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Understanding after Hathaway House meeting is that historic Laconia building will have to be moved to be saved

LACONIA — Following the emotional public hearing on the future of the Hathaway House last week, Pam Clark, who chairs the Heritage Commission, and City Manager Scott Myers met yesterday with Greg Nolan of Cafua Management Company, LLC, the owner of the building, in what Clark described as a "positive and productive meeting."

In September, Cafua applied for permit to demolish the Hathaway House, setting in train the process to preserve it. A public hearing was held, at which the overwhelming majority of attendees favored preserving the building. In accord with the ordinance Clark met with the owner to discuss alternatives to demolition. If an alternative cannot be found, Cafua will be entitled to proceed with demolition.

Clark said that there was acknowledgement that the interests of both the owner of Hathaway House and those seeking to preserve it, hinged on relocating the building. The entrance to the Dunkin' Donuts outlet runs close to the front door of the Hathaway House, effectively foreclosing prospects to convert the building to a either a residential or commercial use at its current location.

Although Cafua will complete its application for a demolition permit, Clark said that Nolan agreed to "provide a reasonable window of opportunity to explore the possibility of relocating the building. He said that at this time the company had no specific plans for the property. Clark said that Nolan assured her that "there is no imminent time frame for demolition" and should the company decide to pursue that course the Heritage Commission will be given ample notice."

Clark said that following the meeting she spoke with Maggie Stier of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance who said that she would arrange for a team to assess the condition of the Hathaway House to determine whether it can be moved and to estimate the cost relocating it. "Right now the question is whether it can be moved and if so where it can be located and at what cost," Clark said, adding that the commission may issue a "request for proposals" to attract developers interested in acquiring the building and a lot to house it.

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 February 2014 01:19

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Cryans spends day campaigning in Laconia

LACONIA — Yesterday, for the second time in as many weeks, Michael Cryans, the Democratic candidate for the Executive Council in District 1, visited the city where he addressed the Laconia Rotary Club then visited the Huot Regional Technical Education Center, Central Fire Station, and the Laconia State School property before calling at several downtown businesses to end the day.

Cryans, 62, was born and raised in Littleton, where he graduated from high school in 1969 before earning his bachelor's degree at Springfield College in 1973. He returned home and taught physical education at Littleton High School for five years before joining Littleton Savings Bank as a trainee. The bank became the Dartmouth Banking Company and Cryans was its senior vice-president when it was sold 15 years later. He spent a decade self-employed, providing financial counseling to small businesses and working families and since 2003 has served as director of Headrest, a substance abuse and recovery facility in Lebanon. He has served on the Grafton County Commission for the past 17 years.

"It's a huge undertaking, a humbling experience to run for the executive council in this district," Cryans told the Rotarians. He displayed a map, explaining that the district sprawls across two-thirds of the land area of the state, reaches into seven of its 10 counties — Coos, Carroll, Grafton, Belknap, Strafford, Sullivan and Merrimack — and includes four of its 13 cites — Laconia, Berlin Claremont and Lebanon — 109 of its 221 towns and most of its unincorporated places. But, Cryans noted, 80 percent of the state's population lives in the other four Executive Council districts.

Countering a common assumption, Cryans said "I don't view this job as North County job." Instead. he said there are "pockets of population" all across the district "each with its own issues." Apart from his experience in business and government, he said that as a distance runner, who runs 10 miles every day and has covered 80,000 miles in the last decade, he has the "perseverance and sticktoitiveness" the position requires.

Cryans said that the constitutional duties of the executive council are to approve the governor's nominations for commissioners and their deputies of executive departments and agencies, numerous boards and commissions and judgeships as well as to approve state contracts amounting to some $4-billion a year.

However, he added that Ray Burton had "redefined the role of executive councilor, which "consists of three things — constituent service, constituent service and constituent service." He confessed "I'm not trying to fill Ray's shoes, which would be impossible for anyone," while insisting "I will do the best I can and represent you as best I can. No playbook comes with this job," he continued. "If you have a suggestion, I'll take it."

