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Building made for a post office gets a makeover

March 04, 2009
After a long time in limbo the building that was designed for a local post office is being changed to accommodate professional offices.

"There has been constant interest in the building but the economics has been hard for everyone," building owner Mike McGinley said prior to his meeting with the Planning Board Monday. "We are open to ideas but we aren't bringing anything definite to the meeting."

McGinley had been working for seven years with the postal department to bring a post office to Gilford and after no response from the agency, he has decided to change the use of the building so he can utilize it. McGinley went before the Planning Board to request the necessary site plane changes to encompass a site without a post office.

Jeff Lewis, one of the engineers working with McGinley said that there were three requests of the board. The first is a change of use request, which asks the board to allow them to use the site for professional offices. The second request is a boundary line change that would better accommodate what is planned for the second lot next to the post office, which is another building. The new building is the third request for the site.

One of the concerns for the board is that some of the plans were not submitted in time for the meeting and so a discussion occurred about whether the board could accept the application as complete without that information. John Ayer, director of the Planning Department said that he felt they had enough information to make an informed decision and thought it would be prudent to go ahead. When the public was asked for comment on of the site neighbors stepped forward.

"I'm here representing the hotel that's near the site," said Mark Woglom, of Opechee Construction. "There are some things we'd like to see and we have submitted about three pages of suggestions to Mr. McGinley."

Woglom mentioned some of these items were small like showing where the electrical placements are going to be on the plans along with the transformers. The biggest concern for the hotel was the planned retaining wall. He said that he didn't think the ratio listed was possible in Gilford and that they felt a specialist needed to be hired to come up with a plan.

"You don't know what's going on that next lot," said Woglom. "We'd like to see the phases of the development planned out to take into account the third phase being delayed for a number of years or indefinitely."

Woglom said that he wanted to be clear that they are not against the project and they want to see the project develop as long as it is consistent with the needs of the rest of the development. Lewis said that he doesn't see any problem with the requests and added that they were willing to work with the hotel on the development with their concerns in mind.

The Planning Board approved the change of land use request, but tabled the other two requests so that there could be another site study to address the concerns brought up by the hotel and the board. The matter will be discussed at the Planning Board meeting on May 18 to allow time for a site study meeting.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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