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Veteran chapel sold at auction

Portsmouth Herald - 5/31/2018

LEE - The Veteran Resort-Chapel was sold at public auction on Wednesday for a winning bid of $105,000.

The bid was made by a person identified during the bidding process as a "Mr. Fetterman" but when asked for his full name, Fetwits land-use codes and Macdonald's non-profit organization that aims to provide services to homeless combat veterans.

Macdonald's bid for $93,000 was rejected by the auctioneer, Attorney Chris Hilson, representing the town, when Macdonald informed Hilson that he was not able to produce $9,300, 10 percent of the bid, which Hilson said was stipulated by the rules of the auction.

The bidding then was open to Fetterman and Alan Jacobson of Westwood, Massachusetts, who owns a seasonal cabin on an abutting plot of land from the chapel. The pair exchanged bids in $5,000 increments until Jacobson declined to exceed Fetterman's bid of $105,000.

The chapel land, located at 101 Stepping Stones Road, went to auction after Macdonald failed to pay a court judgment from February of more than $93,000 to the town.

On Wednesday, Macdonald expressed sadness at the result of the auction, but said he will pursue legal action to reverse the original court judgement and to nullify Wednesday's auction.

"Everybody says they want to help homeless people," Macdonald said. "If you can do this to homeless combat veterans, you can do this to anybody."

Macdonald said he believed Fetterman lives in the neighborhood, but did not know Fetterman's motivation to bid. Macdonald also said he does not know what will happen to the property, nor how long they have before they have to vacate.

Macdonald had previously argued in court, and also in numerous letters to the editors at Seacoast Media Group, maintaining that the property is not out of compliance because it is a church, and thus, Lee's land-use regulations do not apply.

Macdonald does not live at the chapel himself; his residence is at 465 Packers Falls Road.

The chapel is located in a residential neighborhood with a single-family home that Macdonald built a few years ago. The church is in the basement. Macdonald, a minister at the chapel, said services are held there every day. Outside are small buildings Macdonald has called tiny homes, single-person chapels and auxiliary buildings of the church.

The town took the chapel and Macdonald to court over those buildings, saying they do not meet land use codes for the residential area where the chapel is located because the Chapel is not a church. Macdonald disagrees and says the chapel is in compliance because it is a church, which is registered with the state and federal government.

 
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