Fire on Scenic Road leaves manufactured home damaged

LACONIA — After finding a manufactured home afire atop a hill off Scenic Road Thursday, firefighters quickly extinguished it.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said that around 2:30 p.m. a fire was reported on Roller Coaster Road, but firefighters found no sign of it. Shortly afterwards the warden at the fire tower on Red Hill in Moultonborough reported smoke in the vicinity of Scenic Road.

Three engines were dispatched and a first alarm sounded. Erickson said that before firefighters reached the manufactured home up a steep slope near the corner of Scenic Road and Watson Road, a neighbor had brought the fire under control by dousing it with a garden hose put through the bedroom window. Firefighters extinguished what remained of the fire.

No one was in the manufactured home, which Erickson suffered significant damage.

– Michael Kitch

Toddlers found walking alone in Gilmanton with drug paraphernalia

GILMANTON – WMUR is reporting that two toddlers were spotted walking in the Sawyer Lake area carrying drug paraphernalia.

The report said that two young girls were walking alone and one was carrying a glass pipe.

A woman passing by found the two little girls, ages 2 and 3, and brought them to the police department. The girls were unable to say where they lived but police were able to determine how to find the mother who was found home, sleeping.

WMUR reports that the children are staying with their father and that the state Division of Children, Youth and Families is also involved.

Court allows Monique Towmey's agriculture/agritourism' suite against Gilford Zoning Board to proceed to conclusion

LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court judge will not dismiss an appeal of a December 2015 Gilford Zoning Board of Adjustments ruling that negated a Planning Board decision not to move forward on a site plan review for a wedding venue on Timber Hill Road.

The Planning Board had previously determined that agriculture and agritourism were not the same thing and that Andy and Martina Howe's proposed wedding venue site was not allowed under town ordinances and state laws, which at the time were supported by a N.H. Supreme Court ruling.

The ZBA overturned the Planning Board's assessment and forced it to conduct a site plan review.

Abutter Monique Twomey appealed the ZBA decision Superior Court. The town of Gilford and the Howe's, who were granted intervenor status, both asked the court to dismiss the case as moot or now longer applicable because a definition of agritourism was added to the town ordinance by the voters at annual Town Meeting.

Twomey objected to the dismissal because the decisions by the planning board and ZBA were based on the definition of agriculture and not the definition of agritourism. She contends that the voters didn't change the definition of "agriculture" in March but only added "agritourism" as a permitted use in some zones.

"Upon review, the court agrees with (Twomey) that there is still technically an issue ripe for review presented in this case," wrote presiding Justice James O'Neill.

He said the underlying ZBA was based on a definition of agriculture, which was not changed at Town Meeting.

"The issue of whether the ZBA's interpretation of this definition was lawful and reasonable is unaffected by this amendment," he wrote.

O'Neill denied Twomey's request to amend her request for a restraining order to stop the Howe's from gaining site plan review, agreeing with the town of Gilford's assertion that state law does not entitle the court to issue a stay of a Planning Board decision.

O'Neill did point out that, as the town says, the law automatically stays any Planning Board decisions once the court has agreed to hear the case.