By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — A gash in the woodline on Old Lakeshore Road made by the owner of Gilford Self Storage has some of his neighbors up in arms about the future of the lot.
The “whole character is altered by the huge empty gash,” said Melinda Howe, who owns a home on Gunstock Hill Road that is across the road from the new opening.
“We thought there would be a buffer between our agricultural land and this lot,” she said.
She and her brother-in-law, Andrew Howe, both said that with the tree buffer gone there is increased noise from Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, from the Airport Country Store and Deli, and from the Laconia Airport.
“The impact is not substantial site-wise,” said Andrew Howe. “The significant impact to us is noise,” saying he can hear people talking at the store.
Other neighbors on the same side of Old Lakeshore Road also expressed shock and disappointment at the clearcut along the road. Describing it as a “big hole on one side,” Scott Sasserson said there is more debris blowing onto his property now that the vegetation is gone.
Howe, who is involved in his own noise dispute with his neighbors on upper Gunstock Hill Road, said the change was “sudden and dramatic,” and that while the owner had every right to cut the trees, he should plant a buffer along the property line as is required by state statute.
Owner Richard Letendre said he logged that particular section of his property in part so he could determine whether or not the land was properly classified as prime agriculture land, which would determine his long-range plans for the upper portion of his land.
For now, all Letendre wants to do is to expand his storage capacity by building one of two 11,160-square-foot climate-controlled storage buildings. He said the first will be built as soon as the site plan is approved by the Planning Board while the second would be built some time in the future. There will be no access from Old Lakeshore Road.
During the department heads meeting held last week and Monday’s Planning Board meeting, there was some talk about subdividing the upper portion from the lower and possibly building some housing.
The 16-acre lot in question is in the resort commercial zone, with a smaller abutting property at 10 Gilford East Drive in the commercial zone. The portion that lies along Old Lake Shore Road in the resort commercial zone.
With the planning board’s determination that the land is too rocky to be considered “prime agricultural land,” Letendre could conceivably subdivide his lot and dedicate the upper portion to residential use, which is allowed in the resort commercial zone.
The site plan hearing was tabled until Aug. 15 so Letendre can bring in his plans for a buffer along Old Lake Shore Road.
It's a new view for those traveling along Old Lakeshore Road as Gilford Self Storage prepare to expand in the area below. The Laconia Airport can be seen in the distance. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)
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