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Old 01-30-2024, 03:29 PM   #1
West Alton Joe
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Default Huge Commercial Project in West Alton

Hi all,

Long time lurker, but first time posting. I'm too old to figure out these types of things, so my granddaughter was kind enough to help me figure out how to set up and post on this forum.

The reason for coming here is to make the property owners and residents of West Alton and adjacent areas in Gilford aware of a massive commercial development project that has been submitted to the Town of Alton. This is going to be done on a 140 acre parcel that has its road frontage on Rt. 11A. This parcel has a boundary with the Town of Gilford. The parcel's north boundary sits on top of a high hill (or small mountain) that can be seen from Lake Winnipesaukee. If you are in a boat out near Diamond Island looking to the south, you can see this hill that has 2 houses on the side of the hill. The top of this hill was cleared a few years ago. This clearing on top of the hill is part of the 140 acres that is being developed.

The plans show that they want to build a huge event center at the top of the hill, which will be visible from a lot of Lake Winnipesaukee, and especially from the south side of Diamond Island, Welch Island Rattlesnake Island, Sleepers Island and Mount Major. It will also be visible from the Ames Farm area of Gilford. From the opposite side, this will be visible from many areas in Gilford, especially from the Belknap Range and from residential properties in that general area. In addition to the event center, the plans show that there will be parking lots, an amphitheater where there will presumably be bands playing, a ring lawn with covered pavilion, a huge estate home where wedding guests will be allowed to stay, along with a possible helicopter pad.

Further to the south of the parcel, there will be more parking lots for cars and buses, a clubhouse, pickleball courts, a sledding hill and playground. Finally, on the southernmost portion of the parcel, they will be building 20 houses that will be used for short term rentals. All of this is taking place in the Rural Zoning District of Alton, and will require a lot of variances and special exceptions to be granted by the Alton Zoning and Planning Boards. I don't have any experience with these zoning and planning boards, so I don't know what the chances of this being approved are.

What I do know is that this project will have a major impact to the area. The light pollution and music coming from the amphitheater will be heard for miles around the area, especially since this is sitting on top of a hill. I assume that they will want to launch fireworks off 7 days a week during the spring, summer and fall, so who wants to listen to this all the time. Property values in the vicinity will be seriously effected, because peace and quiet will no longer be a reality.

If you are a property owner in the vicinity of this proposed development, and you don't want to see your property value diminished and your peace and quiet taken away, please consider writing to the Town of Alton Zoning and planning board and urge them to reject this project. I'm sure once it's finished, they will sell out to Marriott or some other large corporate entity and expansion will be assured. You can count on another Bank of NH Pavilion and large hotel being next on the list. This will be a very slippery slope.

It's beyond my comprehension that the Town of Alton would allow this type of development to destroy the rural, quiet charm of Alton and also destroy the values of properties in the area. But when out of staters show up with deep pockets and hungry lawyers, this is the result. Again, if you are against this type of development in a residential area, please write to the Town of Alton or attend the Zoning and Planning Board meetings to express your concerns.

Thank you for listening.

WAJ
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Old 01-30-2024, 04:04 PM   #2
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Default Alton development

This is not what most people would want in there back yard. That's not why most people move to NH
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Old 01-30-2024, 05:09 PM   #3
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Do you know what the land in question is zoned for?
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Old 01-30-2024, 06:03 PM   #4
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Do you know what the land in question is zoned for?
I live in the neighborhood. Itís zoned under the ďruralĒ category in Alton. Iím organizing an opposition to this.
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Old 01-30-2024, 06:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by West Alton Joe View Post
Hi all,

Long time lurker, but first time posting. I'm too old to figure out these types of things, so my granddaughter was kind enough to help me figure out how to set up and post on this forum.

