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Beach battle: Hampton wants more state money

January 23. 2018 8:54PM

For 20 years, every tweak to the state’s education funding formula has sparked a race to the court house as towns squabble for a bigger piece of the pie.

Now, a trio of Hampton selectmen are threatening to open up another endless legal battle over state parks.

Phil Bean, Rick Griffin, and Regina Barnes want to sue for money to cover local costs associated with the waves of tourists who flock to Hampton Beach State Park each summer.

Grant Bosse outlined the town’s contentious history with the state’s management of Hampton Beach State Park in his Tuesday column.

The Hampton Three are accusing Selectboard Chair Jim Waddell and Hampton Beach Area Commission Chairman John Nyhan of stacking the deck against them by meeting with Gov. Chris Sununu last week.

Sununu says the lawswuit would be a waste of time, but is open to the parks system helping Hampton with public safety on the beach.

Bean skipped the meeting, and walked out of Monday’s selectboard meeting after Waddell called him “a fool” and “thin-skinned.”

Local drama aside, the Hampton lawsuit is a bad idea. New Hampshire has 93 states parks. Should Hampton prevail, every town with a park might start looking for a judge willing to award them more state money.

Such decisions are the purview of the Legislature, which is where Hampton should make its case.

Outdoors Politics Tourism State Government Editorial

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