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Wolfeboro prepares for summer

March 27, 2019
WOLFEBORO — As the snow rapidly withdraws, Wolfeboro is preparing for summer. The Board of Selectmen heard and approved a longer than usual number of requests from nonprofits for summer events during its March 20 meeting and considered an amendment to the Town's bus ordinance suggested by the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce (WACC).

Director of Planning and Development Matt Sullivan drew up new language for the ordinance to include a spot on the west side of the railroad station along Railroad Avenue for discussion. WACC Executive Director Mary DeVries said the Chamber frequently receives calls from bus lines for information on parking as they plan tours. Presently, parking is allowed downtown in front of Cate Park and spaces are designated in the Foss Field parking lot behind Harvest Market. DeVries asked the town to add the spot in front of the station.

There was general agreement with the addition to the ordinance, but Selectman Dave Bowers asked about enforcement of the 15 minute maximum time allowed for passengers to disembark. His office on Main Street beside Cate Park provides a vantage point from which he said he has observed busses parked there for two to four hours at a time. Selectman Linda Murray commented that busses are expected to unload and then move down to the Foss Field lot off of Lehner Street and return for reloading.

Depot Square resident John Simms complained of the diesel fumes that are emitted from idling busses and asked if bus drivers could be asked to shut their engines off. He said the fumes are discharged from the top of the busses and are a respiratory irritant to residents of the Depot Square condominiums next door. He asked also that the parking rules please be enforced, for busses often park beside the condominiums.

Selectman Paul O'Brien joined the discussion on idling with a comment that the town's Master Plan energy chapter supports at least asking the drivers to "power down" their vehicles to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution and because in his words, "It's the right thing to do."

A public hearing on the amendment is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17, during the board meeting. He said he will bring a map and examples of no idling signs for the two designated downtown bus parking areas.

Harking back to the winter presently losing its grip, Simms shared prepared comments on the snowmobile trail that was prepared by the town to allow snowmobilers to continue through town from the Bridge Falls Path to Wolfeboro Bay for a second year. He reported that it received zero use from Jan. 11 Jan. 18, immediately following its construction, and the total for January was about 15 trips, averaging less than one a day. February use increased with typically 20 40 machines on Friday, over 50 on Saturday, and 10 20 Sunday, with 5 10 machines in total Monday to Thursday.

With the trail at his doorstep, he said the occupants of the building experience noise and smells from the two stroke engines anywhere from 7 a.m. to after 10 p.m. that linger. He added that the sidewalk is unusable most of the time, as it collects (oily) melt water, so parts become either a lake or a skating rink and said the freeze/thaw cycle for the trapped water is creating additional damage to the surface and the curb. It is not hospitable to visitors.

"It is clear that the trail is successful as a link between the trails east of town and the lake, but it is less clear that the benefits of the trail to the town outweigh the direct cost let along the indirect costs. Twenty-five regular parking spaces lost, plus four handicapped ones," he stated.

He asked the town to please consider rerouting the snowmobile trail next year.

Varney Smith
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