Overdoses spike in city, 55 so far this year


LACONIA — The city has seen a recent spike in the number of heroin overdoses over the past two weeks, Police Chief Chris Adams told the Police Commission this week. With five suspected deaths, he said the number of overdoses so far in the city is at 55 for the year.

In response to a question from Commissioner Thomas Tarr, Adams said the state lab is overburdened with possible heroin/ fentanyl overdoses that, in some cases, autopsies are not being performed on all potential victims.

He said even with the additional money from the recently passed biennial budget, the lab is still overwhelmed.

Lt. Detective Thomas Swett said the city will be getting four traffic grants, including two annual repeating awards for DWI patrols and community patrolling. He said there are two new awards for a 50/50 equipment grant and a distracted driver grant that will be primarily targeting people using electronic devices.

Also at the meeting, Adams thanked the many people who have sent support letters, texts, emails and cards to the department and its officers in the wake of the police shootings in Dallas, Texas.

He said that while it is a troubling time for the men and women in law enforcement, he and employees were really overwhelmed with the support they have seen locally.

"One little boy named Oscar brought us Gatorade," he said, adding that it is important to him and his entire staff to enjoy such community support.

Adams said the department is still planning on equipping officer with body cameras and said his department would be seeking grants after they compete their certification review.

When asked, he said they are part of the five-year strategic plan and that he considers them worthy of a annual budget request. No final decision have been made by the commission as to body cameras or their funding.

Neighbors complain of clear cut on Old Lakeshore Road


GILFORD — A gash in the woodline on Old Lakeshore Road made by the owner of Gilford Self Storage has some of his neighbors up in arms about the future of the lot.
The “whole character is altered by the huge empty gash,” said Melinda Howe, who owns a home on Gunstock Hill Road that is across the road from the new opening.
“We thought there would be a buffer between our agricultural land and this lot,” she said.
She and her brother-in-law, Andrew Howe, both said that with the tree buffer gone there is increased noise from Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, from the Airport Country Store and Deli, and from the Laconia Airport.
“The impact is not substantial site-wise,” said Andrew Howe. “The significant impact to us is noise,” saying he can hear people talking at the store.
Other neighbors on the same side of Old Lakeshore Road also expressed shock and disappointment at the clearcut along the road. Describing it as a “big hole on one side,” Scott Sasserson said there is more debris blowing onto his property now that the vegetation is gone.
Howe, who is involved in his own noise dispute with his neighbors on upper Gunstock Hill Road, said the change was “sudden and dramatic,” and that while the owner had every right to cut the trees, he should plant a buffer along the property line as is required by state statute.
Owner Richard Letendre said he logged that particular section of his property in part so he could determine whether or not the land was properly classified as prime agriculture land, which would determine his long-range plans for the upper portion of his land.
For now, all Letendre wants to do is to expand his storage capacity by building one of two 11,160-square-foot climate-controlled storage buildings. He said the first will be built as soon as the site plan is approved by the Planning Board while the second would be built some time in the future. There will be no access from Old Lakeshore Road.
During the department heads meeting held last week and Monday’s Planning Board meeting, there was some talk about subdividing the upper portion from the lower and possibly building some housing.
The 16-acre lot in question is in the resort commercial zone, with a smaller abutting property at 10 Gilford East Drive in the commercial zone. The portion that lies along Old Lake Shore Road in the resort commercial zone.
With the planning board’s determination that the land is too rocky to be considered “prime agricultural land,” Letendre could conceivably subdivide his lot and dedicate the upper portion to residential use, which is allowed in the resort commercial zone.
The site plan hearing was tabled until Aug. 15 so Letendre can bring in his plans for a buffer along Old Lake Shore Road.


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It's a new view for those traveling along Old Lakeshore Road as Gilford Self Storage prepare to expand in the area below. The Laconia Airport can be seen in the distance. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Perley Canal Mill apartments fill a need for new housing in downtown Laconia


LACONIA — With almost all 30 units leased within the new Perley Canal Mill apartment complex, it is safe to say there indeed was a demand for market-rate housing downtown.

Located at 72 Landing Lane along the Winnipesaukee River and Beacon Street, the Perley Canal Mill apartment complex opened for renters at the start of this year. The decision to make these apartments market rate, meaning that they are sold at market value without any income limits or special requirements to own them, was a route that had not been taken in downtown Laconia for many decades. Deciding to model a development outline that had worked various times in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire, Chinburg Builders decided to purchase the property and pursue construction of a new state-of-the-art housing infrastructure.

The vision of the apartment complex was to attract renters based upon the luxury "maintenance free" units and the easy access to downtown and the River Walk. Transforming the former Laconia Car Company, and the Allen-Rogers mill into livable units, each apartment has been designed to include features such as stainless steel, granite counters, a full bathroom, maple cabinets and exposed brick. Additionally, the amenities include heat, hot water, wifi, on-site parking, secure entry, a club room and fitness room, as well as on-site storage.

Although each unit has the same features and amenities, the apartments themselves range in size and price, from studio to spacious two-bedroom apartments. The studio apartments range between 632 to 778 square feet and were put on the market for the value of $875 to $1,075 per month. One bedroom apartments range from 703 to 1,128 square feet with a price ranging from $995 to $1,585 per month, and two-bedroom apartments range from 1,032 to 1,371 square feet with a price range of $1,295 to $1,895 per month.

The prices were set after assessing multiple factors, including the property value and current market rates for similarly constructed apartments. With the prices higher than most in the area, the properties would only be able to cater to local individuals who were at or above the average household income for Laconia, which for the 2015 year was calculated to be $69,637 per year, and the median household income of $56,171 per year.

"After hitting the market, the prices of the apartments only dropped slightly from what they were marketed at originally," said George Weisenburger of Partners Property Management LLC, when asked if the price ranges had been met.

For more information about the apartments or openings within the complex call The Chinburg Builders 749-3355 or visit www.chinburg.com/property/perley-canal/.

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The Perley Canal Mill apartments opened downtown recently, and are almost all rented. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)

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The interior of an apartment as shown at the Perley Canal Mill website. (Courtesy photo)

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The floor plans of the complex.