Gunstock neighbors want zoning change

GILFORD – Fifty-two Gilford residents have petitioned for a zoning article that would change the zone designation of Gunstock Inn and Resort from limited residential to resort commercial.

Owners Leslie and Linda Schuster feel that if the inn were in a resort commercial zone it would be much more conducive to the hotel, restaurant and fitness center that has operated in the same spot for years.

"It has been a commercial business since long before we owned it," said Les Schuster, who added that he thinks one of the reasons his predecessor failed was because it was improperly zoned as limited residential.

He said recently he needed to get a commercial sign approval, but learned he had to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustments to get it. While he was approved, he said every commercial endeavor he tries to make must go before the ZBA simply because of how the property is zoned.

He said, for example, he mentioned outdoor weddings after learning that previous owners had been historically hosting them.

"If I was in a resort commercial zone, I wouldn't need to go to the ZBA for permission for every little thing," he said.

Schuster noted that there are two other commercial properties within a stones throw of the Gunstock Inn – namely Gunstock Mountain Resort and the former Alberg Inn property.

Because there are a few residential properties between the inn and the former Alberg property directly across from the Gunstock Mountain, Schuster said that if the ordinance passed on the 2016 town warrant, he would leave it to the land use boards to decide it that small area should also be changed from limited residential to resort commercial zoning.

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Council to consider city garage’s future

LACONIA — The City Council will address the future of the downtown parking garage when it meets on Monday, Dec.14, beginning at 7 p.m.

In September, the parking garage was closed when an inspection found that the structural steel supporting the ramps were weakened by corrosion from exposure to water and salt. Emergency repairs were made to open the garage to the second level, but the third level has remained closed.

Dubois & King, Inc. completed an assessment of the condition of the parking garage last month and estimates the cost of repairs required to ensure long-term use of the facility at $1.2 million. Alternatively, emergency repairs similar to those undertaken in October could be made to reopen the third deck at a cost $120,000, but the ramps would require inspection and re-evaluation every six months.

The issue has taken on a measure of complexity and urgency because Genesis Behavioral Health has an option, which expires at the end of this year, to purchase the privately owned portion of the facility. Maggie Pritchard, executive director of Genesis, said yesterday that should the council fail to ensure the long-term integrity of the structure in a timely manner, the transaction could be jeopardized.

Ownership of the garage is shared between the city and Downtown Crossing, LLC, whose principle is Daniel Disangro of Rosindale, Massachusetts. The publicly owned portion of the garage includes the ramps and north end of the second and third levels, including the northernmost stairwell. Downtown Crossing LLC owns the ground floor of the garage, except for the ramps, and the south end of the second and third levels, including the southernmost stairwell. In other words, the city is responsible for maintaining most of the garage, particularly the ramps to access the privately owned spaces on the second and third levels.

In addition, Downtown Crossing LLC also owns the commercial spaces on the ground floor housing the Grace Capital Church, Soda Shoppe, Tangerine Green, Wedbush Securities and, Moods of Manhattan as well as two vacant units.

Genesis is seeking to acquire the property owned by Downtown Crossing LLC and convert the portion occupied by the Grace Capital Church together with some of the smaller units to house its administrative and clinical services. The project would be financed by a bond $5.5 million bond issued by the New Hampshire Health and Educational Facilities Authority. Pritchard said that the agency will seek to raise $1.5 million through a capital campaign as well as sell its properties at 111 Church St. and 771 Main St., which have assessed values of $959,000 and $625,200 respectively, and apply the proceeds against the debt.

City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday there are other aspects to the issue for the council to consider, most obvious among them the impact of losing some 220 parking spaces — about 180 owned by the city – in the center of downtown. He said that prospect of reopening the Colonial Theatre has increased interest in downtown properties, which will increase the demand for parking.

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Busy Corner to make way for ‘pocket park’

LACONIA — Busy Corner, also known as Normandin Square, will soon be getting a facelift.
CVS Pharmacy has purchased the property at the junction of Union Avenue and Church Street where a small building, which for some time was topped by a LACONIA — Busy Corner, also known as Normandin Square, will soon be getting a facelift.
CVS Pharmacy has purchased the property at the junction of Union Avenue and Church Street where a small building, which for some time was topped by a sign proclaiming “Busy Corner,” has stood since 1917. The company intends to demolish the building and create what Planning Director Shanna Saunders called a “pocket park” in its place.
The postage-stamp-sized lot of .058 of an acre is nearly a perfect isosceles triangle with two sides of 94.12 feet and 94.85 feet and a third of 55.81 feet. CVS plans to place a paved doughnut with a planted center in the space, which will be bounded on either side by perennial grasses and shrubs. Three granite benches will be placed around paved circle.
The park will be constructed and maintained by the company which adjoins the 1.59 acre lot where the CVS store was built in 2010.
For many years, the building at Busy Corner housed a popular luncheonette catering to the employees of the Scott & Williams Knitting Machine Mill and more recently has served as a law office, nail salon and barbershop.sign proclaiming “Busy Corner,” has stood since 1917. The company intends to demolish the building and create what Planning Director Shanna Saunders called a “pocket park” in its place.
The postage-stamp-sized lot of .058 of an acre is nearly a perfect isosceles triangle with two sides of 94.12 feet and 94.85 feet and a third of 55.81 feet. CVS plans to place a paved doughnut with a planted center in the space, which will be bounded on either side by perennial grasses and shrubs. Three granite benches will be placed around paved circle.
The park will be constructed and maintained by the company which adjoins the 1.59 acre lot where the CVS store was built in 2010.
For many years, the building at Busy Corner housed a popular luncheonette catering to the employees of the Scott & Williams Knitting Machine Mill and more recently has served as a law office, nail salon and barbershop.

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