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Planning Board puts brakes on plan to fast-track acceptance of new city streets but 1 moves forward

LACONIA — Although the Planning Board has reservations about a proposal to accelerate the acceptance of new city streets, it nevertheless recommended early acceptance of Linny Lane and this week the City Council agreed to schedule a public hearing on the recommendation on Dec. 22.

Until a roadway, — built to serve a 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 it must be constructed to municipal standards.

Luke Powell, assistant director of public works, said that current practice, as prescribed by the subdivision regulations, is to require a "performance observation period" of one year after the base pavement is laid before a newly built street can be accepted as a city street. He explained that during the year the street undergoes a complete cycle of freezing and thawing, which reveals any deficiencies before it is accepted. At the same time, he said that approximately half the house lots must be developed and occupied prior to acceptance in order to provide a tax base to support the extension of municipal services.

In November, the City Council asked the Planning Board to consider a plan to foreshorten the acceptance process. To qualify for early acceptance a developer would have to satisfy nearly a dozen criteria, most of which are already required, but could forego the "performance observation period" of one year.

The early acceptance proposal is intended to enhance the marketability of property by enabling its developer to assure prospective purchasers that they will be living on a city street and entitled to municipal services.

Warren Hutchins, chairman of the Planning Board, agreed with the intent of the proposal, but said that the board has some reservations. He pointed out that the process begins with the Department of Public Works (DPW), which determines that streets are constructed to the specified standards, then proceeds to the Planning Board, where, if circumstances warrant, requirements may be waived and early acceptance granted. Finally, the Planning Board presents a recommendation to the City Council, which is vested with the final authority to accept a street.

Hutchins said that the major concerns of the board are unease about enabling a developer to forego an entire cycle of freezing and thawing and questions about the appropriate number of developed lots to be required for acceptance. "We need to figure all this stuff out," he said, adding that the board was collecting information from other municipalities as well as from the DPW.

Meanwhile, the Planning Board waived the "performance observation period" for Kevin Morrissette, the developer of the subdivision along Linny Lane, near the Laconia County Club, and recommended the council accept the street. Hutchins said that the board acted on the recommendation of the DPW.

Powell said that Morrissette first intended to lay the base pavement a year ago, in November 2013, but on the advice of DPW agreed to avoid the risk of unfavorable conditions and do the work this year. The street was paved in July and in August Morrissette applied for acceptance. Powell said that the materials and paving were carefully inspected and the department recommended the waiver. "It is not a long street," Powell noted. "Just 1,000 or 800 feet."

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 December 2014 01:47

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Meredith will have chance to comment on roundabout plans on Monday

MEREDITH — The Route 3/Route 25 Advisory Commitee will present its recommendation for improving the flow of traffic through the center of the village to the Board of Selectmen when it meets at the Community Center on Monday, December 15, beginning at 4:15 p.m.

The committee proposes replacing the traffic signal at the junction of Routes 3 and 25 with a single lane roundabout and constructing two other single lane roundabout, one at Lake Street and another at Pleasant Street. The roundabout at the 3/25intersection will have two right turn lanes to carry northbound traffic from Rte. 3 eastbound on Rte. 25. Traffic islands on Rte. 3 would forestall left turns in and out of Dover Street and on Rte. 25 would forestall left turns in or out of Meredith Village Savings Bank and the Hannaford shopping center.

The committee describes the plan as an "improvement," not a solution, to the congestion during the summer months. Northbound traffic on Rte. 3 going eastward on Rte. 25 is projected to become less congested while westbound traffic on Rte. 25 turning south on to Rte. 3 is expected to flow more continuously without the traffic signal. Although a two lane roundabout at the intersection of Rte. 3 and Rte. 25 would do more to reduce congestion, the committee concluded that the benefit did not outweigh the adverse impacts to abutting properties and obstruct the flow of crosstown traffic from Main Street to Rte. 25.

