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Extraordinary effort to return public access TV to Briarcrest; thanks

To The Daily Sun,

Some months ago, Laconia City Council meetings as well as Planning Board meetings were lost to a large segment of residents residing in the southern portion of Ward 4. There being over 200 homes in Briarcrest alone, this meant a loss of city information to the many people who regularly followed the proceedings.

I contacted City Manager Scott Myers, and he in turn contacted MetroCast and our city purchasing agent, Jonathan Gardner. Jonathan got in touch with MetroCast Communications General Manager Edward Merrill. It was a very difficult problem for MetroCast, as the feed for this area of Ward 4 is via Belmont rather than Laconia and because a small segment of Briarcrest lies within Belmont; it was difficult to overcome this problem.

After months of studying this problem, the MetroCast team came up with the only viable solution to provide the Laconia access channel to the area.

The solution is to insert this channel to these people on Channel 98. This will access meetings to most Briarcrest residents with the exception of a portion of Benton Drive and four homes on Brewer Court, and five homes on Darby Drive.

With this solution, 19 Laconia video subscribers will not have access. The rest will be able to once again view city business. It is not perfect, but it is better and can be activated within two weeks.

I would like to thank MetroCast, particularly Ed Merrill, general manager of communications, Scott Myers, city manager, and Jonathan Gardner, purchasing agent for the city of Laconia.

Brenda Baer

Laconia City Councilor, Ward 4

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Danger of smoke pollution & forest fire hangs over zoning application

To The Daily Sun,

The Laconia Zoning Board is considering a request for a zoning special exception to create a campground, retail store, neighborhood store and eating and drinking establishment at 3160 Parade Road. I am an abutter, residing in Meredith, and sharing a common boundary with the subject property, and I want to address the serious health and safety issues involved in this request.

For my family and my neighborhood, the most serious concern is the danger of smoke pollution and of forest fire in the heavily-forested residential area of Windsong Place, Serenity Lane and Sleepy Hollow Road adjacent to the proposed campground. Not only do seven homes such as mine share a forest boundary with the subject property, but a total of 22 homes occupy the predominantly forested neighborhood, in which forest literally surrounds each house. The applicant stated at the March 20 Zoning Board Public hearing that she plans to have some 100 RV sites and an additional unspecified number of tent sites in the proposed campground, all of which would presumably allow open fires.

Our residential area is close to the proposed campground and would certainly be impacted by the smoke of more than 100 open fires — creating not just a nuisance pall of smoke, but an air-quality health hazard.

The forested land along the boundary slopes to the south, receiving strong sun exposure. The soil and the pine-oak-beach forest in that area dries out quickly in the spring and remains dry through the summer and fall. Open fires in such a setting and under such conditions would be a hazard to the many homes in our neighborhood which are surrounded by a characteristically dry forest. Other abutting homes on Parade Road and Pickerel Pond Road in Laconia would be subject to the same air pollution and forest fire dangers.

Due to Pickerel Pond and a large wetland, which do not allow easy access to that wooded area, it would be difficult to fight a fire in that forest. An additional complication is that the territory is in two different fire jurisdictions, so a forest fire starting in Laconia could quickly impact Meredith, where the fire department might not initially be alerted to respond.

There are many other reasons, including traffic volume and hazards, potential trespass, wetland impact, noise, possible unregulated use of firearms, the safety of neighborhood children, water supply and waste disposal problems of a campground and restaurant, and downgrading of the residential zoning protection of the area, to argue against granting the special exceptions.

For the safety and peace of mind of the residents in our adjoining Laconia and Meredith neighborhoods, I hope that the special exceptions which have been requested will be denied, maintaining the current zoning — and the security it provides — for our shared residential area.

Daniel Heyduk

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