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Holmes clears unregistered vehicles by compliance deadline

June 04, 2009
TUFTONBORO — The long anticipated June 1 deadline for Bill Holmes to clear his property of unregistered vehicles and store the rest in his new building came to a successful conclusion at the Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen's June 1 meeting. Codes officer Jack Parsons gave the green light, and Chairman Dan Duffy said that his visit earlier in the day verified that there were no unregistered vehicles in sight.

Holmes brought pictures of the present conditions for the selectmen to view.

Melanie Ratcliffe, a neighbor who, along with her husband John, has been watching the situation, commented that Holmes had made "remarkable progress" but questioned the remaining presence of a few assorted vehicles. She was told that boats and snowmobiles, vehicles not made to run on the road, do not need to be registered, and that a truck she noticed with a cracked windshield was registered.

In response to Duffy's query as to whether she had any specific questions, Ratcliffe commented, "I wish it had been done six years ago." She said that she and her husband have a lawyer, so she didn't want to comment any more specifically, but stated their desire that the property "meet town ordinances and be managed."

Duffy said that the Ratcliffes should not be using Leavitt Lane, a Class VI road which they use to access a driveway to their barn, without a waiver. She said she would be glad to sign one.

Holmes then asked her if she would please keep her dogs off his property. She replied that she and her husband are "working on it" and considering building a fence because she has heard that dogs are drawn to antifreeze and that with Holmes taking things apart to sell the parts, that it might be present.

Holmes' lawyer asked the board if any fines were pending. They said that there are none. Whether the fines accumulated to date will be waived is a matter to be referred to town counsel.

Other business

Selectman Carolyn Sundquist said, in reference to Mary Ann Murray's request to change the wording on the beach sign, that she would like to keep the present sign. Parsons said that he will get "Lifeguard on Duty" signs from the state.

Duffy read a copy of a letter sent by the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen to the Mirror Lake Protective Association (MLPA) stating its objection to the Association's application to the Department of Environmental Services for stimulus funding for a plan that included "soil incineration at the Wolfeboro Waste Water Treatment Facility spray fields" and "the application of alum into Abenaki Pond and the stream that discharges into Mirror Lake" without informing Wolfeboro officials. Though the funding was not approved, the board said that it hoped that in the future, the Association would notify the town of Wolfeboro of its intentions.

Sundquist wanted to ensure that it is understood that the letter was addressed to the MLPA, not the Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen, and Duffy directed that the board write a letter to the Wolfeboro Board letting them know that the application "surprised us as much as you."

Department updates

Police Chief Andy Shagoury said the department responded to its second underage drinking party of the season. He commented that the process is time consuming. Officers responded at 11 p.m. and continued dealing with the matter until 6 a.m. the next morning, and "there's still lots to do." The teens had also built a fire on the Bald Knob Trail on a day when there was a red light warning.

He also has been investigating other towns' permitting processes for hawkers and vendors, after receiving calls from residents reporting that magazine salesmen had been coming into the neighborhood. Complaints were that a salesman stayed on the porch even though he was not welcome, and that one got "in a huff when told to leave." Shagoury was told that people were not always informed of the purpose of the visit and that salesmen did not fully identify themselves. It was reported that one used his parole card for identification.

Stockman said that unidentified salesmen come in and out of his establishment frequently and said that sometimes pavers or painters knock on doors to advertise their services, as well as various non-profit organizations. He said he felt it was "a pretty gosh darn grey area." Shagoury clarified that it is more for residential than business concerns in response to a question from Parsons.

Stockman also raised concerns about the cost of the permit, listing the number of permits he has to pay for each year as a businessman.

The discussion concluded with Shagoury receiving the go-ahead to check with town counsel on the matter.

Shagoury's year-to-date figures show that in comparison to last year, calls for service, motor vehicle stops, summons, arrest, felonies and incidents are all up, while accidents are down.

Fred Sargent, manager of the transfer station, mentioned that the supply of free recycling bins is almost gone, but he hasn't seen many coming back yet. The new baler is installed and working well, and the new direction signs are in but not yet in place.

Stockman said that a few people have commented on the new speed bumps. When people learn to slow down, he said, they won't be so noticeable.

Parsons said that he still sees a lot of tires in yards that need to be disposed of. He's going to start putting notices on them as he drives around.

Public Input

Karen Granger, a member of the Mill Pond Association, said that she had been asked to speak on behalf of its seven members. She reported increased use of the road by abutters, which raised the question of how to distribute responsibility for maintaining it. Stockman replied that "it wouldn't hurt to talk to abutters to see if they can participate in maintaining and plowing it."

Granger wondered what the protocol is to ask the town to take over the road. She was told that a visit to the planning board is the first step. Duffy suggested that she read pertinent sections of the Local Government Center's publication, "Hard Road to Travel," and noted that the road would have to be deeded to the town. Stockman added that the road has to meet the town specifications.

Selectmen's updates

Duffy attended a second session of an educational course for selectmen at Antioch New England Institute (ANEI) in Keene with the focus on planning board issues.

Stockman reported that the road committee, formed on May 29 to identify Class V and VI roads for the state, met on June 1. Susan Weeks, a committee member, is in the process of correcting distances on the map. Jim Bean, town road agent, attended and the group made note of which roads the town owns and which it doesn't. Stockman said that sometimes a private section is plowed so that the plow can turn around. That service from the town each year does not mean that the road maintenance will eventually be taken over by the town.

Sundquist mentioned that her Friday office hours this week, June 5, are from 10 to 11:30 a.m. She also reported that she attended the Jordan Institute's program on green building techniques at the Wolfeboro Public Library with Mary Ann Murray, a Tuftonboro Public Library trustee, and expressed concerns with the design plans for the proposed public safety building. She encouraged other members of the board to take a look at the plans, which are presently at the Mirror Lake Fire Station.

The board will meet next on June 15 at 7 p.m. at the Town Offices.

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