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Winnipesaukee access highlighted at town deliberative session

February 10, 2010
The town deliberative session went quickly last Wednesday night, with 31 proposed warrant articles on the ballot but only a few comments from the public.

Article 9 generated the most discussion from residents and local business owners who are concerned over additional boat launching restrictions on public boat launching ramps. Petition warrant article 9 states that "related parking and storage facilities on shorefront lots under certain circumstances," will be restricted, but that the proposal would allow for private boat launching on shorefront lots as an "accessory" use under certain circumstances.

Resident Steven Nix said he decided to propose this same article that did not pass years ago to avoid excess noise and disturbance on Winnipesaukee and restrict public boat launching. Nix referred to the Glendale facilities in town and explained that this proposal is meant to avoid increasing numbers.

"The town needs to step back and look where we will be in another 10 years. There are already 17 boat launches on Winnipesaukee that do allow people to launch their boats," said Nix.

After Nix further explained the purpose of Article 9, resident Skip Murphy stepped to the microphone.

"Is this petitioned warrant article a result of trying to keep Ames Farm from having community activity?" asked Murphy.

Nix said that the article was not geared towards any particular property, and that it was solely a "forward" planning tool for the town to decide where they want to be in the next few years.

When asked for his opinion, since the Planning Board did not recommend the article, Town Planner John Ayer said he personally believed the article would affect Ames Farm's business, but pointed out that the Planning Board wasn't recommending the article because it didn't have enough time to research its effects.

Peggy Ames, a non-resident but fifth generation owner of Ames Farm, addressed her concern over this particular article. She noted that Ames Farm is in the midst of celebrating their 120th anniversary year.

"I truly believe this is directed towards us. We are one area that will be affected by the ordinance and it will restrict us even more. There is already zoning in place that is protecting launching," said Ames.

Article 10 generated similar conversation, calling for proposals such as a 50-foot protective buffer to be set adjacent to wetlands.

Conservation Committee member Diane Hanley said these regulations are "desperately needed," and that other surrounding towns are already in the process of implementing them, since the quality of Winnipesaukee may soon be affected.

Resident Jack Stephens said he saw this as "land compensation," and felt that moving back even further on private property was not necessary.

Conservation Committee member Everett McLaughlin said that Gilford is one of the only towns in the area that does not have wetland buffers, and that it would work for water quality and wildlife.

Although Ames is not a resident, she said her business is located in town, and that she feels she should be allowed to attend specific meetings to address some of these "unknowns."

"The majority of property (on Ames) is inlands and will be greatly affected by any buffer zone. I want to attend meetings to have input," said Ames.

Resident Barbara Aichinger also spoke on behalf of her petitioned warrant article, Article 8, claiming that she and other residents had their lots "involuntary merged" by the town, and that this may have a costly price for these particular residents. Her proposal asks that involuntary lot merging be eliminated. She said she finds the pattern to be "inconsistent and unfair."

Residents can vote on the warrant articles and elect Town Officials on an official ballot Tuesday, March 9, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Gilford Middle School Gymnasium.

Martin Lord & Osman
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