Laconia City Council schedules hearing on Davis Place lot sale

LACONIA — In response to Harry Bean's offer to purchase parts of two lots owned by the city next door to a house lot he owns at 32 Davis Place, the City Council this week scheduled a public hearing to determine if the city has need of the property or chooses to sell it. The hearing will be held during the council meeting on Monday, Feb. 8.

Bean seeks to purchase 9,810 square feet of untended woodland straddling Jewett Brook and lying between a house lot he owns at 32 Davis Place, on the opposite bank of the brook, and the remainder of the city property, part of which serves as a parking lot. Most of the land lies within a 1.67-acre lot on that fronts on Davis Place and stretches along the north bank of the brook to the Winnipesaukee River. Bean's offer also includes an adjoining strip of land, approximately 10 feet by 131 feet, along the east side of a second 0.15 acre lot, also owned by the city, that lies within the larger lot.
Bean told the councilors he is renovating the house at 32 Davis Place, where he expects his granddaughter to live. The land next door, he said, has been neglected and become a dumping ground strewn with televisions, shopping carts, mattresses and "you name it" as well as a place where people loiter. He said that he has "run off a couple of people urinating on the property. He stressed that he has no intention of developing the property, but wants only to clean it up and "just make it look nice."

Bean has offered $1,000 for the property, which would be acquired by a boundary line adjustment, and has agreed to pay to conduct a survey, transfer the title and record the deed. Since the parcel would be carved out of two lots, its assessed value has only been estimated. If the transaction closed, the property would be returned to the tax rolls and its value reflected in the assessment of the lot at 32 Davis Place to which it would be added.

City Manager Scott Myers told the council that the Assessing Department estimated the value of the land Bean seeks to buy at between $6,000 and $7,000. Jon Duhamel, the assessor, said that adding the parcel to the lot at 32 David Place as Bean proposes would increase its value by $10,800.

In a memorandum, Planning Director Shanna Saunders noted that almost all the property is within the 75-foot wetland buffer along Jewett Brook where no vegetation can be removed or altered without a permit from the Planning Board.

Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) has urged his fellow councilors to proceed with the sale, calling the property "a piece of crap" and insisting the that the city has everything to gain and nothing to lose by selling it, even for $1,000.

Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) urged the council to commission an appraisal of the property before scheduling a public hearing. "It's premature," he said, insisting "this is not the way to do business" and casting the lone dissenting vote against the motion to proceed.

Aavid acquires Niagara, expands markets

LACONIA — Aavid Thermalloy LLC has acquired Niagara Thermal Products LLC of Niagara Falls, NY, which has developed an extensive portfolio of thermal management solutions for customers in aerospace, defense, marine, industrial and alternative energy markets during the past 30 years.
The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Laconia, where it began in 1964, Aavid designs and manufactures thermal management products for telecommunications networks, data centers and consumer electronics as well as with applications in transportation and industry.
In a prepared statement, Alan Wong, chief executive officer of Aavid, said that Niagara Thermal Products “has a great reputation for providing mission-critical thermal management solutions to blue-chip customers, particularly in the aerospace and defense industries.”
He stressed that the firm’s expertise in design, engineering and manufacturing has earned it a reputation for quality, innovation and service.
“We are excited to join forces with Niagara, and to work with their experienced management team in expanding Aavid’s services in the aerospace, energy and defense markets,” he said.
Likewise, Barry Heckman, president and chief executive officer of Niagara Thermal Products, said “we look forward to seeing the Niagara and Aavid businesses, leaders in the respective markets, come together. Aavid,” he said, “will help accelerate our growth through its global footprint, and the combined company will benefit from a wider range of end market and customer opportunities.”
Aavid is a portfolio company of the Audax Group, a leading investor in middle market enterprises with more than $9 billion in assets under management. Together with its headquarters in Laconia, Aavid operates regional offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany; design and sales centers in California,Texas, Italy, Germany China, Taiwan and India; and manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, Italy, China and India.

Court orders city to help homeless family

LACONIA — Earlier this month city officials were reminded of their binding obligation to assist the penniless when, after a hearing in Belknap County Superior Court, Justice James D. O'Neill, III immediately ordered the city to house a woman and her two children at the Landmark Hotel.

The general assistance law, one of the oldest of all state statutes, reads "whenever a person in any town is poor and unable to support himself, he shall be relieved and maintained by the overseers of public welfare of such town, whether or not he has residence there."

On Dec. 31, the single mother and her children, ages 13 and 17, were evicted from the three-bedroom apartment where they had lived for more than six years after repeatedly violating the terms of their lease. At the time, Elliott Berry of New Hampshire Legal Assistance, who represented the woman in court, said that she had about $1,411 in cash, and five days later received another $259 in child support. However, by Jan. 11 she had spent all she had on a hotel room, foodstuffs and other essentials.

The woman applied to the Welfare Department for emergency assistance, requesting $572.25 to pay for a room at the Landmark Hotel for another 21 days. Instead, the city granted her sufficient funds for two nights, and on Jan. 13 denied her request for further assistance. Catholic Charities and the Laconia Congregational Church paid for the hotel room through Jan. 15, when she was told she and her children would have to leave the hotel.

On Jan. 15, the woman asked the court to order the city to provide housing for her and her children at the Landmark Inn until Jan. 27, when she would have sufficient funds to rent an apartment.

In court, the city, represented by attorney Laura Spector-Morgan, accepted that the woman had $1,670 when she was evicted, but claimed she spent $703 for the hotel room between Dec. 31 and Jan. 10, leaving $967 for which she had failed to account. She said that the woman understood the process for administering assistance from past experience, yet failed to comply by accounting for past income and benefits. Likewise, the city said that her monthly income of $2,149 exceeded her necessary expenses of $1,287, rendering her ineligible for further assistance.

On behalf of the woman, Berry told the court that without assistance the woman and her children would be "living on the street and insisted that "current need is the basis for determining eligibility for general assistance, and that how a person becomes poor and unable to support herself is irrelevant." He noted that in 1873 the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that "it makes no difference, so far as regards the obligation upon the town, whether a person be reduced to necessity by his own misconduct or fault, or by the wrongful or careless act of another, or by pure accident or misfortune."

O'Neill agreed and ordered the city to house the woman and her children at the Landmark Hotel until Jan. 27.

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