Apple Ridge fills need for city rental housing


LACONIA — Apple Ridge, an apartment building on Provencal Road, began leasing in September, and about a quarter of the 48 units are already occupied, an indication of the robust demand for modern rental accommodation in the city.

Apple Ridge, together with the Perley Canal Mill apartments at Beacon Street West, opened by Chinburg Properties of Newmarket, represent the first rental properties neither restricted to qualified tenants nor built with subsidized financing to be developed in the city in more than three decades.

"There has been no new product coming onto the market, especially in Laconia," developer Dick Anagnost said, "and the demand for rentals is very strong. That's why I built it."

Built by developer Dick Anagnost of Manchester in partnership with Brady Sullivan Properties, also of Manchester, Apple Ridge is a virtual twin to an adjacent building leased to Lakes Region Community College, which became only the second of the seven community colleges to offer student housing.

While each building houses 48 units, divided among one, two and three bedroom apartments, with nearly identical floor plans, Anagnost said that the apartments at Apple Ridge are fitted with superior amenities. These include stainless steel appliances and polished granite countertops in the kitchen, washers and dryers in each unit, walk-in closets and bamboo plank floors. The units have private decks, along with individual heating and cooling systems. And pets are welcome. The building houses a fitness room with cardio equipment and a conference room for the use of residents..

Apple Ridge has 37 two-bedroom units, renting for $1,175 to $1,200 per month, 10 three-bedroom units renting from $1,275 to $1,300 per month, and one one-bedroom unit renting for $1,050, plus utilities. Anagnost described the rents as "comparable, maybe a little above" the market, but noted the quality of the units exceeds much of the rental inventory in the city.

With Anagnost expecting all the units to be leased by early spring and all 30 units at the Perley Canal Mill are already leased, the two projects stand witness to the demand for rental housing.

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The Apple Ridge apartments in Laconia began leasing in September and are open to all to rent. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

Strip club saga continues

Gilford club owner sues for $51,500


LACONIA — The owner of a former strip club in Gilford has sued his most recent lessee for breach of contract, saying the man never paid him the $51,500 they had agreed upon as a lease price.

Williard Drew claims that Thomas Lyons of Hampton agreed to pay him the money in installments that were due in increments dating from June of 2015 through September of 2015.

Drew also claims the two had a deal whereby one of Lyons' employees could live in one of the rental cottages on Drew's property for a reduced price of $160 a week. In his suit, he claims Lyons unjustly enriched himself because he didn't abide by the terms of the lease and he is demanding an additional $9,760.

The former Mardi Gras North was closed by a drug raid in 2011 that was apparently triggered by a lengthy investigation by the state Drug Task Force. Following the raid, the club stayed open for a while but ultimately closed as Drew faced accusations from the state Liquor Commission for improperly allowing someone to lease his liquor license and for actions allegedly committed by the lessees at the time. His license to operate was temporarily revoked.

Drew had no day-to-day involvement in operating the business in 2011 and was ultimately absolved of all wrongdoing, except for a few minor liquor violations. He paid a small fine.

According to the recent suit, Lyons and Drew entered into an original contract in June of 2013. Drew claims that Lyons rearranged the interior of the building such that it no longer meets Gilford's safety codes, that he removed or caused to be removed some equipment and fixtures in the restaurant/bar area and left them on the patio where they were damaged by the elements.

Drew also claims that Lyons started to install a new heating system that he never finished, meaning the building cannot be used in the cold months.

He claims he and Lyons renegotiated their contract in June of 2015 but Lyons has failed to meet any of the new terms.

When reached for comment, Lyons expressed disbelief that Drew had filed suit.

"Wow," he said repeatedly, finally saying that he had "no clue" Drew had filed suit against him. He verified that he still lives at the same address and doesn't understand why the paperwork had not be served as of Monday. The suit was filed in mid October.

Lyons said that he reopened the business under the name of Kelsey's at the Grant in January of 2014 and received an exotic dancing permit in November of 2013 from the Gilford selectboard.

"I lost a lot of money there," said Lyons. "In order to do the deal, I gave (Drew) around $100,000 but when he sued the town, they shut us down because it wasn't up to code."

"I lost my shirt," he continued.

He said he operated from January of 2014 until November of 2014 when Drew sued the town for violating his U.S. constitutional rights for not issuing him an exotic dancing permit in 2012 when he tried to reopen the club after being cleared by the Liquor Commission for most of the 2011 charges. Drew won a settlement from the town of Gilford of $118,000.