The reason for coming here is to make the property owners and residents of West Alton and adjacent areas in Gilford aware of a massive commercial development project that has been submitted to the Town of Alton. This is going to be done on a 140 acre parcel that has its road frontage on Rt. 11A. This parcel has a boundary with the Town of Gilford. The parcel's north boundary sits on top of a high hill (or small mountain) that can be seen from Lake Winnipesaukee. If you are in a boat out near Diamond Island looking to the south, you can see this hill that has 2 houses on the side of the hill. The top of this hill was cleared a few years ago. This clearing on top of the hill is part of the 140 acres that is being developed.

The plans show that they want to build a huge event center at the top of the hill, which will be visible from a lot of Lake Winnipesaukee, and especially from the south side of Diamond Island, Welch Island Rattlesnake Island, Sleepers Island and Mount Major. It will also be visible from the Ames Farm area of Gilford. From the opposite side, this will be visible from many areas in Gilford, especially from the Belknap Range and from residential properties in that general area. In addition to the event center, the plans show that there will be parking lots, an amphitheater where there will presumably be bands playing, a ring lawn with covered pavilion, a huge estate home where wedding guests will be allowed to stay, along with a possible helicopter pad.

Further to the south of the parcel, there will be more parking lots for cars and buses, a clubhouse, pickleball courts, a sledding hill and playground. Finally, on the southernmost portion of the parcel, they will be building 20 houses that will be used for short term rentals. All of this is taking place in the Rural Zoning District of Alton, and will require a lot of variances and special exceptions to be granted by the Alton Zoning and Planning Boards. I don't have any experience with these zoning and planning boards, so I don't know what the chances of this being approved are.

What I do know is that this project will have a major impact to the area. The light pollution and music coming from the amphitheater will be heard for miles around the area, especially since this is sitting on top of a hill. I assume that they will want to launch fireworks off 7 days a week during the spring, summer and fall, so who wants to listen to this all the time. Property values in the vicinity will be seriously effected, because peace and quiet will no longer be a reality.

If you are a property owner in the vicinity of this proposed development, and you don't want to see your property value diminished and your peace and quiet taken away, please consider writing to the Town of Alton Zoning and planning board and urge them to reject this project. I'm sure once it's finished, they will sell out to Marriott or some other large corporate entity and expansion will be assured. You can count on another Bank of NH Pavilion and large hotel being next on the list. This will be a very slippery slope.

It's beyond my comprehension that the Town of Alton would allow this type of development to destroy the rural, quiet charm of Alton and also destroy the values of properties in the area. But when out of staters show up with deep pockets and hungry lawyers, this is the result. Again, if you are against this type of development in a residential area, please write to the Town of Alton or attend the Zoning and Planning Board meetings to express your concerns.

Thank you for listening.

WAJ
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Old 01-31-2024, 08:00 AM   #6
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I live in the neighborhood. Itís zoned under the ďruralĒ category in Alton. Iím organizing an opposition to this.
Sorry I don't live in that town, so maybe the meaning is different, but I thought rural zoning was for agricultural use only? How can they get approval for a convention center without changing the zoning? I know people ask for zoning variances all the time but that's a big variance. Is the property pending sale based on this approval or is it the current owner that wants to build the convention center?
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Old 01-31-2024, 09:33 AM   #7
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Sorry I don't live in that town, so maybe the meaning is different, but I thought rural zoning was for agricultural use only? How can they get approval for a convention center without changing the zoning? I know people ask for zoning variances all the time but that's a big variance. Is the property pending sale based on this approval or is it the current owner that wants to build the convention center?
It's the current owner that wants to build this commercial development. The property sold to these people in late 2022.

Another strange twist to this is that the abutting parcel to the east of this parcel (almost 90 acres) is owned by the infamous owner of West Alton Marina.
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Old 01-31-2024, 09:34 AM   #8
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Would someone with knowledge of the parcel location/property lines be able to post a Google Earth or equivalent aerial view?

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Old 01-31-2024, 09:36 AM   #9
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It will take a strong Planning Board to prevent this from happening.The Planning Board will have to come out against this change I do not envy them this wont be easy.
The vote to change the zoning is ultimately up to the voters in the town. Please hold your ground and donít let this happen.
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Old 01-31-2024, 09:56 AM   #10
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Assessor map screenshot attached.
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Old 01-31-2024, 09:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dippasan View Post
Would someone with knowledge of the parcel location/property lines be able to post a Google Earth or equivalent aerial view?

