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Old 03-22-2024, 09:04 AM   #101
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Default School Support

You/your family may not use the school system, but it (school system) is one of the biggest factors in determining real estate value(s). You should ALWAYS support the school system.

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You make good points but the vast majority of the budgets are for the schools and that is something that older people do not use.

I am a senior and pay over $20,000 per year in real estate taxes. Other than snow plowing I use very little of the town services. I have owned the current home for over 20 years have never needed the police or fire department, but it is nice to know they are there.

I spend winters in Florida so there is not much chance I will need those services, or any town services, for 6 months of the year. In my opinion the town is making a profit on me.
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Old 03-22-2024, 10:06 AM   #102
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If you have kids, your kids were educated by the contributions (real estate taxes) of others most likely. Public education is a social contractÖ.like social security. Itís part of living in a cooperative society. Look closely at Scandinavian countriesÖthey are the worlds happiest places ( even with long, cold winters) because they seriously take care of each other with basic standards of living.
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Old 03-23-2024, 07:18 PM   #103
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Actually, the buyers being discussed are not looking at either the school system or the property tax rates in their search for property.

Alton and Gilford use two different school systems to my knowledge and have two very different tax rates.

The only difference that I have noted in this group is that they are coming by air rather than highway; or at least need easy access to the airport for business trips. I am guessing the drive from Manchester on Friday evenings must be brutal.
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Old 03-25-2024, 09:08 AM   #104
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Default It All Depends

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The only difference that I have noted in this group is that they are coming by air rather than highway; or at least need easy access to the airport for business trips. I am guessing the drive from Manchester on Friday evenings must be brutal.
If they're flying commercial I can see where driving up from Manchester might be a chore. However, if they have enough money they can probably use Net Jets and fly directly into Laconia if they're coming from some distance. If they live in the Boston area then a helicopter might make sense because then they can fly directly to the property and get there in less than an hour.

It all depends upon time - how much they're willing use to get there - and money - how much they're willing to spend to get there.

Last edited by Weekend Pundit; 03-25-2024 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Fix a typo
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Old 03-25-2024, 11:21 AM   #105
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They aren't considering these second homes.
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Old 03-25-2024, 02:18 PM   #106
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They aren't considering these second homes.
I don't think we can make that assumption. Yes, some will be primary residences but some will be second...or third...or fourth homes. Goodness knows we see that on Governor's Island.
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Old 03-25-2024, 03:37 PM   #107
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Does Governor's Island even have ten plus acre lots?
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Old 03-26-2024, 10:46 AM   #108
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Does Governor's Island even have ten plus acre lots?
Sort of. The GIC owns a 47 acre parcel on Summit Ave that is in current use. I guess there could be other inland parcels.
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Old 03-26-2024, 03:17 PM   #109
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But it isn't for sale and buildable is it?
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Old 03-27-2024, 12:45 AM   #110
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But it isn't for sale and buildable is it?
There are a number of houses on Summit Ave and around Governor's that are not shorefront. That parcel certainly isn't wetlands. Being owned by all the association members, it probably isn't for sale today. Summit Ave goes straight from the bridge up, up intro the middle of the island. The Gilford tax assessment database lists several properties on Summit Ave.
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Old 03-27-2024, 10:29 AM   #111
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If they go up for sale...
I could probably find them a buyer.
As long as they don't carry too many covenants.
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Old 03-27-2024, 10:34 AM   #112
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But it isn't for sale and buildable is it?
Its most likely deeded common land for the association.
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Old 05-08-2024, 04:55 AM   #113
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The four variances are on the agenda for the June 6 ZBA meeting; should the developer achieve those variances, she will then submit her site plan for review by the Planning Board.

https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...ec697c2c5.html
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Old 05-08-2024, 12:17 PM   #114
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The four variances are on the agenda for the June 6 ZBA meeting; should the developer achieve those variances, she will then submit her site plan for review by the Planning Board.

https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...ec697c2c5.html
This looks like a public relations, damage control puff piece by the Daily Sun, written for the benefit of the owner and developer. They failed to mention that there is an application for a Special Exception for the Commercial Event Facility, which is much different and has a higher approval threshold than just a simple variance. Why didn't the reporter take the time to visit the surrounding neighborhoods of Alton and Gilford to get input from abutters, taxpayers and others that will be negatively impacted by this development?

Time to write letters to the editor of the Daily Sun.
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Old 05-08-2024, 01:06 PM   #115
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The four variances are on the agenda for the June 6 ZBA meeting; should the developer achieve those variances, she will then submit her site plan for review by the Planning Board.

https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...ec697c2c5.html
Headquartered in Boston, Toast Inc (NASDAQ symbol TOST) was founded in 2011 and is capitalized at $14B+. NASADAQ is down a little today, but TOST was up 11.4% when I looked a few minutes ago.. Toast has a variety of software products for restaurant and hospitality management, so it appears they have expertise and funding to do a "fun" project in Alton. I would rather they rebuild Kimball's Castle than develop a rural zoned mountain top in Alton. Or buy the Laconia State School.
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Old 05-08-2024, 01:27 PM   #116
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The problem with LSS, is that the State wants the full boat to cover the risks associated with the mix of historical and environmental negatives on the property. They also want some format of workforce housing in the proposal (not that easy to do with what Toast wants to do) and have encumbered the property with a permanent public access trail even beyond the road to the State park.

