Laconia planners approve new street acceptance policy written to expedite process

LACONIA — Following a public hearing this week, the Planning Board unanimously agreed to amend the site plan plan regulations to clarify and expedite the process for accepting newly built, private roadways as city streets.

Until a roadway — constructed to serve a residential subdivision, for example — can be maintained and plowed by the city and its residents served by trash collection and school buses, it must be accepted as a city street. To be accepted as a city street, the roadway must be built to municipal standards.

The process begins with the Department of Public Works (DPW), which determines that streets are built to the required standards., then proceeds to the Planning Board. The Planning Board makes a recommendation to the City Council, which is vested with the authority to accept a street.
The current subdivision regulations prescribe that a newly built street must undergo a "performance observation period" of one year after the base pavement is laid before it can be accepted. During the year, the street goes through a complete cycle of freezing and thawing, which reveals any deficiencies in its construction, which can be corrected before its acceptance. At the same time, approximately half the house lots must be developed and occupied prior to acceptance to provide the tax base to support the extension of municipal services.
The proposal approved by the Planning Board would retain the 12-month "performance observation period" and require that certificates of occupancy be issued for 20 percent of the proposed homes on the roadway before the DPW could evaluate the street for acceptance. However, the board provided that a developer could expedite the process by retaining a third party inspector reporting to the DPW. Likewise, the Planning Board retains the authority to grant a waiver of the requirements.
The Planning Board acted in response to a request by the City Council to expedite the process, which included a recommendation to reconsider the year-long "performance observation period". As an amendment to the site plan regulations, the process falls within the jurisdiction of the Planning Board and does not require approval of the council.

Carterbury dump worker facing 'touching' co-worker charge; man registered as sex offender in 1983

CANTERBURY — A town employee who works at the Canterbury Transfer Station and who is a register sex offender was charged by N.H. State Police yesterday for allegedly touching a female town employee in 2008 and a town volunteer in 2010.

The simple assaults were allegedly committed by Warren Hardy, 63, of Canterbury and were reported to N.H. State Police on December 30, 2014.

Police said an investigation led them to believe there was probable cause for the charges and he was arrested at his home and released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail. He is scheduled to appear in the 6th Circuit Court, Concord Division on March 23.

According to the N.H. Sex Offender registry website, Hardy, who is also known as Warren Bushey, was convicted in 1983 of felonious sexual assault on a victim who was younger than 16 but older than 13.

Hardy was also convicted in 2003 of being a felon in possession of a weapon and three counts of simple assault.

The investigation is ongoing and it is suspected there may be additional victims yet unidentified. Anyone with further information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Trooper First Class Joshua Beauchemin at 603-223-4381, 603-223-8540 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

$415,254 health insurance refund larger than Laconia schools expected

LACONIA — The Laconia School Board Tuesday night approved $691,7675 in budget line item transfers, with 70 percent of the transfer funds coming from a $415,254 refund from its health insurance provider, Health Trust.
Business Administrator Ed Emond explained that the School District had budgeted for a refund but the refund which was received was larger than anticipated.
Most of the transferred funds went to special education, $388,350 in all, in several different categories.
There was $100,000 for contracted services for special ed, $50,000 for tuition handicap for non-public elementary, $48,551 for a special education teacher at Elm Street School, $75,000 for tuition handicap for a non-public high school, $44,000 for contracted services for special ed, $12,605 for special ed aides at Laconia High School and $12,742 for special ed aides at Woodland Heights School.
The new special ed expenses were offset by transfers of $202,043 from special education accounts, including a transfer of $126,000 from an account for tuition for a handicap student at Laconia Middle School to a non-public school, $48,227 for special ed teacher salaries and several smaller accounts.
School Board member Mike Persson said that in the immediate future the district can expect to see more students with special education needs.
The largest lump sum, $125,000 was transferred to contracted services for building repair which will see a boiler at the SAU office at the Harvard St. School replaced.
$111,994 was transferred to expendable trust funds, which Emond said were created with a $313,8000 supplemental appropriation approved by the city council last year after the School District received a larger than anticipated state adequate education grant.
The trust fund for insurance now totals $250,000 and there is $150,000 in a trust fund for buildings and $25,000 in a trust fund for special education.
The board also got a look at a new Hewlett-Packard Stream, a lightweight Windows-based PC which is similar to Chromebooks and may replace technology currently being used. Costing only $200, it supports Office 365 and has both a web cam and microphone built in.
The board also heard a presentation from Pleasant Street School Principal Dave Levesque and several students about the school's jobs program, which gives students 16 opportunities to participate in a variety of helpful activities such as library assistant and safety patrol, and its Friday Festivities program, which offers variety of learning opportunities from sign language to yoga and Spanish.
Another presentation on the Laconia Middle School's Academic Excellence program was given by teacher Joe Sampson,who said that about 25 students are involved and has resulted in improved academic and behavioral performance by those taking part.

28-acre paintball-gun park at Weirs gains approval of Planning Board

LACONIA — The Planning Board this week unanimously approved development of a paintball-gun recreation park on a 23-acre tract on Endicott Street North (Rte. 3 North) at The Weirs.

The parcel is a flag lot, this is, a rectangle with a panhandle with some 60 feet of frontage on the highway. Tom Selling, who engineered the project, told the board that less than three acres of wooded property would be disturbed. A paved driveway will lead to two trailers — one eight feet by eight feet by twenty feet for storage space and the other eight feet by eight feet by twelve feet for an office — portable toilets, dumpsters and a parking area with spaces for 42 vehicles. The trailers, dumpsters, toilets and parking would be located at the panhandle near the entrance to the property and screened from the road.
The Planning Board specified that the trailers and toilets be placed on gravel aprons and properly maintained and, should the park close, that the site be restored to its original condition.
Selling explained that a one-foot culvert beneath the driveway connecting a wetland and vernal pool, would be lined with three inches of river stones to facilitate the passage of salamanders and other creatures. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is expected to issue a wetland permit for the site. In addition Selling said that bio-detention pond — 100 feet long, eight feet wide and six to eight inches deep — would prove a secondary breeding ground for the salamanders.
Earlier the Conservation Commission, after weighing the environmental aspects of the project, endorsed the plan.
Two or three playing fields, all at least 125 feet from abutting properties, will be delineated in the remainder of the lot. Marty Jacobs, who owns and operates two paintball parks in Massachusetts and is assisting Edward Elfar with the project, said the fields would be demarcated with ropes and ribbons. Each field is designed to accommodate a maximum of 20 players as paintball competition generally engages teams of between three and 10 members.
In response to questions about the impact on neighboring properties, Jacobs said that given the wooded landscape there was no risk of paintball shots straying beyond the bounds of the park. Likewise, he assured the board that the paint dissolves quickly and poses no threat to the environment.
Selling said that park is expected to open by July 4 "at the latest" and to operate seven days a week, strictly in daylight hours, throughout the summer. In the future, Jacobs anticipated the park would open on weekends in the early spring and fall as well as host players throughout the summer months. When the park is closed, the driveway will be gated.
Michael Foote, who owns the abutting property to the north, said that "this is a good attraction for the area" while noting that "it will change the quality of life for the critters out there."