Tensions in Hampstead between newer developments and older parts of town surfaced several times during Wednesday's forum for town council candidates.
"We need people up here who are not prejudiced -- if that is what is going on -- to the new residents," said candidate Dwight Womer.
"The council [members] seems to have already made up their minds before we even come up here" to voice concerns, he said.
Incumbent Jacqueline Hyatt said that wasn't true. She said, for example, that that she and incumbent William S. Pearson Sr. had supported a new crosswalk in the Roberts Field development, which was what Mr. Womer and some Roberts Field residents had asked the council to do.
"I don't think you can lump all of the council [together]," Mrs. Hyatt said.
Candidate Russell S. Laderer, vice-president of the Fields Homeowners' Association, said his area does not have "a decent working relationship" with the council.
"They need to get out and talk with the people," he said of the council, adding that Mayor Clint Becker is the town politician who has been to one of the association's annual meetings.
Candidate James F. Piet said the council might form a committee to soothe differences between residents of the newer and older parts of town.
"That's how you work things out in a community like this," he said.
Growth management also figured prominently in the forum.
Candidate Wayne H. Thomas said the town will have to grapple with traffic congestion and school overcrowding caused by continuing growth.
"I also believe the town council should be independent, willing to say no to developers," he said.
Mr. Laderer said he was impressed with the council's decision this year to change the zoning ordinance so the council doesn't have to decide whether a need exists for new businesses in town.
"I don't believe that that's the role of government at any level," Mr. Laderer said.
He also said he would like to see the town create a task force of town officials and local business leaders, to work at drawing more jobs to Hampstead. If more people were able to work in town instead of using it as a bedroom community, he said, that would help Hampstead preserve its small-town atmosphere.
"For growth to continue at the pace it's been going, something needs to be done" about aging water mains, Mr. Womer said.
Also, he said, "We've got to start making some noise about this bypass" for Route 30.
Mr. Pearson suggested that "everyone in town" should sign a petition to the state asking for money to build a Route 30 bypass.
But candidate Gregory Jugo said it might take years of coaxing before the money is forthcoming.
Mr. Jugo suggested the town should create more parking spaces and synchronize its traffic lights.
Ms. Hyatt said, "If people would car pool, they could eliminate some of the problem."
Candidate David Hopkins said the bypass is really a state responsibility. He said the town of Hampstead should make sure the town has adequate security and policing for any growth that occurs.
Mr. Hopkins suggested the town should look into trying to collect an impact fee on new developments outside the town limits.
Mr. Piet said there is not a lot the council can do about impact fees outside of town, and said increasing impact fees would not fix Route 30, secure more water or increase the capacity of the sewer plant.
Several candidates said they favored preserving the railroad station that appears on the town seal, if possible.
"I don't want to be a wet blanket," said Mr. Pearson, adding that he has a soft spot in his heart for the building. But the station would be hard to move, he said, and possibly expensive to restore.
Mr. Thomas suggested that high school shop classes might be able to help with the restoration.
Money for restoration is available from grants if the building is salvageable, said Ms. Hyatt.
Eight candidates are vying for three council seats in the Tuesday election. The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the town hall at 1034 S. Carroll St.