The property being proposed hasn't got all those issue with it.
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Old 05-08-2024, 01:31 PM   #117
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This looks like a public relations, damage control puff piece by the Daily Sun, written for the benefit of the owner and developer. They failed to mention that there is an application for a Special Exception for the Commercial Event Facility, which is much different and has a higher approval threshold than just a simple variance. Why didn't the reporter take the time to visit the surrounding neighborhoods of Alton and Gilford to get input from abutters, taxpayers and others that will be negatively impacted by this development?

Time to write letters to the editor of the Daily Sun.
The Sun made no mention of the active opposition. The Facebook group that was created to counter this development now has over 1,000 members.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/700026178785409

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Old 05-08-2024, 01:37 PM   #118
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The problem with LSS, is that the State wants the full boat to cover the risks associated with the mix of historical and environmental negatives on the property. They also want some format of workforce housing in the proposal (not that easy to do with what Toast wants to do) and have encumbered the property with a permanent public access trail even beyond the road to the State park.

The property being proposed hasn't got all those issue with it.
But it does have a lot of fired-up abutters, neighbors and taxpayers in Alton and Gilford that are not going to roll over and play dead.
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Old 05-08-2024, 05:20 PM   #119
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Today I sent an email to Adam Drapcho who wrote the article in today's sun. He was not aware of the opposition. Adam would like to hear from any "opposition leader" and he would consider a follow up article. Adam is a balanced reporter and he was not aware of the opposition. So thoughtful replies are suggested.

His email: ad@laconiadailysun.com

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Old 05-08-2024, 05:24 PM   #120
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I'm quite certain, but moving from one to the other doesn't really make sense.

And Laconia is going to need to find some land to satisfy HB1361
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Old 05-08-2024, 09:57 PM   #121
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I'm quite certain, but moving from one to the other doesn't really make sense.

And Laconia is going to need to find some land to satisfy HB1361
What am I missing? How is this discussion about rural zoning vs. commercial zoning on a mountain top related to developing trailer parks in Laconia? Plenty of places in Belmont.
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Old 05-09-2024, 07:20 AM   #122
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Each municipality must now have some format of access.
Laconia has limited properties that could be considered ''reasonable and realistic'', and has been one of the most vocal municipalities in the Lakes Region on ''workforce housing''.

Since the Mutual Aid doesn't want to move... rezoning for that use would suffice for a while for Laconia.

Since Belmont has a lot of areas that could be, and are, available to manufactured housing or expansion... really not a lot that we have to do.
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Old 05-09-2024, 07:55 AM   #123
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I'm quite certain, but moving from one to the other doesn't really make sense.

And Laconia is going to need to find some land to satisfy HB1361
And Gilford. More and more large landowners are deeding their land to the Belknap Conservatory.
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Old 05-09-2024, 02:49 PM   #124
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Headquartered in Boston, Toast Inc (NASDAQ symbol TOST) was founded in 2011 and is capitalized at $14B+. NASADAQ is down a little today, but TOST was up 11.4% when I looked a few minutes ago.. Toast has a variety of software products for restaurant and hospitality management, so it appears they have expertise and funding to do a "fun" project in Alton. I would rather they rebuild Kimball's Castle than develop a rural zoned mountain top in Alton. Or buy the Laconia State School.
Toast is a terrific company, but it is a software company. They write apps that you might use to order delivery or to pay your bill on one of those electronic hand-helds at a restaurant. As a company, they know nothing about running a hospitality business.
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Old 05-09-2024, 04:16 PM   #125
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Perhaps I misread the info on products. I understand some Toast products also do "instant inventory control" among other things. Managing finances in a restaurant/hospitality business seems to be a common weakness. Too many think you have to be a good cook, not a good manger, which is why so many restaurants fail. Of course, being under capitalized is an issue too.
In any event, there is some skilled management and some money in the mix here.
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Old 05-09-2024, 07:54 PM   #126
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Perhaps I misread the info on products. I understand some Toast products also do "instant inventory control" among other things. Managing finances in a restaurant/hospitality business seems to be a common weakness. Too many think you have to be a good cook, not a good manger, which is why so many restaurants fail. Of course, being under capitalized is an issue too.
In any event, there is some skilled management and some money in the mix here.
Agreed that both are essential. Let's hope they do not get a chance to test themselves here
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Old 05-09-2024, 08:23 PM   #127
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This doesn't in what I have read equate to a restaurant or hotel.
It has an odd feeling like trying to turn an estate into an STR.

Even the glamping operation in the Weirs seems to be discussing something about wedding events.
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Old 05-12-2024, 09:04 AM   #128
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After reading the article in the Sun about the new owners and their plans, I come away with some skepticism. She was a nurse and now that she and her husband have struck it rich, she is now a self proclaimed "developer" looking for a project. She talks about the charm of the Lakes Region and NH. That charm is related to family owned and operated businesses dotting the state. There is no charm in a Walmart or Target. The article didn't say that they are planning to both operate the site and/or live there. It has the feel that they want to build it as a money making scheme and possibly sell it after it is done. Just another out of stater throwing their money around. Maybe it will go the way of Surfcoaster.
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Old 05-12-2024, 10:34 PM   #129
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I don't think sell it.
It seems more like they want a compound that they can lease out.

Its like purchasing a yacht or a jet and then commercializing it as part of a rental fleet.

STR are the same concept. People purchase a vacation home and then rent it out to pay for the property and ongoing costs with the intent to get their week or two free.

