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Will anyone who doesn't like Historic District regs be able to leave?

To The Daily Sun,

Two petition warrant articles have been placed on the Gilmanton ballot that would remove properties that are inside and part of the Meetinghouse Historic District. It is important to consider the unintended consequences of these petitions.

The "district" will become a list of properties not tied with a common border. In the future, will anyone who doesn't like an Historic District regulation petition for removal from the district? Will efforts to protect the historic buildings in the districts from incompatible development cease?

The voters of Gilmanton established two Historic Districts in order to preserve and safeguard the historic nature of Meetinghouse and the Corners areas. A Historic District Commission was formed with the authority to see that ordinances and regulations approved by the voters were enforced. Over the years, the commission, with town approval, has refined these. The regulations reflect what would have been appropriate during the designated time period of the districts, 1790-1840.

There are some non-period buildings in the districts. When an application for a non-period building is presented to the HDC, the goal is to see if the project can be done and remain in compliance with the regulations. Changes can be made to non-period buildings so that the change is not in conflict with the regulations.

Decisions of the HDC are made on a case-by-case basis reflecting the ability of the project to comply. Past owners and the HDC have found solutions that comply with the regulations.

The persons that are petitioning to have their properties removed from the Historic District bought them with full knowledge that their properties were in restricted neighborhoods bound by regulations passed by the voters of the town. This is not unlike buying a condo or settling into a 55-and-over community. Both petitioners have met multiple times with the Historic District Commission in an effort to accomplish their goals within the confines of the regulations. Despite accommodations offered by the HDC, both petitioners chose not to comply.

There is an expectation that the rules will be followed for the benefit of all members of the community. Voters of Gilmanton decided to protect its historic assets and expect that the governing body of the town would enforce the regulations that have been set forth.

These petitions have the potential to undermine the purpose of the HDC. The HDC believes these warrant articles are not in the best interests of Gilmanton. We do not recommend these petitions. The Planning Board has voted "not to recommend" these petitioned articles.

We ask the voters of Gilmanton to vote "No" on Warrant Articles 5 and 6.

Deborah Chase, Ernest R. Hudziec, Allen Everett, Matt Grasberger

Gilmanton Historic District Commission

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Genesis Behavioral Health served 167 Gilford residents in FY 2014

To The Daily Sun,

On Tuesday, March 10, the voters of Gilford will go to the polls to decide how their tax dollars will be appropriated. As a former Gilford resident and member of the Genesis Behavioral Health Board of Directors, I ask my fellow community members to vote "Yes" on Article 22 to support emergency mental health care for all Gilford citizens.

Genesis Behavioral Health (GBH) is the community mental health center serving Belknap and southern Grafton Counties. A private, non-profit organization founded in 1966 by Dr. George "Pete" Harris, a Gilford pediatrician who recognized the critical need for mental health services in the community, GBH provided behavioral health care to 3,642 Lakes Region children, families, and adults in Fiscal Year 2014.

GBH served 167 Gilford residents in Fiscal Year 2014 and provided $23,453 of uncompensated care — care the organization provided but for which they will not receive reimbursement. Forty-six Gilford residents used emergency services in FY14.

This critical, safety net organization asks all 24 towns in its catchment area to contribute to the Emergency Services (ES) program, using a formula based upon the town's population to ensure fairness. ES provides any resident of Gilford experiencing a mental health emergency with access to a Master's Degree-level clinician and psychiatrist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, regardless of their ability to pay. Services are provided through a 24-hour hotline, in person or via telemedicine to ensure rapid access to care.

We know from the headlines that the mental health crisis in New Hampshire is real. The National Institute on Mental Health reports that one in four adults experience a mental health disorder in a given year.

Without proper treatment, mental illness affects one's ability to work, participate in school, contribute to the community and maintain relationships. The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States, causing unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives. Reduced access to mental health care leads to increased demand on many of the systems in our community, including emergency rooms, law enforcement, first responders, courts, corrections, schools and municipalities.

GBH not only helps those in need, but its services also reduce costs for our town and improve the health and safety of our community.

ES is often the gateway into services for people in need of mental health treatment. Access to behavioral health care was identified as a top priority in the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health's 2013 Community Needs Assessment. Mental health related emergency department visits/observation stays in the Lakes Region are significantly higher than the overall New Hampshire rate (1,541.5 per 100,000 vs. 1,409.9). The need for crisis intervention in our community is evident.

Thank you for supporting GBH for the past five years. Any one of us, at any time, could be in a position to need their services. I am confident that the people of Gilford will, once again, choose wisely and continue to appropriate funds to this worthwhile organization.

Dr. Kelley J. White

Laconia

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