When the floor was opened to questions Cryans was asked what effect his party affiliation would have on his approach to the office "I'd like to think it wouldn't have any," he replied, adding that he thought the person's qualities were more important than their partisan allegiance.

Rick Lahey referred to the bill passed by the New Hampshire House of Representatives last week and asked what Cryans thought about legalizing the sale of marijuana. Explaining that that it was not a question to come before the Executive Council, he said that because he worked to overcome substance abuse he would have voted against it.

The discussion turned to Northern Pass and the possible proliferation of wind farms in Grafton County. "I don't think the towers should be built," Cryans said of Northern Pass, recalling that once the state license plates carried the word "scenic" and stressing that "the towers would drastically change the landscape forever." For the project to proceed, he said, "they must figure out a way to bury the lines."

With respect to wind farms, Cryans said that while personally he did not like the turbines on the ridge lines, he considered the permitting process was "a local issue" and believed "each community should have a greater say." That was not enough for Abe Dadian, who pressed Cryans for a commitment to forestall the development of wind farms, especially in the towns surrounding Newfound Lake.

When Cryans said he had no opinion for or against casino gambling, he was asked "do you gamble?" and answered to laughs, "I didn't say that, I came here today, didn't I."


CAPTION — Michael Cryans (right), the Democratic candidate for the Executive Council in District 1, said that at 62 he does not aspire to match the 17 terms served by Ray Burton. Nevertheless, during a visit to the Huot Technical Center yesterday he took time to speak with future voters, Eli (left) and Colin (center), at the Early Childhood Education program (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 02:00

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Belmont accepts LCHIP grant for bandstand work

BELMONT — Selectmen have voted to accept a $15,000 state grant which will be used to help defray the costs of the restoration of the town's century-old bandstand.
The vote to accept the grant from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Project — or LCHIP — came following a brief public hearing during Monday evening's meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
The LCHIP grand will help with costs associated with the second phase of the bandstand restoration, which involves painting, electrical work and roof replacement of the historic structure in the village.
Monday's selectmen's meeting was the last a before the deliberative session on the town warrant which is scheduled for this Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Belmont High School café.
The proposed total town budget for 2014 is $10,115,516, according to Town Administrator K. Jeanne Beaudin. While the proposed budget is about 7 percent higher than last year's municipal budget of $9,452,064, the amount to be raised by property taxes is 4 percent higher, Beaudin noted.
There are 38 articles on the warrant.
Voters will be able to discuss and amend the articles during Saturday's deliberative session. The vote on whether to approve the articles will occur on Town Election Day, Tuesday, March 11.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 01:50

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Forreter's bill to exempt RVs from property taxation passes Senate, 24-0

CONCORD — Legislation to exempt recreational vehicles from property taxation, sponsored by Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) carried the New Hampshire Senate yesterday by a vote of 24 to 0.

Senate Bill 333 exempts recreational vehicles, as defined by statute, that do not remain in any one town, city or incorporated place for more than 45 days, unless stored or placed on a rented campsite, from property taxation. The statutory definition of a recreational vehicle includes motor homes, vans, pickup campers and tent trailers as well as recreational trailers of 400-square-feet or less. The bill stipulates that recreational vehicles shall be deemed personal, not real, property and not liable to property taxation.

On the strength of a court decision in 1999, which was reaffirmed in 2002, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration began advising cities and towns to tax recreational vehicles as real property. The result was what Forrester called a "crazy quilt" as recreational vehicles parked at campgrounds were treated differently by different municipal assessors. Some are taxed as real property while others are not. Some municipalities bill the owners of the recreational vehicles while others bill the owners of the campgrounds.

In a prepared statement issued after the vote in the Senate, Forrester said that "the inconsistent application of our tax code causes confusion for businesses across our state, and the patchwork of laws that have applied to campground owners in recent years has been among the worst. By clarifying the legislature's intent on these laws," she continued, "it is my hope that the owners of the state's 117 private campgrounds will have the stability and clarity they need to operate their businesses without undue burdens from state government."

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 01:47

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