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Ames Farm boat launch needs petition

July 29, 2009
Although Ames Farm is working to resolve their boat launching issues for next summer, aggrieved members of the public who can no longer utilize the property's boat launch have been calling Town Hall looking for answers.

After hearing numerous complaints from people who are used to having the Ames Farm boat launch at their disposal, Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn sent a notice to the public to clarify the situation.

Dunn explained in his notice that Ames Farm is located in a single-family residential zone, a zone where the Zoning Ordinance does not permit boat launching. He wrote that "Ames Farm never followed through on its attempts to get permission from the Planning Board to allow commercial boat launching until 2008, at which time it was approved as a grandfathered use."

After Ames Farm neighbors appealed the Planning Board's decision to continue allowing the property to have a public boat launch, the Zoning Board ruled that commercial boat launching is not permitted in single-family residential zones and that the Planning Board didn't have the authority to approve the launch as a grandfathered use.

Dunn has addressed the concerned public and said he has also discussed the situation with the owners of Ames Farm. Dunn said Ames Farm needs to take the initiative and work with town officials, but the solution will likely depend on a vote at the next town meeting.

"I met with the folks at Ames Farm to discuss their options," Dunn said. "They are taking initiative. I've had a few conversations with them."

The next step in the process is for Ames Farm owners to sign a petitioned warrant article, said Dunn.

"If they do petition, the Planning Board will have a hearing," he said.

For now, Dunn wants to keep people in the Gilford area, and has suggested contacting Fay's Boat Yard or Silver Sands Marina for an alternative to Ames Farm's launch.

Martin Lord Osman
Tilton School
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