Senior housing discussions getting old Crane adds capability to Portsmouth Shipyard Poets seek joy in grief A call for Pelicans on Star Island

Rye Reflections staff

And away we go!

An iceboat essentially a sailboat with skis zips across Eel Pond in Rye. Winter winds along with glassy surface propel these boats at high speeds. Not recommended for novices. (Judy Palm photo)

Minor issue defers major issue
on senior housing until Feb. 12

Another month passes, another minor detail arises, but the central question has yet to be addressed fully after 10 months of deliberation:

Can a Retirement Community Development (RCD) be limited to tenants who fit affordable housing criteria?

The developer, The Housing Partnership (THP), has been operating under the affordable assumption since it first approached the Rye Planning Board in April, 2007. Under the plan THP would build and operate a complex with 22 rental units for those age 62 or older on roughly 10 acres behind the Skate Board Park off Route One. Some board members contend the plan discriminates against those with annual incomes in excess $34,000.

The January meeting finally was scheduled to come to grips with the issue, but prior to the meeting Chairman Don Cavallaro asked THP for a copy of the rental lease to review, causing THP to ask for a continuance. Such leases are drawn up regularly by the non-profit organization which has properties in several Seacoast communities, but THP will be turning to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Agency for funding and "we need to get their blessing on the lease," said Executive Director Dick Ingram. (See letter from THP counsel.)

When the continuation was put up for a board vote on January 8, a couple of members asked in unison, "What lease are we talking about?", apparently not knowing that an oral request had been made to the developer for a copy of the rental lease occupants eventually would have to sign.

Possibly lurking in the background is another detail. Alternate member Martin Zivic, in a memo to the Planning Board on January 3, has raised the question as to whether the federal rules for affordable housing will allow those under 62, namely disabled persons, to reside in the RCD complex. In his memo Zivic points out that the RCD ordinance restricts occupants to persons 62 or older "with no exceptions," whereas the federal regulations allow non-elderly disabled persons who are under 62 in their definition of an "elderly household".

The THP plan was given conditional approval on Dec. 12 on a 5 to 2 board vote. One of the three conditions is that granting a Special Use Permit "must not be contrary to the public interest."

Far-sighted Vision

Delivery of a new 60-ton portal crane to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard via the Piscataqua. (Jim Cerny photo)

In early January the ship Jumbo Vision delivered this crane, which will significantly add to the Shipyard's industrial capability. The crane was manufactured by Samsung Heavy Industries of South Korea. Note the Internet URL on the side of the ship.

Shiver me timbers

The Portsmouth Rotary Club held its 5th annual Polar Bear Swim at the New Castle Common on January 12th. (Jim Cerny photo)

'Surprised by Joy'

Portsmouth's poet laureate, Liz Knies, whose poems have graced these pages, has come up with a poignant project to bring poetry to underserved populations. Her plans include first working with a small bereavement support group, along with Elaine Wiesman, programs chairman for Seacoast Hospice, then bringing five reading/performance programs to retirement communities and one to the Portsmouth Public Library for the general public.

The project title "Surprised by Joy" was drawn by Knies from a C.S. Lewis autobiography as well as from her own writing experiences after the death of her husband, Jerry. "It's paradoxical in once sense," she told the Portsmouth Herald, "but grief can involve joy by internalizing the process you go through."

Where there's smoke but no fire

Arctic sea smoke surrounds Wood Island at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. (Jim Cerny photo)

Arctic sea smoke is a kind of ground fog that forms when very cold air blows over relatively warmer water. We see this along the New Hampshire shore on a few of the coldest days of the year. On this particular January morning, about an hour after sunrise, the air was +5F and the water about +41F with strong winds.

At sea for the summer

Applications are being received for the position of Island naturalist and Pelicans on Star Island for the summer. The Star Island Corporation is looking for someone qualified as a naturalist to give guided tours of the inter-tidal zone, flora and geology of the Isles of Shoals island while being in charge of the marine aquaria and educational programs for students of all ages. The Pelicans' positions have been coveted through the years and include a little bit of everything. Residency on the island is required for six days a week between mid-June and late August or early September. If interested, contacted the office at 603-430-6272 or email office@starisland.org or apply online at www.starisland.org.


Knots landing

Orange polypropylene rope, coiled in the off-season, waiting for warmer weather on Appledore. (Jim Cerny photo)

February, 2008