Gilford asks for reconsideration on toplessness ruling

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The town of Gilford has asked Judge Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, to reconsider his ruling that topless sunbathing is not a crime because it is not included in the state criminal code.

Attorney Justin L. Pasay argues that RSA 41:11-b grants authority to town governing bodies to manage all of the real property it owns and to regulate its use, meaning the town believes the court erred in its ruling.

Pasay argues that anyone who violates the town ordinance against "topless sunbathing, skinny dipping, nude tanning or the exposure of genitalia" at the Gilford Town Beach "shall" be guilty of a violation.

He said that it appears the court overlooked this and so there are grounds for granting reconsideration.

Reconsideration is based on the premise that the court allows the town to intervene in the case, which is a request made after the decision was rendered. Until that time, the state, as represented by Gilford Sgt. Prosecutor Eric Bredbury and Lilley and MacKinnon, who are represented by attorney Daniel Hynes, were the only parties to the case. Both have assented to allow the town of Gilford to become a third party to the case.

Gilford resident Heidi Lilley and Barbara MacKinnon were cited on Sept. 6 for violating the ordinance when they and a few of their friends went to Gilford Beach. Both are members of the Free the Nipple campaign, which says women should be allowed the same rights as men when it comes to exposing the top parts of their body. The campaign also addresses what it calls the "body-shaming" culture of the U.S.

In his five-page ruling issued in early February, Carroll ruled the ordinance was constitutional but that, because there is no state law in the New Hampshire Criminal Code prohibiting female toplessness in public, the ordinance is unenforceable.

Lilley and MacKinnon have also filed for reconsideration but for the opposite reasons – namely that their actions are protected by the First Amendment as free speech and under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Hynes could not be reached Friday afternoon.

All of the motions are being reviewed by Carroll in chambers and The Laconia Daily Sun was unable to get a copy of Hynes' request for reconsideration.

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LASC auction fails when auctioneer is a no show

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — An auction of the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday did not take place.

According to attorney Jeff Philpot, who represents Tom and Lori Oakley who own the now defunct swim club, no auctioneer came to the designated site at the designated time, meaning the entire process must begin from scratch.

There were a number of people there, most of whom are friends of the Oakleys. There were five people there but none of them identified themselves as either being an auctioneer or a representative of the three banks that hold first mortgages on the property.

According to Philpot, who referred to a "first bite rule," the people who hold first mortgages are entitled to bid first, with the financier who holds the largest mortgage going first. He said there are three of them, to the best of his knowledge.

The primary mortgage holder is ReadyCap Lending LLC, which purchased the note that was issued on May 7, 2010 to the Community South Bank of Parsens, Tenn. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, or FDIC, Community South Bank failed on Aug. 23, 2013, and was closed by an order of the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions.

The Daily Sun was unable to reach ReadyCap Lending LLC or the attorney representing them to see why no auctioneer appeared. ReadyCap Lending LLC describes itself as a Small Business Association or SBA preferred lender.

According to Oakley, who was at the attempted auction with Philpot, ReadyCap has employed a maintenance team that winterized the building and took care of some of the utilities.

At Friday's attempted auction, the building had no heat but it did have electricity. The pool had been drained and the parking lot had been plowed.

The Laconia Athletic and Swim Club closed abruptly on Nov. 27, 2015, after 24 years of being in business.

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Laconia Planning Director Saunders resigns for job in Somersworth

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Planning Director Shanna Saunders tendered her resignation on Tuesday after accepting the position of planning director in the city of Somersworth.
"It was an opportunity that just came up," Saunders said yesterday, "and I decided to jump."
Saunders joined the Planning Department as assistant planner in April 2004 and in January 2005 was appointed Planning Director when Dawn Emerson left the position to work in Yarmouth, Maine. While attending the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a bachelor's degree in wetland conservation and a master's degree in resource economics, and she worked for the conservation commission in Rowley, Massachusetts, before coming to Laconia.
Saunders said that "getting the planning process on its feet" represented much of her work in the city. In what she described as "a team effort," she said, "I had a lot of help."
She explained that by coordinating the roles of the different departments — Department of Public Works, Fire Department and Laconia Water Works — through the technical review process has led to a more efficient planning process and improved the relationship between city officials and developers and property owners.
Likewise, Saunders said that placing code enforcement under the management and oversight of the Planning Department has been "a huge help and a positive thing." She said that because there "lots of crossovers" between the planning, inspection and enforcement functions, having them under one roof has improved the performance of them all.
Saunders pointed to the development of the downtown riverwalk as a significant achievement of her tenure, noting that the project was originally conceived in the 1980s and the first easement granted in 1996. She said will regret not shepherding this and other projects, like the Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam (WOW) Trail and restoration of Weirs Beach, to completion.
Warren Hutchins, chairman of the Planning Board, could not be reached, but Steve Bogert, who has chaired the Zoning Board of Adjustment since 2003, said Saunders "has been an absolute enjoyment to work with." He said that at first he was shocked to receive the email announcing her resignation, but relieved was he read that she is leaving for another position.
"I learned a lot working her," he said. "Ten years is a long time and I'll miss her. I'm glad and honored to crossed paths with her and wish her well."
Saunders said while she will miss Laconia she will not miss the commute from her home in Madbury. During her time with the city, she raised a daughter, who is now a freshman at the University of Connecticut, and a son, now 8 years old, while driving an hour each way to and from work, often after meetings that ran late into the evening. At the same time, her husband commutes to Lawrence, Massachusetts, where he works in information technology.
"I will enjoy leaving work, having dinner and then going back for a planning board meeting," Saunders said.
City Manager Scott Myers said that the job description for the position will be reviewed and upgraded as necessary before advertising for a successor. He acknowledged that with the process of updating the master plan underway "the timing could be better." However, he said that assistant planner Brandee Laughlin is familiar with the responsibilities, consultants are available and, in any event "there is always something going on."

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