It is a different concept than the historical vacation cottage/camp that is shutdown and ''winterized'' while the owners are away.
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Old 05-13-2024, 08:14 AM   #130
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After reading the article in the Sun about the new owners and their plans, I come away with some skepticism. She was a nurse and now that she and her husband have struck it rich, she is now a self proclaimed "developer" looking for a project. She talks about the charm of the Lakes Region and NH. That charm is related to family owned and operated businesses dotting the state. There is no charm in a Walmart or Target. The article didn't say that they are planning to both operate the site and/or live there. It has the feel that they want to build it as a money making scheme and possibly sell it after it is done. Just another out of stater throwing their money around. Maybe it will go the way of Surfcoaster.
i couldnt agree more on your reply. my wife just recently moved to sandwhich on cold river and cant be more thankful that we did this. its beautiful out here. Moultonborough use to be like this 20 years ago still a great town but listening to the birds every morning is priceless.
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Old 05-13-2024, 09:26 AM   #131
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i couldnt agree more on your reply. my wife just recently moved to sandwhich on cold river and cant be more thankful that we did this. its beautiful out here. Moultonborough use to be like this 20 years ago still a great town but listening to the birds every morning is priceless.
I agree - I just moved to Sandwich from M'boro as well, primarily to get away from development. I am sure in 30-35 years it will come to Sandwich also, but I'll be in my 'final' piece of real estate by then...
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Old 05-13-2024, 09:26 AM   #132
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I don't think sell it.
It seems more like they want a compound that they can lease out.

Its like purchasing a yacht or a jet and then commercializing it as part of a rental fleet.

STR are the same concept. People purchase a vacation home and then rent it out to pay for the property and ongoing costs with the intent to get their week or two free.

It is a different concept than the historical vacation cottage/camp that is shutdown and ''winterized'' while the owners are away.
Except that if the purchaser is rich enough to buy this, they do not need the cash from the renters. This is very different than the working man who has dreamed of a lake house and stayed up late in his kitchen devising the perfect formula to swing it. So I'm with the folks looking for an ulterior motive
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Old 05-13-2024, 09:48 AM   #133
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I saw that this development is going to be $50-$60M. Lets make the math easy and say its $52M. Any decent private wealth manager should get an annual return of 10% for his/her client (and maybe more). So the opportunity cost for this 'project' is $5.2M a year in investment earnings... Who really believes this 'wedding venue" is able to bill out $100,000 per week minimum every single week of the year? It doesn't add up...
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Old 05-13-2024, 10:54 AM   #134
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Because it is a private compound that they want to rent out when they are not using it. The focus in not the return on investment from a dollar value.
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Old 05-13-2024, 11:06 AM   #135
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Except that if the purchaser is rich enough to buy this, they do not need the cash from the renters. This is very different than the working man who has dreamed of a lake house and stayed up late in his kitchen devising the perfect formula to swing it. So I'm with the folks looking for an ulterior motive
Lots of people rich enough to buy yachts, but they still put them in the rental fleet.
Lots of people rich enough to buy private jets, but they still put them in the rental fleet.

It has tax advantages and lowers the capital opportunity costs.

Example: The capital opportunity cost could be as much as $5.2 million per year.

So building and only living there part time... that is $5.2 million gone, property tax and upkeep gone, and due to income tax policy... they probably could not deduct the full amounts for that either... so more loss.

Leasing it: some recovery of the $5.2 million, and full deductibility of the property taxes and upkeep as a commercial operation.

The dollar amounts are different, but the concept not.
Does it really matter that someone not born here decides to move or build here and spend $100,000 or $100,000,000? Not to us born here.
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Old 05-13-2024, 02:20 PM   #136
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I saw that this development is going to be $50-$60M. Lets make the math easy and say its $52M. Any decent private wealth manager should get an annual return of 10% for his/her client (and maybe more). So the opportunity cost for this 'project' is $5.2M a year in investment earnings... Who really believes this 'wedding venue" is able to bill out $100,000 per week minimum every single week of the year? It doesn't add up...
My understanding is that weddings at Church Landing often run $30-$50K. The first year they opened, my daughter got married there, (prices were lower then) they were doing five weddings every weekend. More on holiday weekends. As people get married at older ages now, lavish, destination weddings are common. When you do a destination wedding, the "destination" gets all the $$, photography, rooms, cake, flowers, bar, band, etc. $100K / week doesn't seem at all unreasonable to me.

That being said, I hope the ZBA denies the variance. Wasn't it Alton that wouldn't let Bob Bahre (sp?) show off his car collection as a commercial operation in a residential zone?
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Old 05-13-2024, 05:00 PM   #137
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Default they have to clear $100K...

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My understanding is that weddings at Church Landing often run $30-$50K. The first year they opened, my daughter got married there, (prices were lower then) they were doing five weddings every weekend. More on holiday weekends. As people get married at older ages now, lavish, destination weddings are common. When you do a destination wedding, the "destination" gets all the $$, photography, rooms, cake, flowers, bar, band, etc. $100K / week doesn't seem at all unreasonable to me.

That being said, I hope the ZBA denies the variance. Wasn't it Alton that wouldn't let Bob Bahre (sp?) show off his car collection as a commercial operation in a residential zone?
I'll take your word for it on the wedding prices - but your figure is gross revenue I assume. They would have to clear $100K and put it in their pockets - after paying all their expenses - to equal that amount in passive earnings... I still don't see this endeavor making much fiscal sense.
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Old 05-13-2024, 05:37 PM   #138
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I hope the ZBA denies the variance.
I don’t know what the ZBA might do, but a variance comes with a fairly extensive set of legal criteria that the ZBA must consider. One criteria is that the must be a “hardship” inherent in the land itself. My cursory understanding of the application requests tells me that this will be a tough criteria to meet. Even if the local ZBA sees fit to approve the application, I suspect this would be ripe for an appeal, with a strong probability of the courts overturning the ZBA decision.

