GILFORD — There were five total warrant articles that proposed to address agritourism in general in Gilford yesterday and the two submitted by Timber Hill farm went down to a resounding defeat.
Article 4 was submitted by petition and asked voters to support an amendment that would amend the current definition of agriculture to include agritourism and to included it in all zones as agriculture is allowed in all zone. The Planning Board did not recommend this article and it failed by a wide margin of 218 for it to 1,173 against it.
Article 5 was also submitted by petition and generated by the family of Andrew and Martina Howe who sought to rezone all of their farm property of nearly 240 acres from Single Family Residential to Resort Commercial – a designation that allows them by right to conduct any agritourism events in the zone with only a traditional site plan review. The Planning Board did not recommend this article and if also failed by a wide margin of 1,016 to 171.
Article 7 was created by the Planning Board and sought to make any agritourism events subject to the town's nuisance laws. Howe and the Planning Board agreed with this and it passed by a vote of 1,145 to 228.
Article 8 was created by the Planning Board and it proposes to make agritourism allowable by special exception in all zones with the exception of the Island Residential Zone. The Planning Board recommended this warrant. It passed by a two-to-one margin of 900 voting in favor and 408 voting against it.
In addition to agritourism, a petitioned warrant article to allow the Gunstock Inn and Resort to switch from Single-Family Residential to Resort Commercial was passed by a vote of 1,012 to 353.
Warrant Article 3, also submitted by petition, sought to eliminate and churches from opening in the Limited Residential Zone which would made it consistent with the town's other three residential zones. This passed by a vote of 1,096 to 259.
On the school side, a warrant article supported 4-to-1 by the School Board sought to issue a $2.4 million bond to perform mechanical, HVAC, electrical and other upgrades to the elementary school passed by a vote of 940 to 439. It needed a three-fifths majority to pass, or 827 of the 1,374 votes cast.
The town budget of $12,015,382 was approved by a vote of 1,057 to 252.
Voters rejected the proposed School Board budget and will go forward in 2016-17 with a default budget of $25,688,824. The proposed budget was for $25,852,759.
Incumbent School Board member Jack Landow was not re-elected to office. Political newcomer Gretchen Gandini was the largest vote getter with 936 votes, while incumbent Chairman Karen Thurston retained her seat with 718 votes. Landow received 368 votes.
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