Task force wants most of Weirs Blvd. changed to residential zone

LACONIA — The city's Zoning Task Force has proposed that zoning along Weirs Boulevard, which is currently zoned for its entire length as a commercial resort area, be changed to shorefront residential from the Naswa Resort resort south to the intersection with White Oaks Road.

The task force will present the proposed change to the Planning Board in March, according to task force Chairperson Suzanne Perley, who said that once the board holds a public hearing on the proposal it will provide the kind of input needed to fine tune zoning changes, which will ultimately have to have City Council approval.
The commercial resort district begins on Lake Street, just south of its junction with White Oaks Road, extends northward along Weirs Boulevard, includes the center of The Weirs and runs either side of Route 3 to the Meredith town line. It also includes property along both sides of Rte. 11-B, including the former Surf Coaster property, which would remain zoned as commercial resort according to a map prepared by Planning Director Shanna Saunders.
The zoning ordinance describes the district as intended to accommodate dining, lodging and recreation entities for both occasional tourists and seasonal residents as well as apartments and condominiums.
Last fall, the City council asked the Planning Board to review the table of uses permitted in the commercial resort zone, and to consider whether all of the land currently included in that zone should remain so.
The council's request was made in the aftermath of decisions by the city's Zoning Board of Adjustment to deny special exceptions to John Ganong of 355 Weirs Boulevard, and Charles Gulbicki of Gulbicki's Towing and Auto Repair at 1193 Weirs Boulevard, both of whom sought to sell used vehicles on their property. "Vehicle dealership, sales and service" is only permitted in the commercial district by special exception. Earlier the ZBA granted a special exception to Benson's Auto Inc. of Franklin to sell vehicles from a lot near the corner of Rollercoaster Road and Route 3 in the same zoning district.

A number of Weirs Beach business owners told City Council last year they didn't want to see cars being sold anywhere in the area.

The proposed change of most of Weirs Blvd. from commercial resort to shorefront residential would prohibit vehicle dealership, sales and service in, which would include Ganong's property, but not Gulbicki's.
Members of the task force spent more than an hour Thursday morning attempting to define the limits of the proposed SFR district and whether or not it should start at the Weirs traffic circle or further south before settling on the Naswa property as the demarcation line.
Planing Board Chairman Warren Hutchins, who has noted that the boulevard has become largely residential due to the transition from cottage colonies to condominiums, said that the change was part of a concerted effort for residents of the area as well as to protect the shorefront strip along the water.
Board members discussed the fate of the Christmas Island Steakhouse, which has been closed for several months, but agreed that they couldn't do ''spot zoning'' to preserve options for the restaurant.
It was noted that all existing businesses in the CFR zone would have their uses grandfathered under the proposed change.
The task force is also considering changes in permitted uses in the commercial resort district which would include require nightclubs and dance halls, currently permitted, to requiring special exemptions. Indoor storage, self-service also currently permitted, would be prohibited while car-wash, detailing, currently permitted, would only be allowed by special exception.

A 296-unit self-storage units project on a 6.8-acre parcel fronting Endicott Street North (Rte. 3) is before the Planning Board for approval at this time.

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.