To The Daily Sun,
This is in response to the letters Don Vachon and Bill Adario wrote to The Daily Sun on July 27 about me.
You guys make comments about being angry and spoiled because I did not get my way. That is not the case at all. I'm not happy because Warren Hutchins, before the Laconia Zoning Board, called my intentions and character into question. This is the fifth project I have done in the city and with all the difficulties I have encountered, you have not seen me at one meeting nor read about me in one newspaper addressing one issue.
I understand there are rules and I can honestly say I have followed them on every project. However, people with personal opinions on these boards do not have the right to impose their personal opinions that can affect a plan, otherwise we won't get approvals.
Let's talk about common sense involving our rental housing project here on Washington Street; we had to redo the plans more than three times. The very first time we went before the Planning Board with our plan we had met every regulation and should have received approval that night. We did not get approval that night because of some personal views that came into the conversation that had nothing to do with Planning Board rules.
Why wouldn't the city just require having one set of plans drawn up and placed at the Planning Department for all department mangers go by and review? Ask all the questions, discuss all the concerns, allow someone from the Planning Department to answer them, and so on. Once that process is complete then final changes to the plans can be made, right?
No, instead we have to make eight sets of plans with 12 pages per set on three separate attempts at a cost of $2,000, just so that everyone can look and re-look at the plans over and over again? How does this make any sense? To make matters worse, under someone's personal opinion and view of things (in order to get this plan approved) we are told not to cut down the three oak trees out in front of the project. One of the trees would hang directly over the roof of one of our building unit. Our position was that no trees should hang over a roof because of tree sap and other damages it causes to the roof. But we were told again do not cut the trees. What happens the very next fall season, the acorns fall from the trees and roll down the building roof onto the porch roof and nicely onto the tenant's brand new car. That causes $1,700 in damage to our tenant's car and then it cost me $600 to have the tree guy take down the branches. So are you saying I should be happy that it cost me $2,300 in damages and fixes because of someone's personal view, rather than a Planning Board's rule?
Now regarding the church property: Some of the people worry about me using the church for a short-term storage building and that Mr. Adario mentions in his article that he would not have purchased a home across the street from the church if there had been a storage building there instead. However, the church used the building for their own storage and the City of Laconia used the church property during Motorcycle Week for about 30 years to accommodate their storage and parking lot, and none of these uses fit the rules. So because it's the city, do the rules not apply? When some guy puts his trailer out front or someone chooses to practice riding their motorcycle or a tractor-trailer truck pulls in and parks for the night, I cannot possibly police all that activity, so I offer the fence to restrict the activity and some of you people say I'm a spoiled brat because I find a solution to the problem but again you don't like it.
Just a few examples that there are some people in the neighborhood that like my building because Sundown Condominiums will use it on the nights it's going to snow so that their parking lot can be cleaned up. It is also used as the bus stop where the children use the front overhang during bad weather and the parents park while dropping off and picking up their children for the school bus.
On Monday, July 27, I went to the City Council meeting in Laconia to talk about the need for change on these boards, the need to make this board more user-friendly. Mr. Hutchins was up for his Planning Board appointment and he was voted in 3 to 2 and the person who broke the tie said he is voting "yes" with the understanding the board is going to become more user-friendly. At the end of the meeting I asked if I could speak just for one minute to make an offer and the offer was that I would be the first person interested in sitting down at City Hall to meet with the planning chairman, the zoning manager, and any council member who wanted to participate, prior to getting in front of this "user friendly" Planning Board, to come up with a plan for this church property. (Reimagining Laconia). Well, here is your chance to show us all those smiles on all those "user friendly" boards.
In closing I would just like to say that this is my last letter, but Mr. Vachon you made a comment in your letter that maybe the businesses that do business with me should look at my angry letter and not do business with me anymore. My response to you is that's the exact reason you don't get a lot of business people on these boards, and if you did they would be more understanding of the needs of a business owner. Instead your best shot is to attack my business, one that has nothing to do with my real estate holdings, so talk about boohoo and threatening.
To Mr. Adario in response to giving back, I do not see you out and about cleaning the roadsides to make it a better place to live. I sponsor a person who starts in front of the St. Francis Home in Laconia on Court Street and he goes all the way up the Laconia Bypass stopping at every on and off ramp until he reaches just pass Sawyer's Dairy Bar twice a year spring and fall for the past three years. The first year we picked up more than 133 bags of trash and we separate the cans out for recycle. But I do that because I'm angry that people throw trash out the windows because they don't care about our community like I do. I just find it funny that last Friday after my letter in the paper my business had three calls from people of the city saying my letter hits home and they agree and to keep up the good work.
So you gentleman have a good day, this has been fun and I hope something good will come out of it to make the city a better place to live and do business in. And remember, anyone interested in any of my properties can buy them for the right price.