Proposal for motocross track off Rte. 140 tabled by ZBA

BELMONT — The Zoning Board of Adjustment has tabled a request from East Coast Militia MX for a special zoning exception to operate a motocross test track in an industrial zone off Rte. 140.
East Coast currently operates a track on Rte. 106 near the Lakes Region Casino and wants to move to a new location, according to Bill McHugh, president of East Coast Militia, who has told the ZBA that they want a bigger site than they currently have.
ZBA Chairman Peter Harris said that the board tabled the request in order to give it time to assess new evidence received at a public hearing for abutters that lasted more than two hours Wednesday night.
It was the second public hearing on the proposal that has attracted a large turnout, according to Harris, who said that one held in late June filled the Corner House meeting room.
''The abutters were still upset,'' said Harris, who said that many of the same concerns raised at the June meeting were brought up again, mostly with regard to noise levels over the weekend and the track's location within an aquifer overlay zone.
The 24-acre site property is located in an industrial zone and races take place on a dirt track with riders jumping over dirt piles.
McHugh told the board in June that there will be between 50 and 60 bikes at most, but usually only 10-15 bikes at one time. McHugh said the riders come and go at different times and there are three classes of riders; the kids class, the weekend warriors class and the racer class.
The application indicates there are substantial vegetative buffers in the area of the proposed track which will be open three days a week. The company will use its own water truck to keep dust to a minimum.
The proposed days of operation are Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and either Wednesdays or Thursdays from 3 to 8 p.m.
Harris said that the board will take up the application again when it meets on November 18.

3 men apply for single 5-year term on Gunstock Area Commission

LACONIA — The Belknap County Convention will interview candidates seeking to fill a vacancy on the five-member Gunstock Area Commission as the first order of business when it meets at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2 at the Belknap County Courthouse.
Three candidates have applied for a five-year term on the commission, Timothy P. Lang, Sr. of Sanbornton, Stephan Nix of Gilford and Scott Dunn of Gilmanton.
Lang is the supervisor of technical services for the New Hampshire Electric Co-op in Plymouth, a position he has held since last year, and was the chief executive officer and founder of the Network Managers, which provides IT services to health care and financial services clients across the Northeast.
He has been a member of the Winnisquam Regional School Board since 2010 and has served on the Sanbornton Budget Committee and Zoning Board.
Nix, a practicing attorney and land surveyor has been a member of the Gilford ZBA and Land Conservation Task Force and has been skiing at Gunstock since he was a young child in the 1960s.
He says that one major task facing the commission is updating the Gunstock Mountain Resort 2011 Master Plan.
Dunn is the town administrator in Gilford and previously served as town manager in Seabrook, NH, and Ogunquit, Maine, and was town administrator in Alton from 1992 through 1999.
He started his career as a recreation director and says that he is a frequent hiker and skier at Gunstock.
Stepping down from the commission after 17 years of service is Chuck Lowth of Meredith, who has served three full terms and an additional two years after having been named to fill a vacancy in 2013.
The commission was established in 1959 to oversee the operations of the county-owned Gunstock Recreation Area in Gilford.
Under the state law that established the commission, no more than two members of the board may reside in the same Belknap County municipality. Laconia is currently the only such municipality currently represented by more than one — Sean Sullivan and Bob Durfee. Other members are John Morgenstern of Gilford and Ruth Larson of Alton.

At 26, suspect is no stranger to prison

LACONIA — Robert Shawn Audette, 26, wanted by Lacona Police on charges of criminal threatening following the siege of an apartment house at 20 Jewett Street on Wednesday, has spent the last seven years in and out of the New Hampshire State Prison after being convicted on two counts of arson in Hillsborough Superior Court North in 2008.

Police allege that Audette pointed a firearm at another man while they and others were in an apartment at 20 Jewett Street on Tuesday. The incident prompted police to cordon off the neighborhood, evacuate nearby homes and surround the building then spend much of the afternoon urging the suspect to surrender. Ultimately, a heavily armed team of the Belknap County Special Operations Group entered the building amid a cloud of tear gas only to find no one inside. But, police searching the apartment found a shotgun and several rounds of ammunition. Police believe Audette fled before reached the scene.

In 2008, Audette, then 19 and living in Hooksett, began serving two one-to-three year sentences in prison to run concurrently for setting fire to vacant buildings, while a sentence for criminal mischief was suspended.. In October 2010, he was among the first inmates paroled under a new law prescribing that prisoners be paroled nine months before their sentences expired. The Associated Press reported that his father was glad he was coming home, but believed criminals should serve their full sentences. After repeatedly violating parole and returning to prison, Audette finally completed serving his sentence while on parole in May, 2015.

While released on parole Audette was arrested a number of times in Manchester, Hooksett, Goffstown and Concord on a variety of misdemeanor charges, including criminal mischief, criminal threatening, assault, possession of drugs, resisting arrest, disobeying an officer and conduct after an accident in Manchester, Hooksett, Goffstown. In March, 2015 Audette, who gave his address as Orchard Street, Manchester, was arrested in Concord for criminal liability for the conduct of another and making a false report to law enforcement following incidents in the city the previous July.

Kristen Paul, who rents the apartment at 20 Jewett Street where the incident occurred and the shotgun was found, told WMUR-TV that she was away from her home when the alleged incident took place  Speaking on camera, she said that Audette was "my friend's friend" who had moved from Belmont and was staying at her apartment for a few days before moving into a new home. She described him as "a nice guy".

Captain Bill Clary of the Laconia Police said yesterday that officers have spoken with Audette's wife about his possible whereabouts without success. He said that the woman who came out of the building at 20 Jewett Street shortly before the team from the special operations group went in, was a visitor, not a tenant, and that she told police that she had slept through the incident without hearing the repeated calls over a bullhorn atop a Bearcat armored vehicle parked near the front door to leave the building.

Police caution the public not to approach Audette and ask anyone with information that could lead to Audette's whereabouts to call 911 or the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252.