Penguin gas station receives approvals from Belmont planning and zoning boards

BELMONT — The Zoning Board of Adjustments granted Belmont Penguin Real Estate Holdings, LLC a variance to to build a gas pump canopy closer to the front property line on Route 106 than the 50-feet allowed by existing zoning ordinances.

Penguin engineer Matthew Moore told a 4-member ZBA that the company wants to move the canopy closer to the road to improve the turning radius and to provide fire trucks better access and maneuverability to reduce the risk they will collide with the canopy.

He said the entrance will remain one-way as will the exit to the south of the former D & D County Market and Deli.

In a meeting held earlier in August, the Planning Board approved a site plan that would relocate the diesel fuel pumps, pave and reconfigure the parking area, add fuel pumps, remove the propane filling tank, add a retaining wall, add a drive-through canopy and enlarge a walk-in cooler.

The reconfiguration of the parking lot and the addition of a 4-foot chain-link fence is necessary because Penguin was unable to come to financial terms with abutter George Condodemetraky about renting land previously used by D & D Market for parking and snow removal.

Minutes of the August 24 Planning Board meeting reflect the Condodemetrakys had numerous concerns with the latest site plan including storm-water runoff, the number of parking spaces and doubling the number of gas pumps.

Town Planner Candace Daigle said engineers designed the storm-water runoff and it has always worked in the past. She said there were no new gas tanks being added so the pumping capacity has not changed and the Planning Board can adjust the number of parking spaces, which actually increased from 20 to 21 without using the six spaces along the berm that separates Route 106 from the property. Daigle added that parking spaces are within the purview of the Planning Board and can be adjusted by them during the site plan review.

Site plan conditions include obtaining all DOT permits, swapping the location of the dumpster, adding one parking space, adding a 4-foot chain link fence along the property line, filling the opening of the of the existing guardrail on the southern border, striping the "no parking loading zone" south of the new fuel island, eliminating the six spaces along the Route 106 berm, and adding gas pumps that take credit and debit cards to reduce foot traffic to the store.

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32 years of public service - Pattison served critical role for State House, Laconia parks

LACONIA — The state and the city will soon bid farewell to a an exemplary public servant with the retirement of Jeff Pattison after 32 years with Office of the Legislative Budget Assistant (LBA) at the State House, the last six of them at its helm, and 14 years as a member of the Laconia Parks and Recreation Commission, a decade of them as its chairman.

Pattison and his wife Judy, who have lived in Laconia since 1977, intend to move to San Diego, California, where his brother has lived for some time and close to both their sons, A.J. and Tyler.

"Jeff has been a big asset to the community," said Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, "and we're going to miss him." During Pattison's tenure the Robbie Mills Sports Complex, where he donated the dugouts on the baseball diamond in memory of his father, came to fruition. Pattison contributed to bringing the New England Collegiate Baseball League to Laconia and served as a director of the Laconia Muskrats. A number of city parks and playing fields were renovated and improved under his direction. Dunleavy recalled that Pattison would come to commission meetings at 7 p.m., still dressed for work, and return to the State House when the meeting adjourned. "Jeff brought a lot to the table and there was lots of change on his watch," Dunleavy remarked.

Pattison joined the LBA in 1983 after working for seven years at Pike Industries, and in 2009, after serving with three of his four predecessors, became the fifth Legislative Budget Assistant since the position was established in 1947. The LBA consists of two divisions, the budget division, which provides technical assistance to the Legislature on all fiscal issues, and the audit division, which conducts financial, compliance and performance audits of state departments, agencies, commissions and programs.

A non-partisan office, the LBA works for the House and the Senate, the Republicans and the Democrats, the majority and the minority as well as with the many departments, agencies, boards and commissions throughout state government. "We work for them all," Pattison said, "and we walk a fine line." The position is a demanding one, particularly every other year when the Legislature prepares the biennial budget. The LBA staff often works late into the evening — even into the next morning — Pattison routinely went to his office on Sundays.

Recalling that he first stepped into the State House the day he began work 32 years ago, Pattison said "it's been my second home ever since.'" When he began he worked without a computer, only IBM Selectric typewriters and Monroe calculators. "That was our automation," he said.