Quote frankly, this entire application seems to highlight the applicants limited development experience. Clearly, the personal wealth is there to make it happen, but it’s not going to be much fun getting there, if they get there at all.
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Old 05-13-2024, 07:47 PM   #139
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Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone,
They paved paradise, and put up a
Wedding venue / corporate retreat.

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Old 05-13-2024, 08:26 PM   #140
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I'll take your word for it on the wedding prices - but your figure is gross revenue I assume. They would have to clear $100K and put it in their pockets - after paying all their expenses - to equal that amount in passive earnings... I still don't see this endeavor making much fiscal sense.
Turning expenditures into tax deductions... that doesn't make fiscal sense?
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Old 05-15-2024, 04:39 PM   #141
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Default Forget the property watch the stock

I followed the post and looked up the TOST stock , I found it in use in a few local restaurants, all love this software! Took a small position, sorry I didnít go in heavier . Please take a look at their recent results.
If nothing else they have a great business going
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Old 05-26-2024, 11:25 AM   #142
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Did anyone see this sign fly by Alton on Saturday?
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Old 05-26-2024, 06:06 PM   #143
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I followed the post and looked up the TOST stock , I found it in use in a few local restaurants, all love this software! Took a small position, sorry I didnít go in heavier . Please take a look at their recent results.
If nothing else they have a great business going
Good for them. That doesnít mean we want their development here.
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Old 05-26-2024, 06:08 PM   #144
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Did anyone see this sign fly by Alton on Saturday?
Yup. We cheered on shore. We are in W Alton and that rich man’s playground would be directly behind us.

Look at the abutting properties. Let’s say this is approved, built as asked or with few changes…and abutters looking for a pay day approach and/or accept a large sum for their properties. Everybody has a price.

From the original development moving down the mountain and over into Gilford and you may see Ames Farm sold. Riley Road surely being eyed as access road… guessing but that’s what I would consider.
I have heard that a few abutters have discussed selling and/or their business guaranteed work during construction if they are pro-project on social media and every day.

But that’s politics and “progress”, right?
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Old 05-26-2024, 06:46 PM   #145
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Was this the response to the aerial banner?
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Old 05-26-2024, 09:42 PM   #146
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Yup. We cheered on shore. We are in W Alton and that rich man’s playground would be directly behind us.

Look at the abutting properties. Let’s say this is approved, built as asked or with few changes…and abutters looking for a pay day approach and/or accept a large sum for their properties. Everybody has a price.

From the original development moving down the mountain and over into Gilford and you may see Ames Farm sold. Riley Road surely being eyed as access road… guessing but that’s what I would consider.
I have heard that a few abutters have discussed selling and/or their business guaranteed work during construction if they are pro-project on social media and every day.

But that’s politics and “progress”, right?
Why not wait and see the outcome to the requested changes?

The angst over what ''might'' happen should be less... for something is going to happen. It may not be the current proposal, but it will be some format of development.
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Old 05-27-2024, 07:14 AM   #147
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Yes we have the same picture!! Not sure who paid for this but good for them and a big THANK YOU. Is there a site to contribute to this? Cost shouldn't be borne by one person.

This project will be right above us. I foresee nothing but traffic issues - single lane roads, problems at intersection of 11 and CV Rd and more. Never mind the potential sound and echoing issues

Nip this in the bud at the June 6 meeting
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Old 05-27-2024, 11:12 AM   #148
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I'm not familiar with the geography here, but you might consider asking Lake Winnipesaukee Association their thoughts on this, or maybe to do an analysis of potential environmental impact to the lake
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Old 05-27-2024, 11:25 AM   #149
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It isn't on the lake.
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Old 05-27-2024, 11:41 AM   #150
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It isn't on the lake.
It’s not directly on the lake, but it is in the Winnipesaukee watershed, which is extremely important to protect and preserve.

https://winnipesaukeegateway.org/the.../introduction/
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Old 05-27-2024, 08:10 PM   #151
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There are many more properties closer to the lake than this one, that when they were being developed had a cumulative impact much large than this one would be.

We have problems getting the support of people - even those opposed to this project - when it is directly on the lake; and directly affects public property even without restricting private property

The question on this property's development is more about the zoning rather than the environmental impact. It will be developed... probably just not with a Special Exception for a Commercial Event Facility.

The Legislature passed some housing bills this year... but next session will see a whole slue of bills that went to study being remitted for another go around.
So she will build something up there. What? I have no real idea. I guess as the laws change her plans may change.

It could make a decent farm... which is a business with special tax advantages... and not have to go through all this.
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Old 06-05-2024, 08:40 AM   #152
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Please try to attend the Alton Zoning Board meeting on Thursday night June 6 at 6:00pm at the Alton Town Hall. This project will have a major impact on Lake Winnipesaukee and surrounding communities, so itís important to have a strong presence at this meeting.
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Old 06-07-2024, 02:55 PM   #153
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Post Well THAT got screwed up!

Last night's ZBA meeting went nowhere for the applicants...other than the meeting being moved to the high school auditorium because there were too many people in the hearing room at town hall.

The first of their four applications were rejected by the ZBA as incomplete and the applicants withdrew the other three as they were incomplete, too.

