Survey finds support for more of the 'right' kind of commercial development in Sanbornton

SANBORNTON — A recent effort to get opinions from townspeople about economic development activity indicates significant support for more commercial development, the Planning Board is reporting.

In a statement released Thursday, the board said a questionnaire handed out to local voters at this past March's Town Meeting showed, "Sanbornton residents favor allowing more commercial development in town, on a selective basis, which is compatible with Sanbornton's small-town rural character."

Bob Ward, Sanbornton town planner and zoning administrator, said that 92 residents responded to the so-called Community Development Survey, too few for the results to be considered a statistically accurate measure of public opinion.

Those who responded supported commercial development by a 4-to-1 margin "as long as local land-use controls were effectively applied, as long as the commercial development was rural in character and as long as the appropriate location was proposed." They felt commercial development, including light industry, would help the town's property tax base. However, the respondents were strongly opposed to allowing heavy industry or big-box shopping centers in town.

Ward said the latest questionnaire showed a significant shift in opinion compared to 2008 when a mail survey was conducted. At that time survey results showed townspeople were basically neutral toward the idea of having light industry in town. On a 5-point scale, with 5.0 being the highest favorability score, light industry received a score of 2.92.

"At that time the economy was still pretty strong, and property values were still rising," said Ward. "Many are now worried, and that changes economic perspectives. What really stands out now there is a strong preference for light industry that wasn't there in 2008."

The only type of commercial development that received stronger support in the latest poll was resorts, Ward noted.

The board is planning to hold a public information session to discuss economic development sometime in June. At that time the board also plans to give detailed and tabulated results from the questionnaire. The board is expected to set a date for that information session when it meets next Thursday, Ward said.

Ward said town officials are putting economic development on a "fast track".

He said that selectmen have appointed an economic development advisory council. He said the hope is the 17-member group will come up with short- and medium-term proposals for economic development along with recommendations for funding.

Ward noted that another focus of the questionnaire — senior housing — showed strong support for development of senior housing for older Sanbornton residents, again as long as those developments were small scale and appropriately located.

But Ward noted making progress in the area of economic development was stronger priority than senior housing at this time.

"Towns can do a lot to encourage economic development," Ward explained. "But as far as senior housing is concerned that is not in the authority of small towns (to carry out). You won't see the town taking direct action to create senior housing. But towns like Sanbornton can take action to create and promote a good business climate." 

The questionnaire also showed significant support for other types of businesses such as hospitality-type businesses such as resorts, country inns, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and retail shops.

Many also said the town should encourage agriculture and agriculturally-based businesses. Likewise, forestry and wood products-based businesses were both broadly supported.

The detailed, tabulated results of the questionnaire will be reviewed and distributed at a June public information meeting and will be available in hard copy form at the town office following the public information meeting.

Rain expected to boost salmon fishing on second day of 33rd Annual Winni Derby

LACONIA — Fishing was slow on the opening day of the 33rd annual Winni Derby but is expected to pick up today with an overcast sky and rain predicted.
That's the opinion of veteran derby watcher Don Miller. New Hampshire Fish and Game Department fisheries biologist who is helping man the weigh-in station at Weirs Beach for the 30th straight year.
''There was hardly a ripple on the (Lake Winnipesaukee) water this morning but the wind is shifting slightly to the south. The breeze should put a little chop on the water and with the rain coming it should be a really good day Saturday,'' said Miller.
The annual landlocked salmon fishing derby, hosted by the Laconia Rotary Club, runs through noon on Sunday and as many as 1,300 anglers are expected to take part according to Diane LaBrie, chairman of the derby.
Some $50,000 in prizes will be awarded in the derby, $12,000 to the fisherman who lands the largest salmon, $5,000 for the largest Lake Trout and $3,000 to the Junior Salmon division winner.
Among those taking part in the derby and the first woman to bring a salmon into the weigh station was Kelly Martin of Concord, who landed a 2.82 pound, 21 inch long fish near Black Cat Island in Meredith shortly after six Friday morning.
Martin, who won both the junior division and women's division prizes when she was 12 years old in 1989, was fishing with her mother, Marilyn Dennison, who said winning prizes in the derby is a family tradition.
She was fishing with her husband, Dave, when he won the grand prize in the derby in 1994. The whole family, including Dennison's other daughter, was fishing from the same boat on Friday and planned to be out on Winnipesaukee all weekend.
''We've been fishing in the derby since it started and wouldn't miss it for the world,'' says Marilyn.
Martin, who works at Bass Pro in Hooksett, says that one of most enjoyable parts of her job is fishing for different species to fill the fish aquarium at the Bass Pro store.
''We have all kinds of fish in there, walleye, stripers, yellow perch, pickerel and rainbow trout. We don't yet have a lake trout and before the weekend is over I hop to land one,'' says Martin, who has a special license which allows her to transport live fish.
Dave Silva of Concord, who was fishing with his buddies Ed Nedeau of Loudon and Bll Champney of Concord, landed a three and a half pound salmon and said he was hoping to get another over the weekend which will outweigh the 4.14 pounder which topped the leader board Friday afternoon.
''We''ve been fishing here for years. We've never won a prize but we always have a good time,'' says Silva.
Greg Maxwell of Laconia brought in a 2.32 pound, 20 inch salmon, and said that he was pleased to be able to weigh in a fish. ''It's the first time I've ever caught one which was long enough to enter,'' he said.
Prizes for winners will be presented Sunday afternoon at 1:30 at the Laconia Ice Arena.

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All kinds of boats, including a pontoon boat, are being used by anglers in the 33rd annual Winni Derby, which opened Friday on Lake Winnipesaukee. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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Kelly Martin of Concord landed a 2.82 pound, 21 inch long salmon shortly after six Friday morning on the opening day of the 33rd annual Winni Derby. She won the junior division and the women's championship in the derby in 1989. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Arrest related to 2014 burglary

LACONIA — Police arrested a local man for allegedly burglarizing a home at 103 Blueberry Lane in May of 2014.

After his Thursday appearance in 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division Joshua Pike of Oak Street was held on $100 cash bail and ordered to attend Recovery Court if bail was posted.

Affidavits obtained from the court said Pike allegedly entered the apartment through a front sliding-glass window.

The victim reported that jewelry, DVD's, her boyfriend's clothing and some cologne and perfume were missing.

Police found footprints in the mulch and some latent fingerprints on the outside of the sliding glass door.

When the victim was asked if she knew who could have burglarized her home, she allegedly told them Pike had stolen from her before.

Police verified from the primary renter that Pike was not allowed in the home.

Police sent the fingerprint to the state lab and asked that it be cross-checked against Pike's and in March of 2015 one of the prints came back as a positive match.

Police used the above information to apply for an arrest warrant.