Pattison said that in three decades there has been significant turnover in the office, but took pride that more than 20 former employees of the LBA are at work in other state agencies today. The experience, he said, "is all about the people I've dealt with. I would say thousands when you think about it over 32 years."

Senator Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who has worked closely with Pattison as both Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and President of the Senate, described him as "truly one of the people who really cares about New Hampshire." Stressing his professionalism, he said that "Jeff served both the Senate and the House, Republicans as well as Democrats and treated all of us just the same. " He noted that "he can take a complicated subject and make it work for every member of our legislature. Everybody agrees," he continued, "the level of integrity of the LBA is top notch."

Representative Neal Kurk (R-Weare), whose career on the House Finance Committee, paralleled Pattison's at the LBA prized his "unflappability" and described him as "evenhanded" and "exceptionally competent."

Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Conocrd), one of only two Democrats to chair the House Finance Committee in the last century, called Pattison "a great teacher," who tutored lawmakers not only about the budget but also about leadership.

Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith), who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, also underlined Pattison's professional approach to his responsibilities. "He could navigate the waters of politics," she said, adding that "anybody can swim about in calm waters, but its the stormy seas that take an exceptional person."

Matt Lahey recalled that he and his wife Chris went to dinner with the Pattisons virtually every Saturday night for years. Pattison's sons were contemporaries, classmates and friends of the Lahey children. "Jeff really took that job very seriously," Lahey said, "but, he was a great father who was always involved with the boys, helping with their academics and coaching their sports. This city will miss them."

"It's really been a great run," Pattison said, characteristically adding that he was confident he was leaving the LBA in position to serve the Legislature in the manner to which it has become accustomed.

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Hay Crop Down, May Lead to price increase (563 w/cut slugged hay)

GILFORD — Jeff Keyser of Ramblin' Vewe Farm on Morrill Street, says that this year's hay crop will be about 16 percent less than last year's and says that an extended dry spell in May is the chief culprit.
''It was too dry in May and nothing grew. My first crop was 4,300 bales, which was 700 less than we did last year.''
He says that he hasn't been taking on new customers and that his hay is selling for $5 a bale, a price which he may increase once the second crop is completed.
Keyser expects to harvest about 2,200 bales from his second crop, which would bring his total for the year to 6,500 bales, compared to 7,800 last year
As of Friday he had managed to bring in about 1,500 bales from his second crop and only had six of his 40 aces left to harvest.
Keyser says that the optimum time for making hay is mid to late June, when the grasses are at their nutritional peak and have lots of green leaves. After that time the stalks become more dense and woody, introducing a ''crunch'' factor that makes the hay less appetizing as well as less nutritious.
''The first crop should be the best if you get it early enough but the second crop is usually a little higher in protein,'' says Keyser.
He says that 40 acres of hay are cut twice annually at the farm, producing approximately 7,500 bales of hay, 2,000 of which are consumed on the farm. The balance is sold to neighboring farms.
Howard Pearl hays some 120 acres on Loudon Ridge Road and said that the dry summer has shrunk yields. "There are definitely lower quantities per acre," he remarked. "I'm selling hay as fast as I can make it." Pearl first cut hay in early June then cut again in early August and is now preparing for a third cut later this month. He planned to store the yield from the last cut in the barn for delivery to his customers during the course of the winter. While supply may be short of yields in prior years, Pearl said that he has not adjusted his price of $5.50 for a dry square bale, which matches what he charged a year ago.
Dennis Schaefer, who raises goats on a small farm in Loudon, said that the lone alternative to local hayfields is hay, usually imported from Canada, sold by large feed stores like Agway and Blue Seal, where the price may be double or more that of local farmers.
Ramblin' Vewe farm has been in operation since 1987 and maintains a flock of registered purebred Suffolk and Targhee sheep, selected to meet the standards of their respective breeds as well as to produce high quality meat, wool and breeding stock replacements for the local and New England market.
Keyser's wife, Joyce, operates the Shepherd's Hut Market at the farm, which sells wool roving, needle felting supplies, as well as freezer lamb, maple products including syrup and maple sugar, organic honey, and vegetables in the summer. Joyce spins and sell her hand spun yarn as well.

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