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Here are a couple of images showing the general location. The yellow outline is not an accurate representation of the boundary lines. It only shows the general location of this parcel. The red outline shows the actual boundary lines.
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Old 01-31-2024, 10:12 AM   #12
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It will take a strong Planning Board to prevent this from happening.The Planning Board will have to come out against this change I do not envy them this wont be easy.
The vote to change the zoning is ultimately up to the voters in the town. Please hold your ground and donít let this happen.
Unfortunately, the money usually wins. Hoping that the folks of Alton can prevail on this one. That would be a real blight to the region.

But, hey, "progress."
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Old 01-31-2024, 10:36 AM   #13
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This shows the abutting 87 acre parcel owned by the West Alton Marina guy. I can only assume that this is ripe for the picking given his legal situation.
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Old 01-31-2024, 11:49 AM   #14
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I was doing some digging and noted the abutting parcel owners as well. Could be a play for sure, especially being that Brian is soon to be sentenced.

Its a bit south of us, we may be able to see it from our lower driveway depending on orientation, but its pretty far off and will be up the hillside. We won't see it from the house. Awful close to the place for sale on Anthony Ave and the homes on Hermit.

I hope that Alton stands up and fights this. Being that it was purchased by a hospitality group entity I am sure they already did plenty of work on this already.
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Old 01-31-2024, 12:18 PM   #15
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... I hope that Alton stands up and fights this. Being that it was purchased by a hospitality group entity I am sure they already did plenty of work on this already.
... and no doubt have an army of highly-paid attorneys on the job.
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Old 01-31-2024, 12:39 PM   #16
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Default Alton meeting

The meeting is this Thursday @ 6 pm Town hall
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Old 01-31-2024, 01:08 PM   #17
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They may be just looking to do a wedding destination... and fall under agribusiness.
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Old 01-31-2024, 04:09 PM   #18
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They may be just looking to do a wedding destination... and fall under agribusiness.
Way more than a wedding destination. Hopefully we get a significant turnout at tomorrow's zoning board meeting. 6:00pm at Alton Town Hall.
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Old 01-31-2024, 05:01 PM   #19
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They may be just looking to do a wedding destination... and fall under agribusiness.
You mean like a winery!? Oh hell, if that's their ticket to punch this development through as being agricultural, then s**t!
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Old 01-31-2024, 06:28 PM   #20
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Actually a winery is agribusiness.
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Old 01-31-2024, 07:54 PM   #21
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A winery?

Wrong climate for growing good grapes.
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Old 01-31-2024, 08:18 PM   #22
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Way more than a wedding destination. Hopefully we get a significant turnout at tomorrow's zoning board meeting. 6:00pm at Alton Town Hall.
Is their full proposal posted somewhere?
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Old 02-01-2024, 05:43 AM   #23
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Unfortunately, the money usually wins. Hoping that the folks of Alton can prevail on this one. That would be a real blight to the region. But, hey, "progress."
When has "peace and quiet" trumped money?