I expect they will refile their applications for the Special Exception and the three Variances they were requesting. When I spoke with their counsel he stated that they were going to make changes to their initial plans that might eliminate one or two of their ZBA applications, but that's all he was willing to say about the matter.
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Old 06-07-2024, 06:23 PM   #154
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Last night's ZBA meeting went nowhere for the applicants...other than the meeting being moved to the high school auditorium because there were too many people in the hearing room at town hall.

The first of their four applications were rejected by the ZBA as incomplete and the applicants withdrew the other three as they were incomplete, too.

I expect they will refile their applications for the Special Exception and the three Variances they were requesting. When I spoke with their counsel he stated that they were going to make changes to their initial plans that might eliminate one or two of their ZBA applications, but that's all he was willing to say about the matter.
Thanks for your report. In addition to what you described, this was the 4th time that their plans were rejected by the Alton ZBA. The Zoning Board stated that Alton’s limit is 2 rejections before reapplication is required, so the applicant got 2 free passes. Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend the meeting!
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Old 06-07-2024, 09:26 PM   #155
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Thanks for your report. In addition to what you described, this was the 4th time that their plans were rejected by the Alton ZBA. The Zoning Board stated that Alton’s limit is 2 rejections before reapplication is required, so the applicant got 2 free passes. Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend the meeting!
Their applications weren't rejected four times, they were continued at the applicant's request. The applications weren't found incomplete until the ZBA meeting with the admonition about 2 continuances being the norm and the applicants having gotten 4 of them.

The real power for dealing with the project is with the Planning Board. The ZBA is not required to allow public input as all they're interested in is processing the Special Exception and Variances for the project according to the zoning ordinances and/or state laws.

However, the Planning Board is required to allow public input. Both proponents and opponents can address the Planning Board after the applicants make their presentation and PB members ask their questions. Then the Board will open the hearing to the public so they can express their opinions and concerns, and asking questions of both the Board and the applicants if they so desire. Once the public has had their say the PB will close the public hearing and move on to other applicants. Once all of them have been heard, the PB will discuss and vote on each application in turn. The Board can approve the application as is, approve it but with conditions that must be met before the Chairman signs off, rejected with suggested changes to be made before reapplication, or outright rejection.

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Old 06-08-2024, 05:43 AM   #156
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Article in today's Sun:
https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...12cf1832e.html

The Planning Board has no authority to move ahead on the commercial function facility portion of the application unless and until the ZBA approves a special exception allowing such in the rural zone.

The applicants must now start over with a new application to the ZBA. We live on Cherry Valley Road and have submitted written comments to both the ZBA and PB. If necessary we will resubmit our comments. Written comments are part of the official record for both boards.

They will be back. So the opposition needs to be back as well.

Alan
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Old 06-08-2024, 06:20 AM   #157
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Default let me play you a sad song on my tiny violin...

A quote from the developer in the article: "We had planned to present our improved vision of creating a beautiful, serene place of celebration that would preserve more than 55% of the wooded land and be respectful of neighborsí concerns. It was disappointing to be denied that opportunity"
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Old 06-08-2024, 07:12 AM   #158
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Article in today's Sun:
https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...12cf1832e.html

The Planning Board has no authority to move ahead on the commercial function facility portion of the application unless and until the ZBA approves a special exception allowing such in the rural zone.

The applicants must now start over with a new application to the ZBA. We live on Cherry Valley Road and have submitted written comments to both the ZBA and PB. If necessary we will resubmit our comments. Written comments are part of the official record for both boards.

They will be back. So the opposition needs to be back as well.

Alan
Thank you for your information and support. They canít even get their facts correct in an article. The article states that this application is for a commercial facility in a resort zone, but it is in the Alton RURAL Zone. The opposition will still be standing strong when they come back.
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Old 06-08-2024, 08:39 AM   #159
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Their applications weren't rejected four times, they were continued at the applicant's request. The applications weren't found incomplete until the ZBA meeting with the admonition about 2 continuances being the norm and the applicants having gotten 4 of them.

The real power for dealing with the project is with the Planning Board. The ZBA is not required to allow public input as all they're interested in is processing the Special Exception and Variances for the project according to the zoning ordinances and/or state laws.

However, the Planning Board is required to allow public input. Both proponents and opponents can address the Planning Board after the applicants make their presentation and PB members ask their questions. Then the Board will open the hearing to the public so they can express their opinions and concerns, and asking questions of both the Board and the applicants if they so desire. Once the public has had their say the PB will close the public hearing and move on to other applicants. Once all of them have been heard, the PB will discuss and vote on each application in turn. The Board can approve the application as is, approve it but with conditions that must be met before the Chairman signs off, rejected with suggested changes to be made before reapplication, or outright rejection.
Thanks - I should have used the word "continued" instead of "rejected". However, I would argue that the ZBA continued the application at the February 1 meeting (not the applicant) due to incomplete plans. See minutes attached. The applicant agreed, but it was not a voluntary continuance by the applicant. And the applicant certainly didn't ask for a voluntary continuance at Thursday's meeting.

