Restore and Renovate

That’s what the writer said in a recent letter to the paper.  We should step up to the plate and appropriate the $200,000 to restore and renovate Brewster Hall.  That takes me back to the run-up to the ’09 Town Meeting where the boosters ran an advertising campaign to “Fix” Brewster Hall to garner support for their $500,000 repair article.  It failed.

In the same edition, the Town Manager and Editor do a tag-team response to James Cross’ letter that asks why the double standard in commercial code enforcement.  The Town Manager sets the stage by implying that the building only has to meet the codes that were in effect at the time of construction – 1890.  The Editor then takes the ball and runs for the goal posts:

…over the past two years town has already made numerous improvements to address specific concerns of its Fire Department, its insurance carrier, the State of New Hampshire, and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as concerns expressed by employees about air quality.

That’s a tad misleading.  Is the Editor trying to imply that the Fire Department, State, and DOJ and Employees are now satisfied?

The Fire Department is definitely not satisfied.  In fact, I’d be hard pressed to come up with anything that’s been done in the last two years to address the concerns of the Fire Department.  Here are a few of the things that I think the Fire Department is still concerned about:

  • No illuminated exit signs.
  • No fire alarm system
  • No sprinkler system
  • Multiple electrical service entrances

As far as I know, anytime there is a change of use or tenancy in a commercial building, the door is open to inspection and code review.  I believe the last time that happened in BMH was in the 1990’s when the County moved out of the “courtroom” suite.  I’d be curious to know if the codes at that time required a fire alarm system, or even lighted exit signs.  I think they did.

Is there a double standard?  You bet.

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