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Old 02-01-2024, 09:06 AM   #24
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Is their full proposal posted somewhere?
I'm sure it's somewhere. Looks like there was a meeting in December with the planning board - https://www.alton.nh.gov/sites/defau...12-19-2023.pdf
and this was part of the minutes:
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Proposal: Site Plan and Subdivision review for a Commercial Function Facility, Restaurant, and
196 multiple residences.
197
198 Chris Solomon, representative for the property owner, stated the lot is 150 acres and they want to
199 create a corporate retreat and event center; it would be a resort facility with a main lodge, guest
200 cottages and will be privately operated. He stated the center will have 18 luxury homes and
201 cottages; the goal will be to rent the entire facility; there will be a private gated entrance and the
202 facility will offer both sleeping and gathering spaces. Mr. Solomon stated there will be an onsite
203 shuttle service. He stated the property is on a hillside with panoramic views looking to Lake
204 Winnipesaukee; there will be wooded lots and they want to subdivide the lot into 20 individual
205 parcels, which will not be individually sold and rented with the entire facility. There will be a
206 road built to Town specifications. The houses will be single family homes with bathrooms,
207 bedrooms and kitchens, ranging from 1500 to 3,000 square feet in size. There will be a fire
208 cistern on the property; there will be sprinkler systems in the homes and meeting areas. There
209 will be solar panels installed on the property to support the electrical needs of the property. There
210 will be walking trails throughout the property; there will be various parking areas on the
211 property. There will be a main club house, tennis courts and a swimming pool.
Also looks like the manager of the LLC is a Jeremy Martin. Not sure if it's the same one that is the owner/founder of Lakes Region Design Group but that may make sense. Not sure who else is involved but I'm sure it's probably known around the area. I also found it interesting the LLC had a principle address at the old Mame's location.
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Old 02-01-2024, 07:54 PM   #25
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A winery?

Wrong climate for growing good grapes.
Gilmanton has a winery and vineyard. It seems to be doing OK.
Of course they only have 9 acres and about 700 vines.

But you can ferment lots of fruit into wine... achieving the right texture and taste seems to be the skill.
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Old 02-01-2024, 08:07 PM   #26
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I'm sure it's somewhere. Looks like there was a meeting in December with the planning board - https://www.alton.nh.gov/sites/defau...12-19-2023.pdf
and this was part of the minutes:


Also looks like the manager of the LLC is a Jeremy Martin. Not sure if it's the same one that is the owner/founder of Lakes Region Design Group but that may make sense. Not sure who else is involved but I'm sure it's probably known around the area. I also found it interesting the LLC had a principle address at the old Mame's location.
Building a corporate retreat vs a regular housing development with ten acre minimums frees up design possibilities.
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Old 02-02-2024, 06:29 AM   #27
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Default Alton development

There was a good turn out last night at the meeting. Looks like people are very concerned. It is great to see people like Alton the way it is!
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Old 02-02-2024, 06:54 AM   #28
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There was a good turn out last night at the meeting. Looks like people are very concerned. It is great to see people like Alton the way it is!
The natives are awake and restless now. And yes, itís great to see the support from all surrounding areas. Nobody wants this in their backyard.
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Old 02-02-2024, 08:01 AM   #29
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The natives are awake and restless now. And yes, itís great to see the support from all surrounding areas. Nobody wants this in their backyard.
Thinking about this from a business sense, something doesn't add up. The costs to build this monstrosity would be huge and I am failing to see how it would bring in that much revenue to cover it. It makes me wonder if there is truly a different "end game" in mind that hasn't come to light yet.
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Old 02-02-2024, 08:15 AM   #30
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Thinking about this from a business sense, something doesn't add up. The costs to build this monstrosity would be huge and I am failing to see how it would bring in that much revenue to cover it. It makes me wonder if there is truly a different "end game" in mind that hasn't come to light yet.
Spot on, Codeman. Something smells like dead fish, and itís not coming from the lake. Hopefully Toto will pull back the curtain so we can see who the wizard really is. Classic case of smoke and mirrors to obscure the real agenda. The abutters, neighbors and residents of Alton & Gilford will have to keep the pressure on the zoning and planning boards to make sure that they make fair and appropriate decisions.
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Old 02-02-2024, 09:31 AM   #31
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Thinking about this from a business sense, something doesn't add up. The costs to build this monstrosity would be huge and I am failing to see how it would bring in that much revenue to cover it. It makes me wonder if there is truly a different "end game" in mind that hasn't come to light yet.
I agree 100%Ö.this one needs to be watched / stopped!

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Old 02-02-2024, 09:44 AM   #32
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Thinking about this from a business sense, something doesn't add up. The costs to build this monstrosity would be huge and I am failing to see how it would bring in that much revenue to cover it. It makes me wonder if there is truly a different "end game" in mind that hasn't come to light yet.
I was wondering about a loop hole.
Could they lease it to a corporation as a retreat... but the corporation sub-lease it to others?