Each of the roundabouts will have crosswalks designed to enable pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic at a time. There will also be a crosswalk at Dover Street where a center island on Rte. 3 will enable pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic at a time. The crosswalks are not expected to significantly slow the flow of traffic on Rte. 3.

The roundabout at Lake Street will enable northbound traffic on Rte. 3 to turn on to Lake Lake Street and traffic on Lake Street to turn either southbound or northbound on to Rte. 3. The roundabout at Pleasant Street will include a driveway leading to the parking lots of both Meredith Village Savings Bank and the shopping center, enabling traffic on Rte. 25 to enter and exit without making left turns.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation estimates the project to cost $5 million, excluding the expense of acquiring land. The entire cost will be born by the DOT, with no contribution from the town. The DOT hopes to design and engineer the project as well as acquire any necessary property in 2015 and complete construction in 2017 or 2018.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 December 2014 01:41

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Woman said pushed from moving car

CIRCUIT COURT — A Mechanic Street man was ordered held on $200 cash and $20,000 personal recognizance bail for allegedly pushing his girlfriend out of a moving car last Sunday.

Thomas Coelho, 35, is charged with one felony count of reckless conduct, one misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment, and one misdemeanor count of simple assault.

According to Laconia Police affidavits, at 7:15 p.m. on December 8, Coelho and his girlfriend had gotten into an verbal argument so she left their home and went to Sanborn Park to hide from him.

She told police he found her and because he had their two children in the back seat of his SUV she got in the truck with him.

Once inside, he allegedly said "I've got you now, you're not going anywhere."
The victim said she told Coelho she wanted to leave him.

She said he hit the unlock button on the car doors but when she tried to climb into the back seat he physically stopped her. She told police he opened her door and pushed her out of the SUV somewhere in the area of Mechanic and Manchester Street.

The woman called a female friend and stayed with her for the evening. She said she returned to their apartment at 8 a.m. on Monday to retrieve her things but Coelho scared her to the point where she got into his SUV. She said the two children were in the back.

Coelho said she surreptitiously called 911 and left her phone off the hook in the hopes police would find her. The couple then went to Elm Street School to drop of their children and Coelho brought them into school.

She said she called 911 and stayed in the SUV until they returned home. She said Coelho parked his SUV behind her Chrysler, blocking its exit, so she locked herself in her own car until police arrived. No arrest was made at that time.
On December 10, at 3:45 p.m. the alleged victim's friend filed a written statement regarding the events of December 8 and said when she went to pick up her friend, one of the children told her that "mommy got thrown out of the car."

The friend told police that the alleged victim was bruised and had a bloody elbow on December 8.

With the new information, police went to Coehlo's house and arrested him.

Coelho was arraigned Thursday morning in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Divsion. In his bail order, Judge Jim Carroll learned that the alleged victim and the two children would be staying in a different community so he ordered that Coelho, should he post bail, not have contact with her unless it was by telephone and it was regarding the children.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 December 2014 01:33

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Hosptial Auxiliary hosts annual Tree of Love service

LACONIA — The Lakes Region General Hospital Auxiliary's annual Tree of Love Service of Remembrance was held at the hospital Thursday afternoon.
The event was held at the Tree of Love, which was set up near the hospital's gift shop and the tree was adorned with angels crafted by local school children to honor and remember living and lost family and friends.
During a brief ceremony, which opened and ended with prayers delivered by Rev. Michael Graham of the Gilford Community Church, members of the auxiliary read the names of the 321 people who were represented by the angels on the tree.
Scott Clarenbach, chairman of the board of trustees of LRGHealthcare, said that the annual ceremony is ''a great holiday tradition which is very beneficial'' and is a true reflection of the auxiliary's ''care, compassion and community.''
Following the reading of the names, the auxiliary provided light refreshments and punch to those who attended, many of whom were relatives of those whom were being remembered.

Rev. Michael Graham of the Gilford Community Church speaks at the annual Lakes Region General Hospital Auxiliary's annual Tree of Service of Remembrance held at the hospital Thursday. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 12 December 2014 01:45

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