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Belmont to consider property upkeep ordinance for village

BELMONT — The town's Planning Department is a considering the adoption a property maintenance code for the immediate village area, said selectmen earlier this week.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said Monday that Town Planner Candace Daigle and the Code Enforcement Officer Steve Paquin had spoken to her about concerns with garbage piling up in front of some homes.

"I think it's worth pursuing," said Chair Ron Cormier, saying that the village district looks so nice now that Phase 1 of the Village District Revitalization Plan is completed.

Cormier suggested that if the town were to adopt a property maintenance code that he would recommend the town create an official overlay district and adopt an ordinance for that district only.

Selectmen Ruth Mooney said she is a little concerned about the code enforcement officer having to deal with property maintenance and said she didn't want to see something overly restrictive like regulating how high someone's grass can grow.

None of them suggested anything as draconian as that but all said they would be interested in something that would help keep the village looking as nice as it does now.

All selectmen agreed that since the first phase of the Village Revitalization Project has been completed that many people in the village area have made efforts to keep the outsides of their property nicer.

Daigle said Belmont has a designated Village District for zoning purposes but it encompasses more area than the area officials may regulate through an ordinance. She said should the Planning Board decide an ordinance is appropriate and needed, she would recommend creating an official overlay district called the Village-Factory District which is confined to the immediate village.

Daigle said yesterday that she spoke with Laconia City Planner Shanna Saunders, who said Laconia adopted the International Property and Maintenance Codes of 2006.

Saunders said yesterday that the city most often used the code as an enforcement tool for junk and debris that pile up in yards. She said the bulk of the violations in Laconia occur in absentee-owner properties.

Daigle said the Planning Board is scheduled to review all ordinances and suggestions at the meeting scheduled for November 4.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 October 2013 02:42

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Belmont High sophomores sign up for anti-bullying effort

BELMONT — Belmont High School sophomores, many wearing orange to show their support for anti-bullying efforts, took a little time between classes Friday morning to sign an anti-bullying pledge on a wall near the school office which read ''The End of Bullying Begins Here.''
High School health teacher Laura Lavalle said that anti-bullying efforts are featured in her wellness class and that the orange sign was put up as part of national Anti-Bullying Month efforts.
''We're trying to get kids to think about how to deal with bullying and placing a special emphasis on cyber-bullying this year,'' said Lavalle, who added the national slogan for anti-bullying efforts is ''Make it Orange and Make it End!"
In 2011, Ellen DeGeneres promoted the cause on television by wearing orange and reminding millions of viewers about the importance of bullying prevention.
Lavalle said that eventually all of the students at the school will have an opportunity to take part kin anti-bullying efforts and that there will be special programs at the school during the week of Nov. 18-22, which Gov. Maggie Hassan has proclaimed as "anti-bullying" week in New Hampshire.
She and another faculty member and four or five Belmont High School students will be attending a ''Stand Up to Bullying'' event at the Whittemore Center at the University of New Hampshire on November 15.
Thousands of middle and high school students and teachers from across New Hampshire will come together for a one-day program to take a stand against all forms of bullying.
During the day, students will discuss the issue in a town meeting, hear from inspirational speakers, and caucus to exchange ideas and discuss action plans for their schools.
New Hampshire passed a widely praised anti-bullying law which was signed by Governor John Lynch in 2009. One of those who helped write the law was Dr. Malcolm Smith, youth and family education and policy specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension and extension associate professor in the family studies department.
Smith, a bullying expert is co-author and project director of the "Courage to Care" project through Cooperative Extension.


Belmont High School sophomore Alise Shuten signs an anti-bullying pledge at the school. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 October 2013 02:39

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Laconia 'chicken ordinance' takes important step forward

LACONIA — With one dissenting vote, the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) this week endorsed an ordinance that would permit residents in most parts of the city to keep chickens. It remains for the proposal to be approved by both the Planning Board and City Council.