Lyons also said that the employee living in one of Drew's rental units was "a mutual thing" but once the town closed them down, there was no money flowing into the coffers to stay open.

"He sued the town. The town sent the fire inspector down," said Lyons on Monday. "Every time I went left, they went right."

Other claims listed in Drew's suit against Lyons are the breach of the implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and that he violated state law because his conduct was allegedly "wanton, oppressive, and done with malice."

Drew has also asked for legal fees. He is represented by attorney Allen Lucas of Wolfeboro.

Other side to the story - Mayhews to respond in court about alleged crematorium smells


MEREDITH — The late ABC radio personality Paul Harvey, known for his "The Rest of the Story" segments. has a convert in a Carroll County judge.
Judge Amy Ignatius, who is weighing whether to at least temporarily halt a local crematorium from operating has said she will delay her decision until the funeral director has the chance to respond to allegations from an abutter.
On Oct. 17, Queen City lawyer Marc van Zanten and his clients Peter and Kelley Mayhew failed to show up at a hearing at Carroll County Superior Court. They were scheduled to present evidence as to why the court should reject claims by their neighbors Doug and Leslyee Frederick that their crematorium is a public nuisance. The Fredericks assert that the crematorium at the junction of Route 3 and Cataldo Road in Meredith, produces a sickening smell and emits an ash-like particulate that falls on their property.
After the Fredricks, their legal team and 17 witnesses, many of whom traveled from out of state to attend, the judge allowed testimony to proceed despite the absence of the Mayhews and their attorney.
On Oct. 19, Ignatius issued a written order detailing that the plaintiff's counsel had received notice of the hearing but that as a result of "internal miscommunication" at his law firm, it was not placed on his calendar.
The court decided to allow the plaintiffs to obtain copies of the photographs and video recordings that were submitted as evidence during the hearing as well as a recording of the testimony. Attorney van Zanten was also given leave to file written arguments and/or a sworn affidavit or response. All filings must be submitted by Nov. 2.
Last May, the Mayhews, who own and operate Mayhew Funeral Home Inc., sought a court order temporarily restraining the Fredericks from making unsubstantiated claims regarding their crematorium and the impact it has on abutting property.
While the court denied the Mayhews' request to silence the Fredricks who formerly operated the American Police Motorcycle Museum out of a building next door to the funeral home, an underlying suit that claims the Fredrick's continued public complaints have defamed the Mayhews, remains ongoing.
The Fredericks in turn counter sued, asking a judge to find that the crematorium is a nuisance and as such should be shut down, or at least temporarily closed until changes can be made to abate the problems the Fredericks claim have forced them to close their museum.
In asking a judge to muffle the Fredericks from making continued public complaints, the Mayhews argued that since 2013, the couple have disparaged and defamed their business by making false statements that the crematorium deposits "human remains" on their property, regularly gives off malodorous dark smoke, and was put in without proper authorization.
The Mayhews cite testing done by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services in May 2016 during which no smoke or ash was observed coming from the crematorium stack, but charge that the Fredericks have continued to tell municipal and state officials, townspeople and the media, that the facility exceeds regulatory limits and is depositing human ash on their property.
The Fredricks have acknowledged making such statements, but assert they are neither false or defamatory.
In denying the Mayhews' request, Ignatius held that issuing an injunction is in and of itself an extraordinary measure, but that granting one against the Fredericks, amounts to restraint of free speech.
Ignatius ruled that she was not persuaded that without an injunction, that the Mayhews would be immediately and irreparably harmed by the Fredericks' statements. She further found that the Mayhews had not shown they had a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the underlying case.
But the judge did warn the Fredericks that while they were not under any court order, "They make disparaging statements at their peril."
If evidence later proves that the ash they complain of is coming from a source other than the crematorium, does not contain what they call "human remains" or there are other allegedly defamatory statements, the Fredericks could face monetary damages, the judge wrote in a July 26 order.
Four days before the hearing van Zanten failed to attend, he filed a motion asking the judge to extend the deadline for the two sides to share their respective evidence until March 30. Attorneys William Woodbury and Mark Mallory, who represent the Fredericks and the motorcycle museum, which closed its doors in July, assented to the request, which was granted by the judge on Oct. 24.
A final pretrial hearing is now scheduled for March 31. If the parties are unable to reach agreement following mediation, jury selection is set for April 10.