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Lot merger to be undone on Bear Island

MEREDITH — Pursuant to a statute enacted by the Legislature in 2010 at the urging of Barbara Aichinger of Governor's Island, the Board of Selectmen has fielded its first request to restore lots that were involuntarily merged in 1979.

The lot in question is a 6.3 acre parcel on the east side of Bear Island. Originally the property consisted of four lots, each with at least 100 feet of frontage on Lake Winnipesaukee, as part of a subdivision belonging to Bear Land Forest and Wildlife Preserve, Inc. that was approved by the Planning Board in January 1974. In April, Paul and Barbara Ylvisaker acquired the four lots, where they built a three-bedroom home in 1976. In 1985 the property was conveyed to Paul Ylvisaker, Trustee of the Bear Island Nominee Trustee.

In 1979, the town merged the four lots into one, following a policy that prescribed when two or more lots with the same owner and are contiguous, and one or more is nonconforming as to size, dimension or frontage, all contiguous, nonconforming lots would be merged with contiguous lots until they became conforming. At the time, the policy was commonplace throughout the state.

Aichinger challenged the practice after constructing two homes on what she believed were two lots only to discover that the town of Gilford had merged them into one without the knowledge or consent of the owner.

The statute (RSA 674:39aa) stipulates that lots involuntarily merged prior to August 18, 2010 shall be restored at the request of the owner so long as the request is submitted before December 31, 2016 and no owner of the property has acted as if the lots were merged.

Last month, Mark Ylvisaker, on behalf of the Bear Island Nominee Trust, requested that the lots be restored, understanding that doing so will likely effect the assessed value and property taxes of the lots.

The request was referred to John Edgar, director of Community of Development.

Ylvisaker submitted a sketch of the property indicating that that house and cabin had been built straddling the shared line between two lots, numbered 13 and 14 on the subdivision plan and a septic tank and field were located on lot 14. Consequently, Edgar deemed lots 13 and 14 to have been voluntarily merged and recommended that only the remaining two lots, numbered 15 and 16 be restored. The effect would be to create one lot of approximately three acres, with about 210 feet of frontage on the lake, and two lots of about 1.5 acres, one with some 140 feet of frontage and another with about 115 feet of frontage.

The Selectboard is expected to act on the recommendation at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

Jim Commerford, the town's assessor, said that records indicate that approximately 150 lots were involuntarily merged.

Edgar noted that while many of the mergers combined waterfront lots, there is little likelihood of a significant number of similar requests to restore merged lots since most of these properties have been developed. "There is little vacant shorefront property," he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 02:16

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Careless disposal of smoking material causes 1st alarm fire in Belmont

BELMONT — Firefighters extinguished a first-alarm fire last night at an apartment building at 40 Concord Street. No injuries resulted from the fire.

Belmont fire officials said the fire was reported at about 6 p.m. on Monday night. The blaze appeared to be caused by careless disposal of smoking materials on a porch for a second-floor apartment. A 10 year-old boy was home alone in the apartment when the fire broke out on the porch, however, an alert neighbor helped the child evacuate the building.

The fire caused significant damage to the porch, while the interior of the second-floor apartment sustained smoke and water damage.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Local man to serve 2 to 4 years for burglarizing occupied home

LACONIA — A Fair Street man was sentence to serve one to two years in the New Hampshire State Prison for entering an occupied home on Pine Street in October of 2013.

Alan Johnstone, 24, was also sentenced to serve one to two years for violating probation for committing the October 2013 burglary while he was on probation for a different burglary that occurred in February of 2012.

This period of incarceration is in addition to an additional 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections for attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools in March of 2012.

Johnstone was accused of breaking into what he thought was an empty Pine Street home only to find the son of the owners was staying there while he recovered from day surgery.

The son, who is a police officer but not in Laconia, knew Johnstone from high school and escorted him from the house. He called the Laconia Police.

When the victim asked why he was in his parents' house, Johnstone said he had heard that he had had surgery and was checking in on him.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 01:24

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Leonard to seek Democratic nomination for N.H. Senate Dist. 6

NEW DURHAM — Rich Leonard, a pharmacist and farmer, announced yesterday that he will again seek the Democratic nomination for the New Hampshire Senate in District 6, consisting of Rochester and the towns of Alton, Barnstead, Farmington Gilmanton and New Durham.

In his first foray into electoral politics in 2012, Leonard lost the seat to Republican Sam Cataldo of Farmington by 637 votes, 12,764 to 12,127. Leonard carried five wards in Rochester, losing the sixth by 32 votes, but was beaten in all of the five towns, including a drubbing by 793 votes in Alton that decided the outcome of the election.

In a prepared statement, Leonard said, "It's time families and businesses in the Senate District 6 had a State Senator who shares their values and will work hard to represent them in a civil and bi-partisan manner," a thinly veiled references to Cataldo's affinity for the Tea Party.

Describing himself as a lifelong Democrat, Leonard presents himself as a strong supporter of public education from kindergarten to the university, including the community colleges working partnership with businesses to develop a skilled workforce. He also backs the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid to the uninsured in New Hampshire.

The pharmacy manager at Hannaford's store in Alton, Leonard also owns Miller Farm with its orchard of 380 apple and peach trees and sugar shack. He is a member of the Public Health Advisory Council-Executive Committee and University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service in Strafford County. Raised in Hanover, Mass., he lived in Rochester for 26 years before moving to New Durham in 2004.

Duane Kimball, who chairs the Strafford County Democratic Committee and manages Leonard's campaign, said yesterday that despite starting late in his first campaign, Leonard ran well in 2012 and with more preparation and an early start fares to be a stronger candidate in 2014.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 01:32

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