The ordinance, which was prepared by the Zoning Task Force, would permit the keeping of chickens in the residential single-family (RS), residential general (RG) and shorefront residential (SFR) districts. A "special exception" to the ordinance, granted by the ZBA and carrying a fee of $125, would be required.

The current ordinance restricts the keeping of livestock, including poultry, to four districts — the commercial resort (CR), airport industrial (AI) and rural residential I and II (RRI, RRII) districts, effectively excluding chickens from the most densely populated parts of the city.

The proposed ordinance would permit keeping not more than five hens — but no roosters, capons or guinea hens — for the sole use of the household in the specified districts by special exception. The breeding of chickens and sale of eggs would be prohibited. Nor could chickens be slaughtered on the premisses. Chickens would be kept in coops placed in rear or side yards at least 10 feet from the primary residence and 20 feet from any lot line. Chickens would not be allowed to roam free. Not more than three cubic feet of droppings, stored in a closed container, could be kept at one time. Chicken coops could not be located and chicken manure could not be stored within the 50 feet of the Shoreland Protection Overlay District, which includes all land within 250 feet of the high water mark of public waters, or within any wetland or wetland buffer.

Tom Barker, who with his wife Karen keeps chickens at their home on Lane Road, was among several residents to again challenge the requirement of a special exception and accompanying fee, which they said raised an unnecessary financial barrier.

However, Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that the Zoning Task Force chose to require a special exception in order to ensure that those electing to keep chickens were aware of the conditions for doing so and that her department would know where chickens were being kept should enforcement action be necessary. The fee, she explained, is required of all applications for special exceptions, not only those to keep chickens, and is intended to defray the cost of reviewing applications and enforcing ordinances.

The Planning Board is scheduled to address the proposed ordinance on November, when another public hearing will be held.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 12:08

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Demolition of former Aubuchon building underway; hospital laundry will relocate

LACONIA — The owner of the fire-ravaged building at the corner of Fair and Court Street said yesterday that the laundry facility operated by LRGHeathcare will not be coming back to his building.

Owner Mike McCarthy was at the site yesterday afternoon wearing a white safety helmet and watching as a demolition team reduced the east portion of his former industrial building to rubble.

"It's all gone," he said wistfully.

McCarthy said he is not sure yet if the entire building needs to be razed but said LRGHeathcare has confirmed it will be relocating its laundry facility.

"They have told me they won't be coming back," he said.

He said fire officials and police have completed their investigation as far as the building fire is concerned and released the building to him.

McCarthy said he doesn't know yet how much he will rebuild.

The commercial building located at 164 Court Street went up in flames on September 22 at 2:30 a.m. The stubborn blaze went to three alarms and four ladder trucks were needed to finally extinguish it.

The fire was particularly difficult to fight said Fire Chief Ken Erickson because the multiple old roofs had been covered by a rubber membrane that initially prevented firefighters from getting water on to blaze.

Erickson has said the fire is suspicious and city fire officials spent much of week immediately after the blaze going over the building with state fire officials.

The portion of the building that housed the laundry is on the Fair Street side of the building. Erickson said at the time that firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the laundry portion, however that are was damaged by smoke and water.

The building was home to six business — including the LRGHeathcare laundry facilities, Northeast Electrical Services and Little Caesar's Pizza. Skate Escape had stored all of its equipment in the building while McCarthy renovated it with plans to reopen in a reconfigured space.

LRGHealthcare Chief Financial Officer Henry Lipman said yesterday that the LRGH laundry services will continue to operate in Laconia but said the details of their relocation are still to be determined.

He said the laundry service is being temporarily subcontracted to Kleen Laundry, however the employees who worked for the laundry have been kept employed within the company so there were no job losses.

Lipman said the laundry facilities processed about 1 million pounds of laundry annually for all of the LRGHealthcare entities.


CAPTION: (Court Street Fire Demolition) Cement rubble piles up as the burned-out industrial building on Court Street is demolished. The building was gutted in a 3-alarm fire on September 22. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 October 2013 02:27

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