Although the Zoning board may not be required to allow public input (I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if this is true or not), a cursory review of recent Alton Zoning Board Minutes shows that the Zoning Board typically opens the meetings to public input. Anyone can review minutes from prior ZBA meetings here: https://www.alton.nh.gov/node/74 I've also attached the minutes from the December 2023 meeting showing the ZBA opening the meeting to public input on an unrelated case. The opposition was fully prepared to speak at Thursday's meeting, and I have no doubt that the ZBA would have allowed public input. We will be ready to speak in opposition to the Special Exception for a Commercial Function Facility in a RURAL Zone when they come back.
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File Type: pdf Alton ZBA Minutes 120723.pdf (698.1 KB, 29 views)
File Type: pdf Alton ZBA Minutes 020124.pdf (429.6 KB, 33 views)

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Old 06-08-2024, 05:27 PM   #160
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The real power for dealing with the project is with the Planning Board. The ZBA is not required to allow public input as all they're interested in is processing the Special Exception and Variances for the project according to the zoning ordinances and/or state laws.
I disagree.

There is a fairly big legal hurdle to obtain a variance. Essentially (and overly simplistically) there must be a hardship inherent in the land for the ZBA to grant a variance. (Amongst other criteria) This is a tough burden to overcome, because the applicant needs to show a reason why the land canít reasonably be used under the criteria as currently zoned. If the ZBA did grant a variance, an appeal of the variance through the court system often stands a good chance of getting overturned.

A special exception has a lower legal burden, because the zoning ordinance specifically allows the use, provided the applicant can demonstrate that the use is appropriate for the specific parcel of land.

Also, both the ZBA and the Planning Board are legally obligated to take testimony from any abutter, and any member of the public that can demonstrate a direct impact attributable to the proposed development. Nearly every community in NH takes a very liberal view of this provision, and they generally allow testimony from any member of the public. If they didnít take that testimony, they would have no way of determining whether or not a party is directly impacted.

Lastly, the Planning Board is probably the least likely approval that can be successfully appealed. If the ZBA grants approval, and there is no appeal to that approval, the variance runs with the land, and gives the applicant the right to build the use contemplated under the variance, subject to good engineering practice, suitable aesthetics, and a host of other criteria that the Planning Board can oversee. However, the Planning Board will have no right to deny the use itself, if the ZBA grants the variances/exceptions, and there is no successful appeal.

If the parties aggrieved by this development want to stop the development, they would be well served to hire a top notch land use attorney NOW, so that the attorney can review the application, and provide sound testimony during the ZBA proceedings, that will support a future appeal. Trust me, the applicant is represented by legal counsel, and they know full well that if they can get to the Planning Board without a ZBA appeal, they are likely to prevail in the long run. The last thing those in opposition want to do is wait until the Planning Board proceedings.
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Old 06-08-2024, 05:54 PM   #161
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The question is how many attorneys- land use specialty included - own property in Alton or Gilford (my guess is more than you think) and care enough to fight it as it may directly affect them?
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Old 06-08-2024, 05:56 PM   #162
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I disagree.

There is a fairly big legal hurdle to obtain a variance. Essentially (and overly simplistically) there must be a hardship inherent in the land for the ZBA to grant a variance. (Amongst other criteria) This is a tough burden to overcome, because the applicant needs to show a reason why the land canít reasonably be used under the criteria as currently zoned. If the ZBA did grant a variance, an appeal of the variance through the court system often stands a good chance of getting overturned.

A special exception has a lower legal burden, because the zoning ordinance specifically allows the use, provided the applicant can demonstrate that the use is appropriate for the specific parcel of land.

Also, both the ZBA and the Planning Board are legally obligated to take testimony from any abutter, and any member of the public that can demonstrate a direct impact attributable to the proposed development. Nearly every community in NH takes a very liberal view of this provision, and they generally allow testimony from any member of the public. If they didnít take that testimony, they would have no way of determining whether or not a party is directly impacted.

Lastly, the Planning Board is probably the least likely approval that can be successfully appealed. If the ZBA grants approval, and there is no appeal to that approval, the variance runs with the land, and gives the applicant the right to build the use contemplated under the variance, subject to good engineering practice, suitable aesthetics, and a host of other criteria that the Planning Board can oversee. However, the Planning Board will have no right to deny the use itself, if the ZBA grants the variances/exceptions, and there is no successful appeal.

If the parties aggrieved by this development want to stop the development, they would be well served to hire a top notch land use attorney NOW, so that the attorney can review the application, and provide sound testimony during the ZBA proceedings, that will support a future appeal. Trust me, the applicant is represented by legal counsel, and they know full well that if they can get to the Planning Board without a ZBA appeal, they are likely to prevail in the long run. The last thing those in opposition want to do is wait until the Planning Board proceedings.
Thank you for your informative post. Lots of great information and advice in there. The problem is that the abutters and neighbors to this development are just regular people that settled in this area for its beauty, nature and rural life in the tranquil community of Alton. Nobody is a billionaire, so fighting these people in court is impossible. We all pay taxes to our town, so weíre going to have to rely on the laws and the integrity of the zoning and planning board members. We unequivocally believe that our town officials have the utmost integrity, will follow the law and will make decisions accordingly. Thatís all we can hope for.
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Old 06-08-2024, 06:31 PM   #163
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We unequivocally believe that our town officials have the utmost integrity, will follow the law and will make decisions accordingly. Thatís all we can hope for.
Itís great that you believe in the volunteers on these boards. Most of them all want to do the right thing, and none of them are getting paid for their civic passion.

That said, these boards often donít fully understand the laws, and they make unintentional mistakes. A good land use attorney can spot those mistakes, and turn them to the advantage of their client, be it a proponent of the development, or an opponent of the development.