I can sort of see what they are up to, as a regular development of the property under existing zoning concepts would not allow for as many housing units, and certainly not all the sub-categories that they are embedding.

Legacy has the same problem... too much dream for the actual land.
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Old 02-02-2024, 01:16 PM   #33
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I was wondering about a loop hole.
Could they lease it to a corporation as a retreat... but the corporation sub-lease it to others?

I can sort of see what they are up to, as a regular development of the property under existing zoning concepts would not allow for as many housing units, and certainly not all the sub-categories that they are embedding.

Legacy has the same problem... too much dream for the actual land.
Theyíre trying to change the zoning to something called ďflexible zoningĒ, which would help this project move forward. The bark has to be peeled back so we can expose the true motivation and end game of these people.
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Old 02-02-2024, 02:41 PM   #34
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There was a good turn out last night at the meeting. Looks like people are very concerned. It is great to see people like Alton the way it is!
Was there any discussion about permitted uses in the rural zone? Compliance with zoning? Special exceptions?

Unfortunately I am out of state and could not make the meeting. My wife and I are familiar with the property having hiked to the top after it was clear cut. Expansive views of the Belknap Range and of the lake. Meaning that whatever is built up there can be seen from over a wide range.

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Old 02-02-2024, 03:08 PM   #35
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That would be a good location for a high end housing development, and also for a casino / hotel.

A casino / hotel would arguably enhance the profitability of Gunstock as well.

But the hoops the developer must jump through: my oh my.

Interesting game afoot there on the hillside.
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Old 02-02-2024, 10:10 PM   #36
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The plan is high end housing that will be used as a type of hotel.
Casinos in NH tend to not be highly profitable.
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Old 02-03-2024, 07:04 AM   #37
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I believe that IF Jeremy Martin is involved It will be a very tastefully done project as everything he does is very nice with attention to details
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Old 02-03-2024, 07:52 AM   #38
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Knowing little about the proposed project (which I would be against) first brings to mind some more basic questions about that area of West Alton.

- Could Cherry Valley Road (11A) even handle the short term increase in heavy equipment traffic this project will bring and who would pay for the road repairs in the end

- Could Cherry Valley Rd handle the long term increase in vehicle traffic

- Would this project ultimately lead to never ending traffic jams

- Is Cherry Valley Rd capable of having turn lanes etc that will be needed long term to alleviate traffic problems

- Will the town (the tax payers ) be required to install traffic lights at Mt Major Highway (Rte 11) and Cherry Valley Rd to handle inflow/outflow of traffic

I just see the town and ultimately the tax payers paying the price for this project and the headaches that will come with it

Just a few thoughts
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Old 02-03-2024, 07:54 AM   #39
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Was there any discussion about permitted uses in the rural zone? Compliance with zoning? Special exceptions?

Unfortunately I am out of state and could not make the meeting. My wife and I are familiar with the property having hiked to the top after it was clear cut. Expansive views of the Belknap Range and of the lake. Meaning that whatever is built up there can be seen from over a wide range.

Alan
The Zoning Board continued the meeting until March 7th. Apparently someone is trying to change the zoning to some kind of ďFlexible ZoningĒ specifically for this project. I donít know exactly what this is about but will research and post about it when I get more information.
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Old 02-03-2024, 08:46 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by smith point boater View Post
Knowing little about the proposed project (which I would be against) first brings to mind some more basic questions about that area of West Alton.

