City Council to weigh Davis Place offers

BY MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers has advised the City Council that the sale of a patch of untended woodland on Davis Place would not affect future extension of the downtown riverwalk or restrict public access to the Winnipesaukee River while suggesting that the sale of adjacent land should be contingent on securing an easement to provide public access to the river.

The council will consider whether to declare any or all of the property under offer as surplus, which is the first step in selling city property, when it meets on Monday, Feb. 22, beginning at 7 p.m.
Harry Bean has offered to purchase 9,810 square feet of woodland straddling Jewett Brook, which adjoins the house lot he owns at 32 Davis Place. Most of this land lies within a sprawling 1.67-acre lot owned by the city that fronts on Davis Place, stretches along the north bank of the Jewett Brook to the Winnipesaukee River, and includes a sliver of land reaching from the south bank of the brook to Howard Street. Bean also seeks to acquire a strip of land, approximately 10 feet by 131 feet, along the east side of a 0.15-acre lot, also owned by the city, that lies within the larger lot, which he would attach to the other parcel then the whole parcel add to his abutting lot at 32 Davis Place.

Meanwhile, Lloyd Wylie, who owns the lot at the far end of Davis Place that houses an apartment building, has made two offers to purchase portions of the 1.67-acre lot, which abuts his property to the east and south. One offer would include the portion of the lot abutting his lot to the south and fronting the Winnipesaukee River and Jewett Brook, an area of 0.40 acres.. Alternatively, he has offered to acquire the entire lot except for the portion Bean has requested and the stretch on the south bank of Jewett Brook leading to Howard Street, an area of 1.43 acres.

Neither Bean nor Wylie intend to develop the property, but instead seek only to police what has become a dumping ground, gathering place and scene of less than desirable activity.

The Planning Board and Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Board has urged the council to reject both offers and retain municipal ownership of the land. The Conservation Commission has said that no land should be sold without first placing protective easements on the properties to ensure that the natural environment is not impaired and public access to the river is not impeded.

In a memorandum, Myers told the council that Bean's proposal "will not impact any potential use future use City use for the Riverwalk or other access to the Winnipesaukee River." Nor, he continued, would the parcel qualify as a buildable lot. Myers recommended that if Bean's offer is accepted, the remainder of the 0.15-acre lot within the larger lot should be merged with it rather than left as a separate lot.

Myers reported that Bean has offered $6,500, which includes the cost surveying and conveying the property, which he estimated would net the city $1,500. He declined to comment whether this represents a fair market value, but noted that the property would be difficult to appraise. Adding the parcel to Bean's abutting lot would increase the assessed value of the property by $10,800.

Wylie, Myers explained, made a similar offer in 2014, which the council rejected. He seeks to purchase all or part of a 1.5-acre lot with approximately 200 feet of frontage on the Winnipesaukee River. Wylie does not intend to build on the property at this time, but he has not precluded the prospect of developing it in the future. Myers advised the council that the sale of any portion of the lot be accompanied by an easement ensuring public access to the river.

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Gilford chooses Beitler for superintendent

GILFORD — The Gilford School Board announced Friday that they have selected Kirk Beitler as the next Superintendent of Schools. Beitler, will succeed Kent Hemingway, who will retire at the end of this school year.

Beitler is presently the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Laconia and has experience as a teacher and a former principal at Raymond High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree at the State University of New York at Cortland, his Master of Education at Plymouth State University, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in administration also at Plymouth State University, and was enrolled in Educational Leadership at Argosy University, Sarasota, Florida. Beitler will begin his duties in Gilford on July 1.

Beitler was selected after several candidates went through a three-month process that included initial interviews with a district search committee, school district visitations and a community forum.

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Drug bust nets two in Laconia

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — City police arrested two people who share a Pine Street apartment for multiple counts of drug possession and sales charges Thursday afternoon.

Nathan Barros, 27, of 41 Pine St. #5 is charged with one Class B felony of possession of heroin, one Class A felony for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell and one Class B felony of sales of heroin that allegedly took place on Jan. 6 in Laconia.

Cirsten McKim, 40, of 41 Pine St. #5 is charged with one Class A felony of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, one Class B felony of possession of heroin, and one Class B felony of sales of heroin that allegedly took place on Feb. 12 on Pine Street in Laconia.

Both are being held on $10,000 cash bail and both must undergo a source of funds hearing if bail is posted.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said that both McKim and Barros had allegedly sold heroin on different dates to confidential informant[s] enabling police to obtain arrest warrants issued yesterday for both of them.

During the day, drug detectives got information that Barros would be leaving the apartment at a certain time to allegedly make a drug deal. While monitoring the apartment before the arrests, affidavits said they saw "several visitors" who went to the apartment for a short period of time and then left.

The detectives also saw Barros leave the apartment, where he was followed by an unmarked police car who radioed to a marked cruiser to apprehend him, which occurred without incident.

Police knocked and identified themselves and were let into the apartment by McKim. While there, they identified a local man who they knew from previous investigations into drug activity. He was detained for a short period of time and released.

Affidavits said McKim told them she understood her rights and that the drugs they found in the apartment were "both of ours." She allegedly admitted to selling drugs from the apartment. Affidavits said the street value of the methamphetamine was about $900 and it was packaged for sale.

In court yesterday, Detective Prosecutor Tony Horan said, as part of his high cash bail argument for Barros, that while detectives were in the apartment, two additional people came to the apartment and admitted to police they were there to buy drugs.

Horan said the level of traffic in and out of the apartment, coupled with the actual charges and factoring in the current drug epidemic, made Barros and McKim a danger to society.

Barros, who was defended at his arraignment Friday by a Laconia public defender, said where the drugs were found was not specific enough to charge his client with possession with intent to sell or for possession. He argued that probable cause for those two charges hadn't been met and Barros should be released on personal recognizance bail.

He said Barros was born and raised in Gilford, has a lot of family in the area and had earned a college degree, so he is not a danger or a flight risk.

Judge Jim Carroll said that for bail purposes there is probable cause and that Barros is a danger because of the nature of the charges. He noted there would be an opportunity for him to have a probable cause hearing for the charges themselves in the next couple of weeks.

McKim was not represented by a lawyer Friday because the public defenders office cannot represent co-defendents due to potential conflicts of interest. The court will appoint a lawyer for her and she will reappear as soon as possible for a bail hearing.

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