Totem Pole Says “Let’s Be Friends”

Freedom — September 29, 2005 — President of the Totem Pole Park Association, Paul Corbin, asked the board of selectmen to work together with the association.

“This has turned into far greater situation than we expected or wanted. We never wanted to be open year round,” he said, “and we still aren’t.” Corbin explained to the board that originally, when the association approached the planning board, only 54 of the 459 members wanted to be able to use their campsites during the winter.

“We never asked to be open year-round.”

In a letter written to the planning board, when Robert Houle was the chairman of that board Corbin outlined the terms of the park membership after the campground was granted the new hours of operation by the planning board. The letter says off-season means “owners who may want to stay overnight at their site during the off-season may do so. The park will still be closed for the season. This means that if we want to snowmobile, we want to be able to stay overnight in the off-season.”

It also added that there will be no additional costs to members of the association, water will not be on, any plowing will be done at the owner’s expense, the community building will be closed, and there will be no increases in insurance or liability costs, arid owners cannot rent out their units to anyone during the off-season because of lack of facilities.

The letter also says that residents of the park cannot establish residency in the park or in the town of Freedom as a result of ownership in the park. Corbin also said anyone who wants to stay through the winter season must register by September 17 and pay $200. If a resident does not pay, a group of residents from the park that patrol the park throughout the season will ask that person to leave or pay.

“This is why we don’t understand why there would be additional restrictions when the association has its own that cover all the issues,” he said.

The board said that no matter what the association’s agreement or the deed to any property in Totem Pole Park says, people are still claiming ignorance to the rules.

“We feel the new owners are not reading or not getting a copy of the association’s regulations,” said administrative assistant Karen Hatch. “The association needs to make sure they get them and read them.”

Chairman of the Board Les Babb said he was a1most certain that people who have bought in to the association did not know about Article 19, which outlines the agreement the condominium owners have with the association.

On the issue of residency, Corbin said he did not know of anyone who has tried to claim residency in the town of Freedom.

“The last thing anyone at Totem Pole wants is to become residents of Freedom,” he said. “Costs would go up.”

Corbin said that if people would be allowed to stay in the park 11 months of the year, other things about the park would have to change, ultimately changing the definition of a campground to a trailer park, which has a different set of rules and regulations at the state level.

Code Enforcement Officer Ned Hatfield said he was concerned that the issues surrounding residents of Totem Pole have gotten out of control and blown out of proportion. He suggested having all the concerned parties talk in person, including the president of Totem Pole so that everyone could come to a reasonable agreement.

Corbin said that two people have confessed to registering their car even though they were not supposed to and said they would rectify the situation.

The board ultimately agreed to use its own attorney in the matter of Totem Pole and agreed to wait until he had returned from his vacation before proceeding on issues of violations.

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