To The Daily Sun,
It is regrettable that in recommending a $6,500,000 bond for the proposed Moultonborough Community Center (CC), the Selectboard has totally ignored planning recommendations of the town's Master Plan and Village Vision Report, endorsed at prior town meetings. On February 25, I attended the second statutory bond hearing and was disappointed to learn that the selectmen had virtually no answers to questions on the exact siting and impact of the proposed 20,000-square-foot CC on the village.
My principal reservations are having an oversized structure violating the zoning ordinance and site plan regulations located in the rear of the Taylor property, with access via a new 53 foot wide road onto Route 25 through the middle of the only remaining open space in the village center. This is the last open green space in the center of town, where a Town Common could be created, a high-priority recommendation of the Village Vision Report. Having a paved parking lot for the CC in front of an oversized building would be an ugly addition to the village. The CC at this location will only exacerbate current traffic congestion on Route 25, while destroying the only remaining green space where the town's Christmas tree now stands.
As for a CC, a facility that does not violate zoning, located at the Lions Club or on school property, would be a preferable choice and would cost substantially less. Note, the proposed CC will be 15 percent larger than Meredith's, while Meredith's population is 50% greater than Moultonborough's.
Not only will the CC as proposed violate zoning and planning requirements, but more importantly, it will also eliminate the possibility of a needed local parallel road from Blake Road out to Old Route 109, which would reduce traffic congestion on Route 25. This road was recommended in the Village Vision Report endorsed at the 2015 Town Meeting, and previously suggested by the Lakes Region Planning Commission. To construct a new intersection onto Route 25,with no assurance of DOT approval, will only further overload Route 25.
As for the building design, I for one do not want to walk on a track around a gym with a loud basketball game or practice echoing noise that will permeate the raised roof. I also wonder whether utilization in warmer months will ever rise to the numbers projected when people can be outdoors. As a personal observation, I have belonged to gyms and have observed a significant decline in usage from April through October, when outdoor activities are more attractive.
I also note that there are local private recreational facilities in town, including gyms, yoga studios, fitness clubs and banquet facilities, and wonder what the economic impact on these businesses might be with an "all purpose" CC operating as a gym, function hall, etc. While I advocated for a town pool some years back (when private money was offered for such a facility), as a pool would fill a need not convenient to Moultonborough, the proposed CC does not offer that amenity, which would not compete against other available recreational offerings.
Finally, having served on the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, and on committees for planning and transportation studies, I cannot take seriously a proposal that has not been vetted by the town planner and which has completely bypassed the comment and review process by town boards and commissions. I view the present project as seriously flawed and will vote "NO" at the 2016 Town Meeting.
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