Leaf Dumping

A Laconia Department of Public Works truck dumps a load of yard waste on to property at 150 Young Road, in Gilford, last week. On Friday town officials prevailed upon the city and a private hauler to stop bringing the material to the site on the grounds that the accumulating bags of leaves constituted a probable zoning violation. (Courtesy photo)

GILFORD — The city of Laconia has ceased dumping truckloads of leaves on land in an outlying residential area of town at the behest of Gilford town officials who said the accumulating yard waste was an apparent violation of the town’s zoning ordinance.

The town called Laconia Public Works Director Wes Anderson and asked that the city stop bringing the material to land at 150 Young Road in Gilford, a sparsely populated area near the Belmont town line, Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Tuesday.

As a result of the plea from Gilford, Laconia is now bringing the bags of leaves to the Gilford Solid Waste Center, Laconia Public Works Director Wes Anderson said Tuesday. Anderson said the city had been hauling truckloads of bagged leaves collected from residential areas to the Young Road site for the past month.

A private hauler was also told to stop dumping yard waste there as well, town Code Enforcement Officer Dave Andrade said. He said that the amount of material that had been brought to the site was far in excess of what an individual property owner would need for their own use.

Dunn said the property is located in a residential zone and, as such, cannot be used for commercial purposes under the town’s zoning ordinance. He said the matter has been referred to the town’s Planning and Land Use Department.

“They are investigating it and evaluating our options,” Dunn said.

Meanwhile Andrade said he was in the process of drawing up a cease-and-desist order to prohibit the landowner from accepting any more material.

Dunn said the property is owned by Susan Turcotte. But Cal Dunn (no relation to Scott Dunn) said Tuesday that for all practical purposes he is the owner. Turcotte is his fiancee, he said.

Cal Dunn said he did not understand why the town stepped in since the town itself was dumping yard waste on the property last fall.

“It was good enough for the town,” Dunn said.

Scott Dunn said Monday the town did tell private haulers they could bring such material to the Young Road property for about a month last fall when the compost pile at the Solid Waste Center was closed because of construction. But the amount being hauled there last year was far less than what was being trucked there this month, he said.

“A line was crossed, and that needed to be stopped,” Dunn said of the town’s decision to intervene.

The town started receiving complaints from neighbors of the Young Road property last week, Dunn said.

Anderson said Laconia began bringing yard waste to the Young Road property last year after Cal Dunn, who Anderson said is a city resident, called the city and said it could dump the material there.

Andrade said it is unclear what will happen to the material that is already piled on the property. He estimated that as many as 200 truckloads were brought in before the dumping was stopped on Friday.

Anderson estimated the city brought about 50 truckloads to the site.

“What will we do?” Andrade asked. “That needs to be cleared up in my mind.”

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