- Could Cherry Valley Road (11A) even handle the short term increase in heavy equipment traffic this project will bring and who would pay for the road repairs in the end

- Could Cherry Valley Rd handle the long term increase in vehicle traffic

- Would this project ultimately lead to never ending traffic jams

- Is Cherry Valley Rd capable of having turn lanes etc that will be needed long term to alleviate traffic problems

- Will the town (the tax payers ) be required to install traffic lights at Mt Major Highway (Rte 11) and Cherry Valley Rd to handle inflow/outflow of traffic

I just see the town and ultimately the tax payers paying the price for this project and the headaches that will come with it

Just a few thoughts
The proposal shouldn't change traffic more than if he just made it house lots for sale.
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Old 02-03-2024, 09:19 AM   #41
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The proposal shouldn't change traffic more than if he just made it house lots for sale.
I disagree. Itís a corporate event facility. How are the 200, 300, 400 or 500 corporate attendees going to get to and from the facility? By helicopter? Itís going to have a major impact on traffic and the infrastructure of both Alton and Gilford.
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Old 02-03-2024, 10:27 AM   #42
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Shuttle service.
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Old 02-03-2024, 11:38 AM   #43
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Default Here's where the money is coming from...

The money behind this project is coming from the Toast IPO. One of the founders of Toast (Grimm) is the owner of the parcel, although it's been placed in an LLC. Massachusetts billionaires bringing this blight to Alton, Gilford and Lake Winnipesaukee. The expansion will never stop with so many other large vacant land parcels around this development parcel. This is another reason why this project must be snuffed.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrick...h=64587ba06842
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Old 02-03-2024, 11:57 AM   #44
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Perhaps Twin Farms in Barnard VT is the business model? 300 acres, 28 cottages and suites, adults only. About $2500/night I think, depending on suite or cottage. Food, fine spirits, activities included. Eat in cottage, dining room or have a catered picnic.
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Old 02-03-2024, 12:03 PM   #45
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Perhaps Twin Farms in Barnard VT is the business model? 300 acres, 28 cottages and suites, adults only. About $2500/night I think, depending on suite or cottage. Food, fine spirits, activities included. Eat in cottage, dining room or have a catered picnic.
Sort of like bringing the resorts back.
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Old 02-03-2024, 12:13 PM   #46
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A friend has informed me that there has been a new Facebook Group created to provide information about this project. Those of you on Facebook can search for
CHERRY VALLEY DEVELOPMENT ALTON/GILFORD.
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Old 02-03-2024, 01:20 PM   #47
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Perhaps Twin Farms in Barnard VT is the business model? 300 acres, 28 cottages and suites, adults only. About $2500/night I think, depending on suite or cottage. Food, fine spirits, activities included. Eat in cottage, dining room or have a catered picnic.
Possibly. But it sounds more like they want to rent/lease to a single entity at a time.
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Old 02-11-2024, 02:12 PM   #48
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The money behind this project is coming from the Toast IPO. One of the founders of Toast (Grimm) is the owner of the parcel, although it's been placed in an LLC. Massachusetts billionaires bringing this blight to Alton, Gilford and Lake Winnipesaukee. The expansion will never stop with so many other large vacant land parcels around this development parcel. This is another reason why this project must be snuffed.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrick...h=64587ba06842
Yep the "big buck folks from down under" are pushing this with local help of course. It is interesting that they own a upscale lake home on Winni now, but this project is nowhere near that property. This will ruin the immediate area and make it ok to push more and more commercial projects into Alton. The noise, the lights, the traffic and the altering of zoning need to be addressed and hopefully stop this project in it's tracks. Even the expansion of West Alton Marina has been a bit of a bummer especially with the ownership now up in the air due to Brian's conviction and soon to be realized prison term.

I encourage all Alton residents to get involved and fight this effort.
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Old 02-18-2024, 05:50 PM   #49
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This is a major project that will affect the entire town. Any change to zoning laws to accommodate this should be voted on at town meeting. The ZBA and other town officials should not make the decision for the residents.
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Old 02-18-2024, 06:45 PM   #50
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I think to change zoning laws you have to have a vote at town meeting.
What they may be looking for is a variance... which has a process usually involving some public input.
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Old 02-18-2024, 09:22 PM   #51
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This is a major project that will affect the entire town. Any change to zoning laws to accommodate this should be voted on at town meeting. The ZBA and other town officials should not make the decision for the residents.
They will not IF the local folks show up and make their feelings known. Also if they get enough "pressure" from the project owners they will cave in to the pressure. The folks who live near there and especially the abutters need to speak up and make it clear what they want.
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