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Residents who wanted to keep dollar stores out of M'borough appear to be 2 for 2 so far

MOULTONBOROUGH — This spring Family Dollar and Dollar General, the two largest so-called dollar store chains, were seeking to build within three miles of each other on Route 25, but within the last month both projects were shelved.

Last month, the Zoning Board of Adjustment denied Zaremba Program Development, LLC, the development partner of Dollar General, a variance required to construct a 9,100-square-foot building on a 5,5-acre lot at 929 Whittier Highway (Route 25), opposite Blake Road.

Meanwhile, for the past year the Planning Board was wrestling with the proposal of Jonathan White, who developed a Family Dollar store in Bristol, to build an 8,000-square-foot store on 10.7 acres at 278 Whittier Highway (Route 3) near the junction with Redding Lane.

Both projects were beset by issues of stormwater management and traffic control.

Last week, when the Family Dollar corporation found itself the object of a bidding war between Dollar General and Dollar Tree, White withdrew his application. In July, Family Dollar agreed to a cash offer of $8.5 billion, or $74.50 per share, from Dollar Tree, with 4,891 stores and annual sales of $2 billion the smallest of three chains. Dollar General, the largest of the trio with 11,338 stores in 40 states and annual sales of $4.5 billion, trumped Dollar Tree with a cash bid of $9 billion, or $78.50 per share.

The board of directors of Family Dollar, which has rebuffed offers from Dollar General in the past, announced that it would study the latest bid while continuing to recommend that shareholders accept the offer from Dollar Tree. Family Dollar operates 8,246 stores in 46 states with annual sales of $2.7 billion.

Tara Shaw of Moultonborough, who mounted a petition drive against both projects of her Facebook page said that one dollar store in town would be one too many. Right now it appears one is the most Moultonborough is likely to get.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:36

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Boys & Girls Club members operate lemonade stand to fight childhood cancer

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region hosted an Alex's Lemonade Stand Tuesday at Dairy Queen/Orange Julius restaurant on Union Avenue in Laconia. Donors Nick Collette and Velma Sanchez, foreground, are shown with club members Bryce Sanborn of Barnstead, Kassidy Law of Manchester, Damian Nichols of Laconia, Arianna Jones of Laconia and Jaselynn Gordon of New Jersey. Among those supervising the event were Mariah Hoffmann, also of New Jersey, who said that Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has been raising funds to fight childhood cancer since it was formed in 2007. (Roger Amsden/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:30

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Arbo Ministries alters course in effort to gain approval

GILFORD — After getting to know their neighbors a little better, the couple who had hoped to turn a former farm on Curtis Road into a church have scaled back their plans.

Rather than seek a special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to have a church in a "limited residential" zone, Arbo Ministries proposed a "home-based business" that would require only a change of use from the Planning Board.

Although their newest proposal was tabled by the Planning Board on Monday evening, pending a site walk and a conversation with Town Planner John Ayer, who could not attend, most of the neighbors present seemed much more amenable to the revised proposal than to the first.

"I applaud your decision not to go forward with full zoning (board approval)," said abutter Bill Nutter.

Speaking for the ministry, engineer Jon Rokeh explained to the board that Steve and Barbara Arbo, their neighbors, and Ayer worked out a set of conditions for a change of use that included five criteria, the first being that the existing structures on the property would not be altered renovated on demolished and the open field to the east will stay the same.

The second and third were that a maximum of 12 cars will be parked on the property, not including the garage, and that no more than 35 people, excluding family, will be attending any of the planned religious observances.

The fourth was all proposed changes must be approved by the appropriate town official, agency, or board.

The fifth was that there would be no church or institutional activities within 75 feet of the easterly lot line shared with Nutter and his wife Nutter. Those activities include prayer walks, benches, gazebos or any other structure, including tents.

Member of the board asked if there were to be bells, music, loudspeakers or any other thing that makes an inordinate amount of noise and the answer was no.

In addition, the Arbos agreed that there were to be no overnight guests for religious events.

Barbara Arbo said she expects there will be one large prayer group meeting per month and smaller ones every other weekend but they would end by early evening.

She said prayer school would be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there could be an occasional barbecue on by the front porch that looks out on Cherry Valley Road.

Part of the plan includes the reestablishment of a driveway that exits onto Cherry Valley Road. Abutter Adrian Curtis said he would like to see some of the brush cut away from the old driveway to improve the visibility.

Neighbor Renee Colby was still opposed, primarily because there will be additional traffic on "my dead end residential street." She said she had two small children and also had some concerns with traffic coming from the Arbos coinciding with school bus pickup and dropoff.

During the discussion part of the meeting, and after the public presentation had ended, Planning Board members were divided.

Norm Silber said he felt that putting a church into a home business instead of getting a special exemption from the ZBA is "like putting a square peg in a round hole."

"It gives all the appearances of a church," he said. "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck..."

Jerry Gagnon was the member who suggested a site walk. While not commenting on the nature of the proposed "home business" he said he's first like to see where the 12 proposed parking spaces will be sited and look at the old driveway for traffic safety issues.

Member Chan Eddy was very supportive of the Arbo's proposal as presented to the Planning Board, although he agreed to table the motion until the board could speak with Ayer. He added he ,too, would like to see the parking configuration.

The site walk is scheduled for 4 p.m. on September 8.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:26

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Environmental clean-up underway at former oil depot site

LACONIA — Work has begun to remove abandoned fuel tanks and contaminated soils from the property at 55 Bay Street, which lies between the railroad track and Winnisquam Avenue, owned by the Fred Fuller Oil Co, Inc.

Cheryl Bentley of Aries Engineering, Inc. of Concord, which is partnering with TMC Environmental of Portsmouth on the project, anticipated that about a month will be required to removed approximately 4,800 cubic yards of soil and 60,000 gallons of groundwater from the site. In addition, A 1,628-square-foot office building on the site will be demolished. However, a garage backing on to Winnisquam Avenue will remain on the site.

There are six underground storage tanks on the site, five 20,000 gallon tanks, four of which contained home heating oil and a fifth holding kerosene. The six tank, containing gasoline, was only found this week, after work was underway. Bentley said that there was fuel in the tank, which would be pumped empty and removed.

Bentley said that after testing indicated relatively low levels of contamination in the soil the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) determined it could be safely transported to a landfill in Bethlehem.

Monitoring wells on the site and in the neighborhood have measured the level and extent of contamination for more than a decade. The clean up operation, which is budgeted to cost almost $300,000, is underwritten by the "Oil Discharge and Disposal Cleanup Fund" established in 1988, which itself is funded by a fee levied on all oil imported into the state. Michael Donahue, principal engineer at Aries Engineering, said that the fund has facilitated the clean up, transfer and redevelopment of compliant facilities by eliminating the prolonged, expensive and often contentious process of seeking to assign liability. particularly when a site has had a series of owners.

Donahue said that the site will continue to be monitored and if necessary further excavation of contaminated material will be undertaken.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:54

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