If there is a large group of community members that oppose the development, consider an e-mail or social media campaign to solicit funds for legal representation. In the near term, this wonít cost much, because the attorney is simply going to review the application, attend a couple of meetings, and provide proper testimony that might help the ZBA members understand the legal reasons why a variance might not be legally justifiable. The ZBA is really acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, and they canít (or shouldnít) be making a variance decision based upon personal preferences of the community members. They really need legal justification to render a decision, yet theyíll only hear one legal opinion if there is only counsel for the applicant presenting testimony.

Nobody likes to have to hire attorneys, but I really feel that a small amount of legal expenditure at this juncture will really help concerned community members to understand the process, and be better equipped to handle a mistake by a local board of volunteers.

FWIW, I know very little about this application, and have no opinion as to the actual ramification to community members. It may well be that opposition is overly concerned about the actual impacts. Conversely, we may all be getting an eyesore on what should justifiably remain rural. I just hate to see the community members get railroaded by wealthy landowners, who can afford any amount of legal expense to overcome local opposition.

Get 10 people to donate $1,000 to a legal fund, and youíll probably have enough to get somebody to review the application, appear at the public hearings, and provide a concise legal argument on behalf of an abutter. Trust me on this Ö. itís a necessary expenditure to stop this thing, assuming it warrants being stopped.

EDIT: I just read a news article that indicates the applicants have pulled the variance application, and are now only seeking special exceptions. I suspect they determined they were unlikely to prevail in a variance appeal. The special exceptions are less likely to be overturned on appeal, so I could make a case that an attorney would be less beneficial at this stage.

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Old 06-09-2024, 06:42 AM   #164
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Itís great that you believe in the volunteers on these boards. Most of them all want to do the right thing, and none of them are getting paid for their civic passion.

That said, these boards often donít fully understand the laws, and they make unintentional mistakes. A good land use attorney can spot those mistakes, and turn them to the advantage of their client, be it a proponent of the development, or an opponent of the development.

If there is a large group of community members that oppose the development, consider an e-mail or social media campaign to solicit funds for legal representation. In the near term, this wonít cost much, because the attorney is simply going to review the application, attend a couple of meetings, and provide proper testimony that might help the ZBA members understand the legal reasons why a variance might not be legally justifiable. The ZBA is really acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, and they canít (or shouldnít) be making a variance decision based upon personal preferences of the community members. They really need legal justification to render a decision, yet theyíll only hear one legal opinion if there is only counsel for the applicant presenting testimony.

Nobody likes to have to hire attorneys, but I really feel that a small amount of legal expenditure at this juncture will really help concerned community members to understand the process, and be better equipped to handle a mistake by a local board of volunteers.

FWIW, I know very little about this application, and have no opinion as to the actual ramification to community members. It may well be that opposition is overly concerned about the actual impacts. Conversely, we may all be getting an eyesore on what should justifiably remain rural. I just hate to see the community members get railroaded by wealthy landowners, who can afford any amount of legal expense to overcome local opposition.

Get 10 people to donate $1,000 to a legal fund, and youíll probably have enough to get somebody to review the application, appear at the public hearings, and provide a concise legal argument on behalf of an abutter. Trust me on this Ö. itís a necessary expenditure to stop this thing, assuming it warrants being stopped.

EDIT: I just read a news article that indicates the applicants have pulled the variance application, and are now only seeking special exceptions. I suspect they determined they were unlikely to prevail in a variance appeal. The special exceptions are less likely to be overturned on appeal, so I could make a case that an attorney would be less beneficial at this stage.
Riviera, thank you very much for again taking time to share your insights and suggestions about this matter. Itís very complex and it has our little hamlet of West Alton on edge and very concerned. Weíll stick together and oppose this as best we can in hopes of protecting the area and our way of life. I appreciate your advice. LB
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:47 AM   #165
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Riviera is absolutely correct. Wishful thinking won't do much against a billionaire's legal team. Someone in Alton should set up a go fund me site to raise the money to hire an attorney to combat the Grimms. The time is now.
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:52 AM   #166
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You're right, because in these scenarios, money almost always wins. Sad, but true.
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:51 PM   #167
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Riviera is absolutely correct. Wishful thinking won't do much against a billionaire's legal team. Someone in Alton should set up a go fund me site to raise the money to hire an attorney to combat the Grimms. The time is now.
Thank you for your suggestion. We are looking at this and other possibilities as we speak.
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Old 06-11-2024, 02:48 PM   #168
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I disagree.

There is a fairly big legal hurdle to obtain a variance. Essentially (and overly simplistically) there must be a hardship inherent in the land for the ZBA to grant a variance. (Amongst other criteria) This is a tough burden to overcome, because the applicant needs to show a reason why the land canít reasonably be used under the criteria as currently zoned. If the ZBA did grant a variance, an appeal of the variance through the court system often stands a good chance of getting overturned.

A special exception has a lower legal burden, because the zoning ordinance specifically allows the use, provided the applicant can demonstrate that the use is appropriate for the specific parcel of land.

Also, both the ZBA and the Planning Board are legally obligated to take testimony from any abutter, and any member of the public that can demonstrate a direct impact attributable to the proposed development. Nearly every community in NH takes a very liberal view of this provision, and they generally allow testimony from any member of the public. If they didnít take that testimony, they would have no way of determining whether or not a party is directly impacted.

Lastly, the Planning Board is probably the least likely approval that can be successfully appealed. If the ZBA grants approval, and there is no appeal to that approval, the variance runs with the land, and gives the applicant the right to build the use contemplated under the variance, subject to good engineering practice, suitable aesthetics, and a host of other criteria that the Planning Board can oversee. However, the Planning Board will have no right to deny the use itself, if the ZBA grants the variances/exceptions, and there is no successful appeal.

