By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — How to prevent through traffic on a dead-end road was among the topics taken up by the Gilford Board of Selectmen last Wednesday evening.
Jon Neal appeared before the selectmen to explain how the road has become a major throughway, allegedly putting residents at risk. He said there used to be a cable across the end of the road, bordering the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club, but the trees to which it was attached are no longer there. Because of its proximity to Fay’s Boat Yard, people are using it as a shortcut and some GPS devices direct people up the road, he said.
Neal wanted to see boulders placed at the end of the road to block traffic, rather than installing another cable, saying there are summer residents making their way to the beach who might trip over a cable.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the yacht club is willing to have a cable there, but was concerned that boulders would prevent access by emergency vehicles. He later said there might be some combination of boulders and cable that would keep regular traffic from passing through and yet still provide for emergency access.
Selectmen voted to give the yacht club 14 days to put up a new cable; otherwise, the town would install it.
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In other business, selectmen agreed to establish a sign ordinance review committee in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Reed vs. Town of Gilbert, that found content-based regulation of speech violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The case was filed by Rev. Clyde Reed against the town of Gilbert, Arizona, which treated signs giving directions to his itinerant church differently from other short-term signs. Gilbert’s sign code put limits on the size and length of time the church’s signs could be displayed, but allowed other types of temporary signs to be larger and stay up longer.
Dunn said the decision means Gilford must treat all signs the same way, which could mean allowing no signs or all signs. The committee would be charged with making a recommendation.
The committee would comprise one selectman, one real estate agent, and at least one citizen.
Selectmen signed a lease-purchase agreement for the new fire truck approved at Town Meeting, and awarded a contract to Spartan Mechanical of Gilmanton Iron Works for HVAC improvements at the Gilford Town Hall.
EJC Engineers, LLC, of Nashua, which has handled heating and cooling work for the Gilford Police Department, came in with a bid of $167,000, which Dunn later had them adjust to remove some work that had not been included in the bid specifications. EJC’s revised bid was $159,000.
Spartan Mechanical’s bid came in at $161,350.
Dunn said both companies have worked for the town and he would support either one.