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Selectmen voice opinions on potential Lion's property projects

March 31, 2010
MOULTONBORO — Town officials discussed options and planning assumptions for the Lion's Club property, with selectmen asking for a different plan than was originally presented.

Thursday's workshop was the first in a series of proposed discussions leading up to a future public hearing on the Lion's Club property. A week earlier, the Board of Selectmen received a petition signed by 252 voters asking for all work and expenditures on the property be halted until the Board holds a public hearing on the property's use. Members of the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board also expressed concern with the current plans with a soccer field on the right of the property by Old Route 109 and wetlands.

Residents have also expressed concern with a footprint of a building on the master plans for the property. Town officials said the structure is there for planning purposes, though many residents are concerned this may lead to the construction of a community center design that was voted down at the 2008 town meeting.

Board of Selectmen Chair Joel Mudgett said plans have included a soccer field and some type of building for a community center, though any additional project will have to be approved by voters at town meeting.

"It's not anything anyone's trying to sneak in," Mudgett said.

Mudgett said he was told by the engineer that putting all the potential structures on the property, including a building, soccer field, softball fields, and others, might be possible, though would require much work and money.

All members of the board said they were in support of the soccer field, a project approved by voters in 2009.

"I don't have a problem with a soccer field," said Selectman Ed Charest. "I have a problem with where it's going to go. "

Selectmen Betsy Patten said she did not like the phasing plan for the structures.

Charest said the Lions Club's interest in their discussions with the town were to so something with that property

"I picture a small little building to be used as a community center if need be," Charest said. "(In 2008) it morphed into something else and he people of this town saw it and said no."

Money was put aside for the construction of the field.

"I don't want to see a big structure built. I want to see the field there," he said.

Charest said the town did need a place for groups to meet, though not one like the design initially presented.

Patten said there needed to be a more concise drainage plan than the one presented to the Planning Board. Mudgett said that perhaps a plan could be considered without the Lion's Club building on the property.

Terenzini said the project was more a matter of programming than engineering. The engineer could design the project around programming needs and less programming meant more ease in planning.

Patten said the project could start small and any building could be constructed in phases.

Charest and Mudgett said the field could be moved to the left-hand side of the property away from the wetlands and road.

Terenzini said this plan might result in not having enough space for future projects and space needed to be planned. Charest said any future building could be a long time out, though Terenzini said factors for space and drainage needed consideration now.

Terenzini said he planned building, if done in three sections, would not have enough land for the full build-out if the soccer field was moved to the left.

Patten spoke in favor of having a soccer field with some open space if a building was going to be put there. She also advocated that the town follow zoning ordinances for the project.

"I don't want to totally ignore the zoning ordinance," Patten said. "We should morally be able to do what we've asked everyone else to do. Just because the RSA says we don't have to, I don't think we should ignore it."

Terenzini said specifically following the ordinances would potentially lock the town in and asked how closely the zoning ordinances were followed for the construction of buildings such as the Public Safety Building and the library.

"To say that you're going to follow zoning for this project would be to say you're going to follow zoning from this point forward," Terenzini said.

Charest disagreed, saying the town could put up anything it wanted, but the board would not be comfortable with that. Mudgett said people already apply for variances or special exceptions when they build. Patten said she doubted the town buildings were "totally out of compliance."

Patten said the town could request planning for a building two to three times the size of the Lion's Club building, though said this would only be a concept. Terenzini suggested that the board remain with the originally proposed footprint. If the Lion's Club building is gone, space will need to be factored in for storage, equipment, and other utilizations for the project.

Members of the board said any plans should not factor a building larger than two-and-a-half times the size of the Lion's Club building.

Terenzini said he would have the engineer come back with a proposal, or a Concept F that would cost around $1,500 to complete.

"It's important for us to be able to come up with a solution that is what we can afford now and what we can afford in the future," Patten said.

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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