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Center Harbor asks M'boro for advice on beach enforcement

August 27, 2009
MOULTONBORO/CENTER HARBOR — Two neighboring boards of selectmen met last week to discuss issues that jointly affected them, including shared roads and the shared problem of non-resident beachgoers.

Center Harbor Selectmen Charley Hanson and Randy Mattson met with the Moultonboro Board of Selectmen last week. The selectmen's visit is an annual tradition, with boards visiting each other every other year to discuss issues that affect them jointly.

One perennial issue that both boards deal with is the issue of non-residents parking at the town beaches. Hanson told the Moultonboro selectmen that non-Moultonboro and non-Center Harbor vehicles had been spotted and ticketed at the Center Harbor Town Beach recently. Mattson said that parking is limited at the beach, even for residents.

"People would just walk through the parking lot and see all the Massachusetts plates," said Hanson.

Moultonboro Selectman Betsey Patten pointed out that such could be good for the economy. Mattson replied that since the beach was so visible from NH Route 25, many of those passing by would stop and decide to go to the beach, taking up parking from others.

The Center Harbor selectmen wanted to know how the beach/transfer station stickers worked for Moultonboro as a way to help enforce parking at the beach. Center Harbor has stickers for the transfer station it shares with Meredith, but none for the town beach.

"It works really well," said Selectman Chair Karel Crawford. "We give out the beach/dump sticker for a minimal cost, and it helps us enforce parking at Long Island Beach. If we find cars at the beach without a sticker, they get ticketed."

Crawford said that the town enforced the parking through the Moultonboro Police Department, with the help of a police cadet stationed at the beach. Cadets usually enforced beach parking rules on the weekends, Crawford said.

"It's minimum revenue for the town," said Crawford, noting that the stickers were sold for about $5. "But we're more interested in keeping everyone honest."

The only exception to the situation, Crawford noted, is when the town has a summer resident flying in and using a rental car. In that case, the resident writes a letter in to the town, who grants permission and a letter for beach parking.

Hanson noted that the town was also clamping down on other offenders, recalling the fracas earlier this month that started in Center Harbor and moved to Meredith, in which several juveniles and young men were charged for different offenses. Hanson said the incident started at the Center Harbor basketball courts, and said that their police chief was taking a proactive stance in "modifying bad behavior."

Among other joint issues discussed by the boards, the towns compared their use of town planners. At their latest Town Meetings, Moultonboro approved the hiring of a full-time Town Planner, while Center Harbor approved a part-time "circuit rider" Town Planner through the Lakes Region Planning Commission. Earlier this month, Moultonboro hired Daniel Merhalski as their full-time Town Planner.

"It's worked well," said Selectman Ed Charest. "He's been here just for a short amount of time, and he's helping us to codify things, and prioritized them in a certain order so they can be on the ballot. We're also looking at the long-range, in prioritizing things in the Master Plan."

Hanson asked Charest if he foresaw many changes at the next Town Meeting because of this. Charest said he saw no major issues at hand, but said the Planning Board is still "very concerned" about development on NH Route 25. The town would be looking at major intersections with respect to traffic patterns, and "maintaining and revitalizing the center of town," according to Charest. He also noted that Moultonboro had tried a "circuit-rider" town planner, and it hadn't worked for them.

"We had a lot of support for a planner at Town Meeting," said Hanson. "Especially on the heels of the Sheafe Harbor House, where a planner could have helped with a quicker resolution of that matter."

Patten said that her hope for NH Route 25 is that it wouldn't "end up like the Meredith Route 25 and Route 3 intersection," and said more thought should have gone into that design. Hanson agreed, and called the intersection a "ticking time bomb."

Selectmen also discussed the High Haith Bridge, approved for repair at Center Harbor's latest Town Meeting, which leads to many Moultonboro properties along Squam Lake. Hanson informed the Moultonborough selectmen that they went through the process to receive stimulus funding for the bridge work through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though the funds are "not strictly ARRA," Hanson said that they would receive funding through the government.

Hanson also reported that the town had created a final design for a hydrant at that part of town, and had recently signed off on all the necessary easements for the work.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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