Hearing Will Determine If Totem Pole Can Operate Year-Round

Freedom — August 12, 2004 — When Totem Pole Park Campground was granted condominium subdivision approval in 1987, it was with the agreement that the park would remain a non-residential campground, open May 1 to October 15 – and for recreational use only.

Today, the owners of these vacation homes wish to have year-round access to their sites. The Totem Pole Park Campground Association has even threatened to sue the town for as much as $400,000.

The foremost issues in this matter are residency and voting rights, as well as water and sewer regulations and never-received environmental reports for environmental concerns, such as effects on Ossipee Lake. More fundamental, however, is the threat that Freedom will eventually be transformed from a small, rural town to one whose population calls for rapid development.

“This is something that is going to drastically change the feeling of the town,” said Geraldine Kudaka, Freedom planning board member. “It is difficult to try and maintain the nature of a town that doesn’t have the money to fight developers.”

In 2003, 335 condominium association members voted for 11-month access, claiming the taxes they pay account for 10 percent of Freedom’s tax revenues.

The current season is already an increase from the four-month duration the park utilized before “going condo.” The town has had difficulty in enforcing regulations, as some units have already been in use outside of restriction dates. The homes are becoming more permanent due to add-on rooms and decks; these issues also raise questions of abutter’s rights.

A public hearing will be held on August 19th at 7 p.m. in Freedom Town Hall. All those with any interest are encouraged to attend.

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