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Planning Board approves Wal-Mart expansion

July 11, 2012
The Gilford Planning Board voted to approve the application from Route 11 Realty and Trust and S.R. Weiner and Associates, Inc. during their meeting Monday, July 2, authorizing the developers to begin the expansion of the Gilford Wal-Mart into a supercenter.

Steve Smith of Steven J. Smith and Associates, Inc. said the developers had addressed board members' concerns expressed during the last meeting, including a third party review, and had made all necessary adjustments to their plan.

Board Chairman John Morgenstern said that if they accepted all requirements of a revised motion, the board would be able to vote. The revised motion included four sections. The first involved the drainage system monitoring, including an amendment by Selectmen's representative Kevin Hayes regarding periods of steady rain.

In an email, Hayes outlined that a Civil Engineer must inspect their drainage system after every one inch of rain in a 24-hour period for the first year.

The second part of the motion involved the exterior structure, and mentioned that the newly proposed portion was approved, but the old Hanaford section was not, and required the applicants to seek final approval for the appearance of the rest of the shopping center to be uniform with the new section.

The final two parts of the motion required the applicants to seek review and approval from other local, state and federal agencies.

All parties accepted the motion and unanimously approved the application.

John Ayer, Gilford Planning and Land Use Director, commented that working with the applicants through this particular process was a very good experience, and his Laconia counterpart agreed.

Caleb Perrin, project manager for property owners WS Development, said he was thankful to the board and towns for their conduct throughout the process.

According to Perrin, they hope to complete the approval process by the beginning of fall and relocate some of their current retailers and begin to demolish about 22,000 square-feet before winter or by early spring to give the Walmart company a full building season in 2013 for the 39,000 square-foot addition.

Perrin estimated that the new store, about 130,000 square-feet, would be complete in about two years.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord & Osman
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