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Weirs Boulevard rezoning proposal comes to City Council

LACONIA — The City Council heard from Weirs business interests and the public last evening about a proposal from the Planning Board to rezone most of Weirs Boulevard from a commercial to a residential district.

About 50 people filled most of the seats in the Council Chambers for a public hearing on a series of proposed zoning amendments, the most controversial of which would change the Boulevard from where the thoroughfare starts at While Oaks Road north to the Naswa Resort complex from Commercial Resort to Shorefront Residential.

The Planning Board is recommending the change because Weirs Boulevard, with its proximity to Paugus Bay, has become predominantly residential as the result of the conversion of many one-time motels and cottage colonies to condominiums as well as the construction of several new multifamily condominium complexes.

"The change from (motel room and cottage) rentals to condominiums has changed the character of The Weirs," Planning Board Chairman Warren Hutchins told the council in explaining the main reason the board was recommending the change.

Some Weirs business owners were expected to voice their opposition to the plan during the hearing. Paul Fitzgerald, an attorney representing the Naswa Resort, who was at last night's hearing, said last week the Naswa's owners were "seriously concerned about the impact of creating a predominantly residential zone compared to what has been allowed and encouraged up and down the boulevard in the past."

In explaining the impact of the change, Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that inns, motels and bed and breakfasts would continue to be permitted in the new Shorefront Residential Zone, but some other hospitality businesses such as restaurants would not.

Another zoning change being proposed includes rezoning Lake Street from the Margate Resort north to White Oaks Road from Commercial Resort to Commercial. Saunders viewed this change as an extension of the current Commercial Zone which runs the length of Union Avenue.

In response to a question from Mayor Ed Engler who said the potential exists for a "total residential build-out" of Weirs Beach, Saunders said she felt that the best kind of development for The Weirs would be a mix of residential and commercial uses.

Any zoning changes will need to be approved by the City Council.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 12:51

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LHS seniors get 90% turnout for community service day

LACONIA — Laconia High School seniors turned out in force Saturday morning for a Community Service Day and proved they weren't afraid to get their hands dirty in their effort to ensure that their graduation will be held on June 6.
The large number of snow days this past winter had cast doubt on whether the graduation would be held on the previously recommended date of June 6. A few weeks ago school administrators agreed to that date but with the caveat that at least 80 percent of the seniors would have to show up for a Community Service Day.
As it turned out just about 90 percent of the students turned out, according to Laconia High School Principal James McCollum. The students worked to beautify the Laconia High School campus by weeding garden beds, many of which were established a few years ago as part of Shakespeare Garden project, and doing general landscaping and grounds cleanup.
''I'm very happy that people turned out. Now we don't have to do it a second time,'' said Adam Kresco, a senior who is looking at joining the military and says that the work was nothing new to him as gardening is one of his hobbies.
Brianna Wood, who is looking to a career as a beautician, said that she was proud of her classmates and thought it was very impressive that so many showed up.
''We had to get at least 90 people and we had 90 here by eight 'o'clock,'' said Cierra Pinkney, vice president of the Class of 2015, who credited the large turnout an effective social media campaign. ''We texted a lot of people and got the message out over our own Facebook page,'' she said.
Pinkney said that the large turnout was impressive given that many of the students had prior commitments on Saturday for family events such as weddings. "We offered them breakfast to start the day and keep repeating the message that it's a lot better to give up four hours on a Saturday than it is to have to attend school for another week.''
The temperature as work got underway at 8:30 a.m. was in the mid 40s and many of the students were wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts but didn't appear fazed by the cool weather. LHS humanities teacher Rick Crockford, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt bearing the logo of his sister's landscaping business, said that he was at the age where he needed to wear something warmer but the students appeared to be doing fine. ''Their metabolism makes it easy for them to handle this kind of weather,'' he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 12:42

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Police warn of scam involving outstanding utility bills


SANBORNTON – Police are warning people about a recent scam from people pretending to be from Eversource Energy and telling people they have outstanding electric bills.

The scammer told the would-be victim that crews were on the way to shut off the electricity and the only was to keep it on was to go to a local store and purchase pre-paid cash cards.

The caller gave the man a customer service number to call once he bought the cards. When he called, it sounded legitimate.

Since the would-be victim knew his account was current he called a published number for Eversource Energy, formerly Public Service of New Hampshire, and was told this was a scam.

Anyone who receives any similar calls should notify their local police department.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 11:41

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Attempted hug of ex-girlfriend leads to man’s arrest

LACONIA — A local man is free after telling Judge Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court that he would post $100 cash bail before Tuesday of next week.

Affidavits and city Prosecutor Jim Sawyer said yesterday that Paul Doherty violated a protection order to stay away from his old girlfriend when he approached her Sunday afternoon and tried to hug her.

The woman told police she pushed him away and when she did, he told her she wasn't going to ruin his summer like she did last year. He also told her her knew where she was staying.

Judge Jim Carroll ordered Doherty, who is transient, to stay away from the area around City Hall, the Belknap Mill plaza, behind the old police station and to not appear at the waterway near Fair Street. He must stay at least 300 feet from the victim who is also transient.





Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 11:32

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