.

The Pine Street Property Usage Committee consists of Rochester Country Fair Committee member Kelly Morgado, as well as Selectman Brad Morse, Town Counsel Blair Bailey, Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar, and abutter Jeremy Peck. Peck was selected from a pool of four applicants, made up of abutters who had shown interest in serving on the committee.

The committee's charge, according to Selectmen Woody Hartley, is to decide the use of the fairground property on Pine Street and come up with a set of rules for its future use. "What I would like to see is this group come up with a set of rules for the use of the town’s property at 65 Pine Street," he explained, "and that should include a separation for the Country Fair and its fundraisers. In addition, the rules should clearly state that there can be no more than "x" additional functions and a list of who gets to hold them, with priority to town interests raising money for town events."

One abutter who attended the meeting noted that he wasn't a fan of the Country Fair, though he acknowledged that the Country Fair Committee had done an excellent job of holding the event. He was more concerned with what might happen to the fairgrounds in years to come if no rules were set down, particularly in terms of construction.

"I did quite a bit of research, there wasn’t anything that said no permanent structures could be built," Hartley said. "The fair committee has come in and requested putting in a few additional buildings in the past. There was a great deal of talking about creating a committee like this many years ago, and it never happened, so now it’s going to happen.”

The first meeting of the newly-formed committee will be in late September or early October.