The brine before the storm – Public Works pre-treating city roads with salt solution

LACONIA — Public Works trucks have begun applying a brine solution to roads even though the snow season has not yet arrived.
Department Director Wes Anderson said asphalt is porous and it is effective to get salt in the roadway before the snows come. It also helps prevent black ice from forming when moisture hits the road in freezing temperatures.
“We are on day three of applying the brine solution today, and everything is working well,” Anderson said Thursday. “But we have been getting some calls from people and questions about what is being applied. We are using rock salt, mixed up in a 23 percent solution.”
Motorists are advised to stay well back.
“You don't want to be within the spray area, but it's not any more corrosive than the salt we put down during the winter,” Anderson said.
The liquid helps the salt spread uniformly and stick to the surface. The water evaporates and this leaves a thin film of salt that will help prevent ice from forming.
The heavy snow period differs from year to year, but often begins around Christmas and extends to March.
Sand is seldom used on local roads as it tends to reduce traction once the road is dry, Anderson said.
The best bet for reducing corrosion on vehicles is to go to the car wash for an underbody spray when roads return to dry pavement after a snow storm.

Pop a cork – Gilmanton agrees to pay winery $30K in settlement

GILMANTON — A year-long dispute between Gilmanton Winery and Restaurant and the Gilmanton Planning Board ended Tuesday with an out-of-court settlement that awards $30,000 to owners Marshall and Carol Bishop.
Terms of the settlement were outlined in a memorandum of understanding released by Gilmanton Town Administrator Heidi Duval. The final settlement document has not yet been filed with Gilmanton Town Clerk Debra Cornett.
The settlement releases the town, town officials, its boards, and board members from any further liability, with both sides agreeing to non-disparagement clauses. The parties will share in the costs of mediation.
The litigation arose after Planning Board attorney Paul Fitzgerald issued a cease-and-desist order, stopping operations at the winery, on Nov. 22, 2016. In court documents, the Bishops traced the problem to Marshall Bishop’s defeat of Brett Currier in the town’s 2016 selectmen’s race.
The Bishops alleged that, after the election, Brett and Brenda Currier began attacking the winery as “operating illegally” and complained to the Planning Board that it was operating as a restaurant without a special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The winery had been operating since 2011 without any complaints, the Bishops stated in court documents.
Marshall Bishop had approached the Planning Board in January 2011 with his proposal for a three-phase development of the property, formerly owned by “Peyton Place” author Grace Metalious and most recently serving as an alpaca farm and vineyard. The first phase would convert the garage to a winery; the second would convert the downstairs portion of the house to a dining and function area; and the third phase would convert the rest of the building to a bed-and-breakfast facility.
In “May or June” of 2011, the Bishops submitted a proposed site plan for the first two phases of work. The Bishops said — and the town denied in court documents — that “The discussion recognized that, in addition to hosting events, the property would host dinner functions on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays. The discussion also recognized that tour buses may access the property and guests would be able to park on the property, but would have to walk on Meadow Pond Road in order to reach the house, unless a footbridge was built over a small stream.”
The town did not deny that the Planning Board unanimously approved the site plan, but it did not agree that it “allowed the Bishops to operate a winery and function area to be open to the public with one sitting each night.” The town also denied that “conditions subsequent to final approval being signed included adding a bus turn around and cart path” to the final plan.
The town also denied that discussions in January and February 2012 ended with the Planning Board agreeing that a golf cart bridge could be built at a later time.
When the Curriers filed complaints four years later, the operation came under new scrutiny. While the Bishops believed their site plan approval allowed the meals, they filed for and received a special exception to operate a restaurant.
On Oct. 13, 2016, Planning Board member Marty Martingale, who also was serving when the board approved the original plan, stated that the Bishops should start over with a new site plan application. Four days later, Fitzgerald sent a letter to inform the Bishops that the Planning Board would like to “review this situation” by requiring a new site plan application and giving them until Oct. 26 to file one or face a cease-and-desist order.
They responded on Oct. 21 by saying they would address any well-founded concerns, but that the town would have to specify what laws or regulations it was alleging that they violated. There was no response, and no cease-and-desist order was issued. Hearing nothing, they sent a letter through their attorney on Nov. 3, reiterating their willingness to address any concerns. That was when Fitzgerald issued the cease-and-desist order.
The Bishops’ lawsuit claimed damage to their business and harm to their reputations.
The settlement memo agrees to allow the Bishops to “announce the satisfactory approval of the site plan.”

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 1584

Sponsors of Gunstock budget bill invited to make their case

Commission to hear plans to take away budget oversight


GILFORD — The Gunstock Area Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to invite the four sponsors of bill that would give the Belknap County Delegation authority over the county-owned recreation area’s annual budget to give a presentation on the proposed legislation at its next meeting on Dec. 20.

Control of the Gunstock Mountain Resort’s annual budget currently is exercised by the commission, a five-member body established by legislation in 1959 as an independent political entity, empowered to manage Gunstock’s operations.

The County Delegation currently has no control over the commission’s budget, which is funded from the operations of the recreation area. The delegation’s major role has to do with Gunstock’s debt, which is a county responsibility. The 1959 enabling legislation prohibits Gunstock from borrowing any money without approval by the county delegation.

Sponsors of the new legislation, HB 1702, are Rep. Valerie Fraser (R-New Hampton), who is listed as the chief sponsor, along with Rep. Ray Howard (R-Alton), Rep. Marc Abear (R-Meredith), and John Plumer (R-Belmont).

Both Howard and Plumer were at the commission meeting Wednesday night at which new commissioner Brian Gallagher, a former state legislator from Sanbornton, was sworn in.

Gallagher was selected by an 11-5 vote of the delegation over Sean Sullivan of Laconia for a  five-year term on the commission.

Sullivan had recently charged that the delegation was not negotiating in good faith with the commission on the renewal of a memorandum of understanding, which sets forth the amount Gunstock pays the county on an annual basis.

Gallagher suggested that the sponsors of the legislation be invited to speak about the bill, saying that it would be a good idea to have a discussion of their goals “before it becomes a bigger issue than it needs to be.”

Newly elected commission chairman Steve Nix of Gilford said he agreed that a discussion would be helpful.

The commission has not yet taken a position on the bill, which is expected to come before the House Committee on Municipal and County Government for a public hearing in January.