If the parties aggrieved by this development want to stop the development, they would be well served to hire a top notch land use attorney NOW, so that the attorney can review the application, and provide sound testimony during the ZBA proceedings, that will support a future appeal. Trust me, the applicant is represented by legal counsel, and they know full well that if they can get to the Planning Board without a ZBA appeal, they are likely to prevail in the long run. The last thing those in opposition want to do is wait until the Planning Board proceedings.
Part of what I was trying to convey is that ZBA approval is not required prior to a PB hearing. The Planning Board has a number of options when it comes to site plan approvals: approval, conditional approval, and rejection.

In my years serving on planning boards, it hasn't been unusual for planning boards to give conditional approvals, meaning an approval that includes additional conditions such as receiving a variance or variances from the ZBA, approval of special exceptions, NHDES/EPA waivers, and so on. If those conditions aren't met then the site plan approval is null and void. In fact, that was how it was done for a long time and it wasn't until the past 10 years, more or less, that going to the ZBA prior to the Planning Board hearings was an option. (It was seen that doing this eliminated much of the back and forth between the PB and ZBA.)

Generally overturning a ZBA decision requires taking it to court, something a lot of folks don't want to do, even if they should.

To quote one of my favorite philosophers, Dennis Miller, "Of course this is just my opinion. I might be wrong."
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Old 06-11-2024, 03:22 PM   #169
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"To quote one of my favorite philosophers, Dennis Miller, "Of course this is just my opinion. I might be wrong."
Esp. TV Pundits! I will always remember a long commentary by Eric Severeid that ended with: "This could be very significant (pause) "Or it could mean nothing at all."
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Old 06-11-2024, 05:45 PM   #170
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Part of what I was trying to convey is that ZBA approval is not required prior to a PB hearing.
It is in Alton.

Section 1.06 of the Site Plan Review Regulations specifically requires that any required ZBA approvals must be obtained, and submitted as part of the Planning Board application, prior to the PB application being deemed complete. The PB will take no action until a complete application has been submitted. There are, however, provisions that would allow for a conceptual hearing prior to a ZBA approval.

Some communities will permit the planning board to to review an application prior to a ZBA approval, but I don’t think it is the norm. Most communities want to see the lot become legally viable from a zoning standpoint, before a planning board spends time reviewing the specific details required for a site plan approval. There are also provisions in State law that allow for joint hearings of the PB and ZBA, but those provisions are rarely used, except in the instance of huge projects.

Long story short, in this instance, they need a ZBA approval before they can submit a formal application the PB.

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"To quote one of my favorite philosophers, Dennis Miller, "Of course this is just my opinion. I might be wrong."
I think Dennis got it right!
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Old 06-12-2024, 01:13 PM   #171
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It is in Alton.

Section 1.06 of the Site Plan Review Regulations specifically requires that any required ZBA approvals must be obtained, and submitted as part of the Planning Board application, prior to the PB application being deemed complete. The PB will take no action until a complete application has been submitted. There are, however, provisions that would allow for a conceptual hearing prior to a ZBA approval.

Long story short, in this instance, they need a ZBA approval before they can submit a formal application the PB.

I think Dennis got it right!
Then in this case the PB meeting to hear the application needs to be postponed because, to all intents and purposes, there's nothing to hear. I have to wonder if the applicants will request a continuance for a month or more until they can get what they need from the ZBA?

I do know that the applicants did mention something about amending their site plan such that they wouldn't require as many variances. It will be interesting to see what they'll do to make that a possibility.
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Old 06-12-2024, 02:05 PM   #172
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Default amending the site plan...

Isn't amending the site plan like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? The main variance/exception they need is to put a huge commercial enterprise in an area zoned rural... that's a pretty significant exception and probably the main one causing the opposition. Fine tuning the rest of them strikes me as irrelevant.
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Old 06-12-2024, 02:53 PM   #173
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Isn't amending the site plan like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? The main variance/exception they need is to put a huge commercial enterprise in an area zoned rural... that's a pretty significant exception and probably the main one causing the opposition. Fine tuning the rest of them strikes me as irrelevant.
I expect the applicant's attorneys working on this have long sleeves and more tricks than you can spot. One simple item when you ask for a continuance is to waive a second or further mail notice to abutters. Abutters and other opponents wear down easily and lose track of rescheduled meetings. When you have a group that hires an attorney, there is no excuse for him/her to miss a meeting or a deadline.
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Old 06-12-2024, 06:47 PM   #174
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As noted on the related Facebook group, the application to the PB has been withdrawn. https://www.alton.nh.gov/calendar

Not a surprise as they have to start over with a new application to the ZBA and the PB can not accept an application as complete unless and until the ZBA approves a special exception to allow the commercial event facility in the rural zone.

Will they be back?? Does a bear s##t in the woods?

When they do submit to the ZBA, written comments become part of the recorded. Comments should focus on the specific criteria that must be found true to grant a special exception. See page 75 of the zoning regulations.
https://www.alton.nh.gov/forms/plann...gOrdinance.pdf

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Old Today, 07:04 AM   #175
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In today's Sun:

https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...910d6acf5.html

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Old Today, 09:21 AM   #176
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Quote of the Day: "The Alton Business Association supports all local businesses and we are a fair and unbiased association"

Doesn't that mean they are biased towards every local business?
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Old Today, 09:57 AM   #177
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sounds like there ought to be an Alton Residents Association to counterbalance it...
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