Freedom — August 15, 2004 — A group of Freedom residents has joined forces to oppose the application of Totem Pole Park campground to expand its months of operation from 6 to 11. One of the members of the group, Larry Foss, says the group will present its case at the next meeting of the Freedom Planning Board, on Thursday, August 19th, at 7 PM at Freedom Town Hall.
Totem Pole Park is Ossipee Lake’s largest campground and the only one that has a condominium ownership structure in which camping lots are individually owned. That structure was established in a 1988 agreement between the land’s developer and the town that resulted in 456 lot owners on 90 acres, or about 5 property owners per acre.
Freedom’s zoning ordinance permits recreational campgrounds that are occupied on a temporary seasonal basis. As part of its 1988 agreement with the town, Totem Pole Park’s developers defined its camping season as May 1st through October 15th, with two additional weeks allowed for lot owners to close up. Two years later, in 1990, the campground submitted an application nearly identical to the present one asking that the town allow it to remain open during the winter. That application was denied.
Those who are opposing the current application say that there are even more reasons to deny the application than there were 14 years ago. They claim that the park has not enforced many of its own regulations, placing a disproportionate burden on the town.
The group believes the park already is being occupied illegally when it is supposed to be closed during the winter. Pointing to the large number of recreational vehicles and “park models” that are permanently stationed on the property and are heated by propane gas, they worry that intensive winter use of such vehicles may create a fire hazard.
The group also notes that the campground’s water system is seasonal and is turned off during the winter, and parts of the park are not plowed, making it difficult for fire, police, and emergency services vehicles to have access.