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Yellow balloon no cause for celebration for some Gilford residents

GILFORD — A balloon was flying over the homes on David Lewis Road yesterday, but several property owners in the quiet, wooded neighborhood were not celebrating. Flown to mimic the height of a proposed cellular telephone antenna tower, the balloon did nothing to ease the concerns of property owners whose lots are 100 feet from the base of the tower.

New Cingular Wireless PCS, doing business as AT&T, and American Tower Corporation, LLC, the construction manager, have applied to erect the 100-foot monopole tower with 12 antennas on the southeast corner of a 48-acre tract owned by the Traditional Cathloics of New Hampshire, much of which consists of the Bolduc Farm managed by Armand and Ernice Bolduc.

"I'm going to fight this tooth and nail," said Kevin Lacasse, whose home at 38 David Lewis Road sits due east of the proposed site of the tower. Eying the balloon drifting above the tree line, he discounted the test since the breeze kept the balloon from reaching the true height of the tower. "It's right in my backyard," he remarked, "where I can look right at it from my hot tub."

The tower would also overshadow a vacant 5.27-acre parcel where Roger Baron plans to build a retirement home. Since the property is intersected by a brook and dotted with wetlands the buildable area is confined to less than two acres in the northwest corner of the lot nearest the proposed site of the tower. "We're not going to let this go," Baron said, asking "is the town going to protect the little guy?"
Although the tower would not be as close to the home of Charles and Winifred Hughes at 48 David Lewis Road, the slope of the land would make it very visible from much of their property. Moreover, to reach the tower a 12-foot wide road would be built within a 50-foot right-of-way from David Lewis Road adjacent to their property line. The Hugheses could not be reached, but Lacasse said they share his misgivings about the tower.
Armand Bolduc said that the tower would be shielded from neighboring by trees, noting that if the trees were in leaf the balloon would be less visible. Furthermore, he said that tower will be disguised to mimic a tree.
Peter and Jane Ellis, who recently closed their vineyard and wine shop on David Lewis Road, said that they canvassed the nine homeowners on David Lewis Road and found three, including Lacasse and the Hugheses, who are opposed to the tower and six who are either in favor or disinterested.
Both Baron and Lacasse said because the tract owned by the Traditional Catholics stretches over 148 acres, there is no need to place the tower so close to neighboring properties. "They want to put it where it least affects their land and affects everybody else," said Baron, who said they should put in the parking lot of the church on Morrill Street. "No one would complain if they put in in the middle of their property," he said.
Baron said that he has spoken with an appraiser who told him that the proximity of the tower would reduce the value of his property. But, but because he could find no cases of towers being sited so close to residences, there was not sufficient data to quantify the impact. Like Baron, Lacasse believes the tower will diminish the value of the nearby properties, including his own, but has yet to receive a formal appraisal.
The Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold a public hearing on the project, which requires a special exception, on December 16. To qualify for a special exception a project must comply with six requirements, among them that it is "not detrimental, injurious or offensive to the neighborhood."


CAPTION: The yellow balloon, tethered by 100 feet of string, floated over 48 David Lewis Road yesterday to simulate the height of a cellular telephone antenna tower that AT&T proposes to erect on a corner of the Bolduc Farm near two homes and a building lot, whose owners seek to forestall the project, which they believe will adversely impact their properties.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 November 2013 02:20

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Car wash burglarized

LACONIA — Police are investigating an overnight burglary at the Laconia Car Wash on upper Union Avenue that was reported to them yesterday morning.

Police said the burglar or burglars broke a window and a door into the office area of the car wash and stole an undisclosed amount of cash.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 November 2013 02:01

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'Everything destroyed' in Laconia garage fire

LACONIA — Fire Chief Ken Erickson said a free-standing garage off White Oaks Road that served as the owner's workshop was destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon.

He said it appears the homeowner had been doing some welding or grinding in his workshop and left to go to a local hardware store around 3 p.m.

Erickson said the garage was fully engulfed in flames and a neighbor called to report the fire. He said Asst. Chief Kirk Beattie could see the plume of smoke from Messer Street and called for a first alarm — bringing help from Gilford to the scene and from Belmont to the city for coverage.

"Everything was destroyed," said Erickson, adding that the homeowner lost a number of tools, an acetylene torch, a grinder and other similar tools.

He said the garage was some distance from the main home and the fire was in no danger of spreading to nearby buildings. There were no injuries.

Erickson said yesterday was a very hectic day for Laconia and noted that Belmont Firefighters covered two separate calls while Laconia was on White Oaks Road, including a cardiac arrest and a car accident in the parking lot of the Laconia Public Library.

He said one was evaluated in the wake of the car accident.


CAPTION – Belmont Firefighters covering the city during a first alarm fire on White Oaks Road and Laconia Police respond to the Laconia Library yesterday afternoon at 4 p.m. for a two-car rear-end type accident. No serious injuries were reported. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 22 November 2013 01:22

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Boys & Girls Club begins drive to raise $2.4 million

LACONIA — The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region kicked off a $2.4 million capital fund drive at its new facility, the former St. James Episcopal Church on North Main Street, Thursday at noon and received a major donation of $100,000 from the Bank of New Hampshire.
Mark Primeau, president and CEO of the bank which was for years known as Laconia Savings Bank, said ''this is our home and we want to make sure we help support the organizations which make a difference in the community.''
Primeau noted that the club had suffered through hard times in recent years, having had four homes since it was started in 1999, but had persevered and found an ideal new setting. He said the most recent contribution raised the bank's total contributions to the club to $250,000.
Primeau said that the church is "an ideal location" for the club, just a stone's throw from Laconia Middle School and across the street from Opechee Park, with its beach, track and playing fields.
Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the club's board of directors, said ''we're home at last'' and that the club is excited about the programs it is able to offer in its new location.
In March, the Vestry of the church accepted the club's offer to purchase the land and buildings for a reported price of $700,000. The property provides 17,000-square-feet of space between the ground floor and half-basement and sits on a 1.3-acre lot.
The new facility includes eight program rooms, which will provide space for academic support, art, small group activity, and computers, a 5,000-square-foot great room for indoor recreation, drama, dance, music, and social opportunities, a modern institutional kitchen for nutrition programs, cooking lessons, independent living skill building, and many meals as well as a spacious community room which house a Kids Cafe and Game Room, as well as being a community resource.
Cheryl Avery, executive director, said that the club will be expanding hours for high school students after the first of the year.
Al Posnack, past president of the club, is chairing the fund drive, which he said has already raised nearly a third of its $2.4 million goal, said that the fund drive is receiving a lot of support from the community because people see the good things that the club is doing.
He said that there are three parts of the fund drive, $700,000 for the purchase of the church property, $700,000 for renovations to the property and $1 million for an endowment fund.
The club was recently awarded a $250,000 grant by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, which will be applied toward the acquisition of the building.



Mark Primeau, president and CEO of the Bank of New Hampshire, presents a symbolic check for $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region at the kickoff of its $2.4 million capital fund drive on Thursday. Applauding are Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the club's board of directors, and Cheryl Avery, executive director of the club. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Children who are involved in programs at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region look on as a sign for the club's fundraising campaign is unveiled in front of the club's new building on North Main Street in Laconia. At art work depicts a ground pushing a large boulder up a hill toward a fundraising goal of $2.4 million. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:12

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