Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

TOWN LAYS DOWN THE LAW NORTH --

February 18, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

If officials of the town of Hampstead want to throw the book at you, look out -- they now officially have a book to throw.

The Hampstead Town Council passed an emergency ordinance Tuesday that would make the town code the law.

The code is the collection of all the town's ordinances. In the past, each ordinance the town passed became law. If there was a discrepancy between the ordinance as it was adopted and the wording printed in the code book, the individual ordinance took precedence.

Adoption of the code as law is essentially a housekeeping measure.

Richard Murray, a lawyer with Walsh and Fisher, the firm that represents Hampstead, said Monday the change would annul any laws from the 1800s that nobody knows of or enforces because they aren't in the code. He said he did not know if any such laws exist.

Mr. Murray said the effect would be, "If they're not in this code book, they're no longer law."

The council also passed two charter amendments Tuesday evening that mean Hampstead no longer will have to revamp the town charter each time it annexes land.

The first amendment removes the boundary descriptions of town land from the charter. The second places in the charter a notice that boundary descriptions are available for inspection in the town hall.

Mayor Clint Becker said Monday the changes would save the town the expense of having to revise the charter for each annexation.

Town Manager John Riley said Tuesday there will be a 40-day period before the charter amendments go into effect.

At the meeting, the Hampstead council introduced 23 ordinances that will be taken up for discussion in the weeks ahead.

Mr. Murray said most of the new ordinances are also "primarily a matter of housekeeping."

They delete many obsolete references. For example, the town now has a town manager and a clerk instead of a clerk-treasurer, so a reference to the clerk-treasurer position was deleted.

Some of the ordinances are more substantive. Ordinance 254 would allow the Board of Zoning Appeals to reconsider decisions upon written request, within 30 days of the original decision, if it finds there is good cause to do so.

Ordinance 235 would designate the members of the Election Board as the town Ethics Commission. The commission could give advisory opinions and set up an ethics-complaints process.

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