To the voters of Gilford:
I am writing to urge you to vote for the two articles dealing with agritourism authored by the Gilford Planning Board – articles 7 and 8 on the warrant – and against the two petitioned articles, whose lead petitioners are Andy and Martina Howe – articles 4 and 5.
The Planning Board, in its Article 8, has tried to reach a balance between the rights of the Howes to expand their agritourism activities, support of reasonable agritourism activities in residential zones and the rights of abutters and neighbors in those zones. As a result, the Planning Board articles are more restrictive in their definition of agritourism than the petition article defining agritourism (Article 4).
The petitioned article has almost no restriction and call for the allowance of unrestricted agritourism in all zones. For example, fairs would be allowed in residential zones. When asked what this meant, Mr. Howe replied, "Think Gilford Old Home Days."
The other petitioned article (Article 5) calls for the rezoning of the Howes' land off Gunstock Hill Road, which they presently farm as Timber Hill Farm. This re-zoning would allow agritourism on that land regardless of which of the definitions of agritourism passes on this ballot. The reason given by Mr. Howe when asked the purpose of the reasoning was "to promote agriculture and Aagritourism."
The other Planning Board article amends the present article dealing with nuisances in the town to include agritourism. Mr. Howe agreed with this article during the hearings.
The Planning board is in favor of and supports both agriculture and agritourism. But in supporting them, the Board must also consider the welfare and rights of its citizens including abutters and neighbors. That is what the Board has tried to do in Articles 7 and 8 both for the present and the future. Agriculture and
agritourism are good for the town and the state but not at the cost of severely disturbing the rights and quality of life of abutters, neighbors and the town and should be appropriately regulated.
I urge you strongly to vote for Articles 7 and 8 and against Articles 4 and 5 on this year's ballot.
Disclosure – I am writing this as a private citizen of the town of Gilford; I serve on the Gilford Planning Board as Chairman.
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 342