Gilford selectboard rejects agritourism for technical reasons

GILFORD – Selectmen rejected a proposed warrant article that would add agritourism to the town zoning ordinance last night after telling lead petitioner Andy Howe there were two clerical errors that made it impossible for them to accept.

Initially, said Town Administrator Scott Dunn, there is no provision for an "emergency" town meeting for a petitioned warrant article regarding zoning. Secondly, he said the warrant article should have been written to reference New Hampshire State Law RSA 21:34-a:vi, which is the state definition of agritourism.

Howe attended Wednesday's meeting and said he understood and would be submitting a similar warrant article before the deadline of Dec. 7 and could only be considered at the March annual Town Meeting.

Howe's intent is to amend the Gilford Zoning Ordinances to added a definition of agriculture and a definition of agritourism – as defined by RSA 21:31-a:vi – so that agritourism, like agriculture, can be permitted by right in all zones.

Howe and his family own Timber Hill Farm, which has been in the eye of a local hurricane regarding agritourism, farm-to-table events like weddings, and the future of his 250-acre farm on Gunstock Hill Road in the single-family residential zone.

His neighbor opposes his proposal because she believes the noise from weddings and other like events would disrupt the quality of her life and devalue her property.

Both sides are represented by counsel in what has become an prolonged and acrimonious battle that has the town's Zoning Board of Adjustment and the town's Planning Board each seeking the advice of their own counsel. Though farm-to-table activities were ordered stopped by the town code enforcement officer, the Zoning Board has twice voted not to uphold the order.

Right now, the definition of agriculture in Gilford is found under ordinance 4.7.1 titled Open Spaces and allows for "orchard, vegetable, garden, nursery, daily farm, commercial animals, poultry, live stock or other commercial activity. Home farming is allowed in all zones."

Pittsfield man arrested for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl

LACONIA – A Pittsfield man was released on $50,000 personal recognizance bail on Dec. 1 and ordered to stay out of Belmont after allegedly sexually assaulting his girlfriend's 7-year-old daughter three times this year.

After appearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Emmanuel J. Ham-Ying, 22, was ordered to live in Conway and to have no contact with children under 16.

His official address as listed on police complaints is 91 Clough Road in Pittsfield.

The Belmont prosecutor asked for $50,000 cash-only bail, while Ham-Ying's attorney argued he had a place to stay away from the alleged victim and should be given personal recognizance bail.

According to the three complaints and the affidavit obtained from the court, the victim told her mother in late November that Ham-Ying had been assaulting her for the past several months. The three assaults include two charges of inappropriate touching and one charge of self-gratification that involved the victim.

Affidavits also stated the victim's mother confronted Ham-Ying and he allegedly admitted to her that he was sorry for what he did but that he was not aware the child was awake. He allegedly told her he hated himself but when "nothing happened after the first time he did it again."

On Nov. 24, she reported it to police, Ham-Ying moved out of the apartment.

On Nov. 29, Belmont Police were called to the home for a report that Ham-Ying was trying to access the house because he allegedly heard the police were investigating whether or not he molested the victim's mother's other children and to say he had not.

The affidavit for his arrest was sworn on Nov. 30.

Police continue to investigate and said additional and/or upgraded charges could be forthcoming.

Correction

The third paragraph of a story which appeared on Page 9 in Thursday's edition concerning Gunstock's payments to the county should have said that Rep. Brian Gallagher (R-Sanbornton) said that Gunstock should be paying double what it currently pays to the county, not that the county should be paying double.