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More restrictions on what you can build at the Weirs are not needed

To The Daily Sun,

City Councilor Brenda Baer missed the point of my letter.

First, I am speaking for myself and not my husband. I am an individual with my own thoughts. I will only respond this one time for clarity.

I was upset with the mayor's presentation, his way to bypass normal procedures of a zoning change and his attitude. There are starting points and there are approved, sensible starting points. It should have been presented to the boards, city departments for their expertise, not riddled with questions and his assumptions.

The Number 1 issue is, is there a need for a zoning change? This "corridor" is already zoned commercial. Currently there are more than 10 lots for sale. Anyone can ask for variances. It's not a situation of "if we build it they will come." The proposal is only asking to put more restrictions on property that is having difficulty selling already.

I disagree with no residential. There are three large parcels that would make great residential/rental areas, high value ones. Great lake views are highly desirable. The walk to proximity to Weirs Beach and the resort amenities could add greater interest.

Convention/wedding venue would make a hotel very, very much needed. The view of the lake, islands and mountains is incredible year-round. A place to get snowmobiles on the lake would be a great marketing tool. Hotels could make special packages with the ski areas and even run a bus service to be sure they return to them for dinner or night life. Increase population increases commercial development.

I also disagree with no green requirements. It prevents the city to require it when needed; i.e. anything endangering our water supply, if someone prefers to build football field-size buildings here instead of the industrial parks available, green space could protect the view. Visitors come to New Hampshire to see the woods.

Lakeport Landing did a beautiful job on Lily Pond Road. Landscaping in front, that is well maintained and no one can realize how big the two boat storage buildings are. Look next door to see the contrast of what outdoor storage is and how much worse without a green area to block the view.

The Lakes Region Panning Commission is a place; 30 towns surrounding the lake get much of their information for planning. They have the expertise (land planners, engineers etc) and can finish the Master Plan soon. Why put the cart in front of the horse?

Winnipesaukee is special. I believe this proposal will stifle growth and hurt exactly what everyone wants, a larger tax base. The Weirs could become the maximum tax return to Laconia.

As mentioned, Bike Week must be discussed with its declining numbers.

Yes, Laconia has/is spending money on the infrastructure in The Weirs; caused by several 100-year storms in the same summer. Flooding took the boardwalk, part of the street, the railroad tracks and beach out. A conservation technician felt it was a combination of rain plus so much land was strip cleared, leaving little green to help prevent the devastation.

I have heard that story about Rusty McLear, mostly during the secession attempt of The Weirs. Yesterday I was told he did not go forth because the area is filled with Indian relics and the cost to deal with them. Rusty McLear started the successful Meredith process by doing what was needed ... and the people came and the results are obvious. Don't hurt the chances of growth with this proposal, more restrictions are not needed. Having a PR person to promote Laconia would help.

Lastly, I'd like to thank the many who complimented my testimony; also, to thank those that praised my letter. Please, it is important to tell any or all councilors or write letters to the editor. Many councilors have been there so long, they need to hear new voices. The other meeting she referred to ... the council denied the proposed zoning for the Weirs Boulevard. The council appeared unprepared, as did some business owners. The zoning was protecting what was there, versus adding used car dealerships in this waterfront residential/resort area.

Mary Hutchins


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Please consider volunteering for or donating to New Beginnings

To The Daily Sun,

New Beginnings is raising awareness and encouraging community participation during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. This year's theme is a powerful one, Awareness plus Action will spur Social Change (Awareness + Action = Social Change). By lifting the voices of victims and survivors and providing opportunities to all those who want to progress the movement, we will create the social changes that eliminate violence for all.

The statistics continue to show how much domestic violence negatively impacts our local communities and the overall safety of the nation. One in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her lifetime, and, on average three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.

"While physical marks may often be the most obvious signs of the harm caused by domestic violence, the true extent of the pain goes much deeper. Victims not only face abuse, but often find themselves left with significant financial insecurity," writes President Obama in his official proclamation.

The economic downturn has had a devastating effect on local programs working to serve survivors of abuse. While a bad economy does not cause domestic violence, it can make it worse. At the same time, there are fewer options for survivors to escape. According to the 2012 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey, nearly eight out of 10 domestic violence shelters nationwide reported an increase in women seeking help, while the vast majority experienced decreases in funding.

Last year, New Beginnings served 927 victims and survivors while providing shelter to almost 50 women and children fleeing violence. That is, 927 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends. But you can make a difference in their lives! By participating in awareness events throughout the month of October you can become the change we hope to see.

On Oct. 19, starting at 11 a.m., our organization will be raising awareness at the Lakes Region Community College cafeteria with brochures and representatives from New Beginnings to answer your questions.

National #PurpleThursday is Oct. 20. Show your support for victims of domestic violence by wearing purple.

Members of the healthcare community will find Oct. 12's Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day especially helpful. This nationally-recognized day raises awareness and educates healthcare professionals about healthy relationships and how to offer referrals to domestic violence advocates.

If you're planning a night out, Temple B'nai Israel is hosting its third biannual "We Care" fundraising gala on Nov. 19 at New Hampton School's McEvoy Theater. The event will feature live music by North Shore A Capella, featured on NBC's The Sing Off. Complimentary food and refreshments will be served, and there will be ample space for dancing. All proceeds from the event will support New Beginnings-Without Violence and Abuse and our sister agency in Plymouth, Voices Against Violence of Plymouth.

You can find out more about our events or about other ways to help by visiting: or calling 528-6511. Please consider volunteering for or donating to New Beginnings, the only sexual assault and domestic violence center and shelter serving Belknap County.

Please join us, and support our mission to increase safety and healing for victims and prevent violence before it occurs. If you need help or information, domestic violence advocates at New Beginnings are standing by to help. Our 24-hour support line is 1-866-644-3574. You don't have to be in crisis to call.

Aileen Castillo
Development VISTA

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