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Request to allow Curtis Hill Road farm home to be used as tax exempt church tabled at Gilford ZBA

GILFORD — The Zoning Board of Adjustment last night tabled a special exception/change of use request from Arbo Ministries to operate a Curtis Road farm house as a church.

The action came at the request of the applicant after two ZBA members recused themselves saying they have friends or have had clients who are abutters and don't believe they could be fair.

With only four members left to hear the application, Arbo Ministries, represented by Laconia attorneyPatrick Wood, said it preferred to wait until there was a full board present, as was their right. A four-member board can hear and decide a case but it would require still require three positive votes to grant the request.

Last night's meeting was packed with abutters and others from the community who have an opinion on whether or not the special exception should be granted. Many had prepared statements but since the matter was tabled, no one spoke and no presentation was given.

Arbo Ministries has its historical roots in Fort Worth, Texas. Barbara and Steve Arbo purchased the former farm at 14 Curtis Road in March of 2013 and said they want to use the property as a place where others in the ministry can go for retreats, prayer, Bible study and contemplation.

The property on Curtis Road was purchased from the Katrina Carye Trust for $450,000. Katrina Carye said she donated a 6.8-acre parcel directly across Cherry Valley Road to the Arbos.

The former farm is in a limited residential use zone where churches are allowed by special exception.

Should the ZBA grant the special exemption, the property would be considered a church and would not be taxable. The two parcels combined pay $12,000 in annual taxes — $10,000 for the farm and $2,000 for the property across the street.

As it stands now, the Gilford ZBA has only six members — five regular members and one alternate. With attorney Steven Nix and realtor Ellen Mulligan recusing themselves, the selectmen will have to appoint at least one person to sit on the ZBA for it to convene a full board of five members.

The special exception request will be heard on August 26. Although the ZBA will meet in July, Chair Scott Davis will not be able to attend,  meaning that the first time the ZBA can convene with five non-conflicted members is August.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 01:01

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Belmont bandstand restored to original colors

BELMONT — The historic bandstand in the village center has been painted rust and moss green, which are the original colors of the 1908 structure that is more than half-way restored.

Heritage Commission Chair Wallace Rhodes said an historic paint analyst examined the bandstand using camera technology as well as scrapings and borings so the town could recreate the original colors.

The bandstand was built in 1908 during the later part of the Victorian architectural era, said Rhodes. He said bright colors were one of the periods characteristics.

While he doesn't know when, he said the bandstand was likely painted white as part of the Colonial Revival period that came shortly after and in which many buildings were painted white.

"I don't think there's anyone alive that remembers it when it wasn't white," Rhodes said, noting the Colonial Revival period caught on sooner in the cities than in the country — as Belmont was in the early and mid 1900s.

He said the last few steps are re-shingling it with cedar shingles that will turn gray over time. He said the original bandstand had a diamond pattern in the shingles that was more than likely the same rust color as the rest of the bandstand.

Rhodes said the restoration project also includes replacing the ball that was on the top of the roof until about 20-years ago when it blew off in a storm.

The restoration of the bandstand is partially funded by taxpayers and partially funded by a LCHIP grant. Rhodes expects it to be completed by the end of September.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 01:01

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Newfound High track dedicated to retiring coach

By Thomas P. Caldwell

BRISTOL — Generations of students, as well as past and present colleagues, converged on the track at Newfound Regional High School on June 21 to honor retiring coach Earl Mills. The event marked the official dedication of the track as "Mills Oval" with participants doing fun walks and competitive races — many of them former record-holders from Newfound who had not run the track since their high school days.
Mills came to Newfound in 1970 and, on Nov. 17, 2013, he was inducted into the NHIAA Hall of Fame in honor of his long career as a cross-country and girls' track coach. The Newfound Area School Board approved the naming of the high school track the Mills Oval at its meeting on April 14.
Acting as his own master of ceremonies during the morning events, Mills handed out green ribbons to everyone present, declaring "Millsey's Retirement — 1970-2014". He then announced the series of races and fun runs for those who wanted to experience the track.
Between the races and the official ceremonies, when colleagues honored him for his long period of service and dedication, there was a barbecue and pot-luck luncheon, with a large, commemorative cake.
Although he officially has retired, Mills will return to Newfound for Senior Projects.
Mills and his wife, Nancy — also a long-time Newfound teacher — reside in Alexandria.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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City Council approves measure to re-structure Downtown TIF Advisory Board

LACONIA — Following a public hearing last night the City Council unanimously approved a proposal to restructure the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Board.
Established in 2009 when the downtown TIF district was formed, the board advises the council about how to invest the funds accruing to the TIF fund. Originally it consisted of five members, appointed by the council for unspecified terms, the majority of whom must be owners or occupants of property within the TIF district.
Currently two members of the board are city officials, Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunleavy and City Planner Shanna Saunders.
The change will make those holding those positions ex-officio, non-voting members of the board, and provides that all five board members must either own property, reside within or own, manage or represent a business in the district. Moreover, at least three members, a majority of the board, must be residents of the city.
The change also provides for an expiration date of those serving on the board and provides that the five members serve staggered terms of three years apiece. Initially two members will be appointed to three-year terms and two members to two-year terms with the fifth member serving a one-year term.
John Moriarty of the Laconia Main Street Initiative said that the downtown stakeholders support the change and singled out Dunleavy for having done ''an outstanding job.''
''This will allow two additional citizens the opportunity to serve on the board,'' said Moriarty.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 01:15

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