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Belmont planners skeptical of ordinance to regulate property maintenance

BELMONT — The Planning Board will hold a second public hearing on January 13 about the possible adoption of the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code for the entire community.

The decision to hold a second public hearing came after four members of the Planning Board decided at the end of their meeting on December 12 to do more research into the idea.

Planning Board Chair Peter Harris said yesterday that the board hasn't really had enough time to consider the proposed code, which is about 40 pages long and was created to regulate the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings.

Although the IPMC is not new to New Hampshire and some cities, including Laconia, have adopted it, it is a relatively new concept to Belmont, which Harris describes as rural as opposed to urban.

The idea came from a Selectboard meeting in late October when the town administrator advised members that Code Enforcement Officer Steve Paquin had reported he had had some concerns with garbage piling up in front of some homes as well as some safety concerns that he was powerless to address.

Chair Ron Cormier said at the time that he would tentatively support some kind of property maintenance code for the village area because it looked so nice now that Phase 1 of the Village Revitalization Project had been completed.

Cormier said yesterday that the IPMC was what Daigle suggested and selectmen, after meeting with members of the Planning Board in late October, decided to include it on the 2014 warrant.

According to draft minutes of the December 16 public hearing, George Condodemetraky said he liked some aspects of the IPMC but said not all of its provisions apply to a small community like Belmont. His primary suggestion was to have the Planning Boar review the entire code, identify those provisions that would make sense for Belmont, and include some form of a maintenance code on the 2015 warrant.

Draft minutes showed that of the four members who were at the December 12 Planning Board public hearing (Harris, Claude Patten, Michael LeClair, and Rick Segalini, Jr.) had some problem with supporting the initiative at this time, with Patten saying he just didn't support it at all because he was uncomfortable with the town telling people to "re-roof their roofs."

Harris suggested they apply it only to businesses and commercial property, however Daigle said she didn't think "selective application" was legal.

His other concern was the town would get involved in "neighbor vs. neighbor" disputes and that the code enforcement officer has to be able to work with everybody.

The next public hearing for the adoption of the IMPC is Monday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Corner Meeting House. The board will also hear public opinion about a recently petitioned warrant article regarding the a historic review process prior to the demolition of buildings and structures more that 50-years-old.

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