Pumpkin festival parking fees go to charities

LACONIA — Proceeds from parking some 250 cars at Fair Street businesses during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 24 have been donated to five local charities, according to Sally McGarry, president and general manager of Boulia-Gorrell Lumber Company.
She said that funds were presented to Boy Scout Troop 65, the Lakes Region Boys and Girls Club, the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, the New Hampshire Humane Society and the Lakes Region Children's Auction.
McGarry said the parking was organized by Richard Kordas, who handles outside sales for Boulia-Gorrell, and saw the event as an opportunity to raise money for local charities.
Kordas said that his daughter, Emily, her friend, Danielle Clairmont, and volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 65 worked for 13 hours helping park cars in the parking lots at Boulia-Gorrell, Mills Industries and at the Citizen Publishing Company property, which is owned by Beacon Mills Inc.
''All the businesses were great. The shuttle, which took people into downtown, stopped at the Citizen Publishing Company lot and it went very smoothly. We were pretty busy all day,'' said Kordas.
He said that those who parked their cars were asked for a suggested $20 donation and many said they were glad to see that the money would be going to local charities.
''It was a good, neighborly kind of event and we're looking forward to doing the same thing next year,' said Kordas.

Beans and Greens owners are prepared to petition Gilford for a ruling on agritourism definition

Petition drive underway for special town meeting on agritourism zoning
GILFORD — A petition drive has been launched by the Howe family for a special town meeting to consider amendments to the town's zoning ordinance which would define agritourism and make it easier for them to hold Farm to Table events, including weddings, at their Timber Hill Farm property.
The Howes — Andrew, Martina and their son Isaac, currently have a site plan for their Timber Hill property before the town planing board to hold such events but are concerned over possible changes in the town's zoning ordinance which might limit their ability to conduct such events in the future.
'They maintain that the uncertainty created by the possibility of changes creates a difficult environment in which to pursue their plans to diversify and evolve their business .
A recent cease and desist order issued by the town which would have prohibited them from holding Farm to Table events without first obtaining site plan approval for their Timber Hill property was lifted when they appealed he ruling to the Zoning Board of Adjustment last month. But there has been a request for a rehearing of that ruling, which if denied by the ZBA could lead to a court case and more uncertainty.
And the Howes say they are concerned by a discussion held by the planning board Monday night on possible zoning amendment changes involving agritourism and agriculture. Although they did not attend the meeting, they got the impression that agritourism would be banned in all residential zones, which would include Timber Hill Farm, which is located in a single-family residential zone.

Two weeks ago the Howes site plan came before the planning board, which tabled it pending a site walk of the property which was held last Friday. The plan envisions construction of a timber-frame barn for hosting events and an irrigation pond and seeks one more summer of use of the current farm-to-table events site. The board is scheduled to take up the plan when it meets on November 16.

''We'd like to get started now on the project and not have to wait five months until zoning changes get voted on. That's why we'd like to see an emergency town meeting and get the issues resolved now,'' said Andrew Howe. His wife, Martina, said that they already have sufficient signatures to present the petition to the town.
Town Planner John Ayer says that some of the Howes concerns are blown out of proportion.
He says that the planning board's proposals for defining agritourism and agriculture are ''a work in progress'' and may well be modified.
''We're looking at following the state definition of agriculture with slight modifications and allowing agritourism events, including weddings, in commercial and industrial zones but not in residential zones. That may change,'' says Ayer.
He said that because the Howes site plan has already been accepted by the planning board as complete, no provisions of any proposed zoning change will play a role in determining whether or not the plan obtains site plan approval.
''If their plan is approved, then the use will be grandfathered, just like the corn maze and pick-your-own at Beans & Greens'' said Ayer.
The Howes own Beans and Greens, which is a family farm and and farm stand that operates from a commercial /resort zone on Intervale Road in what is called the "meadows" portion of Gilford. They raise many of the products sold at the farm stand at Timber Hill Farm, which is located in a single family residential zone on Gunstock Hill Road which has been the site farm to table events for the last five years, and more recently the site of weddings which are described as part of an agritourism business of the Howes.
Agritourism, which is defined by a state statute as "attracting visitors to a working farm for the purpose of eating a meal, making overnight stays, enjoyment of the farm environment, education on farm operations, or active involvement in the activity of the farm which is ancillary to the farm operation" is the fastest growing part of the state's agriculture scene, accounting for up to one-third of the $1.2 billion in state agricultural revenues according to a recent Plymouth State University study.

Dump truck snags power lines, causes outage in Belmont, Tilton, Sanbornton

BELMONT — An accident on Winnisquam Way at 8:30 Monday morning caused a power outage in the Lake Winnisquam area of Belmont, Tilton and Sanbornton which affected traffic lights and local businesses for several hours.

Police said that the outage took place after a commercial dump truck owned by Extreme Excavation of Laconia, which was towing a front-end loader, took down overhead power lines and snapped a utility pole.

Driver Calvin Dunn III, 40, of Gilford was charged with a commercial trucking violation by the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit. Several utility companies worked throughout the day to replace the pole and bring utilities back on line.