Neighbors Want Webcam Moved, Not Taken Down

Ossipee – September 18, 2008 – Ossipee Lake webcam neighbor Doug Brown says he understands why people enjoy looking at the lake on the Internet, but hopes people will consider how the popular device, which can get 5,000 page views a day, has affected his family.

In a phone interview with Ossipee Lake Alliance, Brown said the webcam, which is angled over his property to get a view of Mr. Chocorua, has created a nuisance and safety issues because boaters come close to the shore to mug for the camera and have their picture taken.

He said the issues began this summer after the webcam was publicized in news articles and on the Alliance’s website. He said as many as 14 boats a day have come in to shore on weekends, sometimes in groups.

This summer he and visiting friends watched as two boats approached the camera from different angles and almost collided. In another instance, a jet ski narrowly missed hitting the Browns’ boat because the operator was using one hand to hold his cell phone and the other to wave at the camera while the craft was still moving toward shore.

“People for some reason feel that being on a webcam is like being on TV, and they come right up to our beach and act out in front of the camera,” he said.

Brown said the area in front of his property is shallow and some boaters have come close enough to shore to damage their prop.

“Our kids are in their teens but we have friends who visit with very young children and they swim right where the camera is pointed. We were never concerned about someone being hit by a boat until the camera started bringing boaters in here close to shore.”

Brown says he likes the idea of a lake webcam and has nothing against the camera’s owner, next-door neighbor John Rowe. He just wants Rowe to move the device to another spot on his property. Brown said he approached Rowe in August but the local businessman said people were used to the current view and he was reluctant to move it.

When Brown contacted the Marine Patrol he was told the agency can do nothing unless an officer observes a boater speeding or operating recklessly. When he asked about a missing red-top lake marker that used to keep boats away from the shore, he said he received conflicting answers about whether there is supposed to be a marker at the site.   

In frustration, Brown said he turned to Ossipee zoning officials to question whether the camera should be prohibited in the lake’s residential zone because it’s a commercial enterprise that promotes Rowe’s business, Canoe King. Zoning official Dave Senecal reviewed the town ordinance, which makes no references to webcams, and said he didn’t think the camera could be defined as commercial because it doesn’t sell anything.

Since his complaint to town officials was made public, Brown said boaters have parked themselves directly off his beach as if to make a point. He said a small group came by last weekend, made hand gestures at him and proceeded to urinate off the boat.

The Browns, who are from Hampton, vacationed on Broad Bay for ten years before purchasing their camp-style property in 2004. They hope to retire on the lake one day and are upset that people think they’re trying to take the webcam off the air.

“We fell in love with the lake, had a dream, worked our butts off to pursue that dream, and now after finally being able to purchase our dream four years ago, we now have to deal with this,” he said.
“We didn’t create this situation, and we’re just trying to protect our interests. We’re the victims here.”

Brown said he hasn’t decided what to do next and hopes Rowe will reconsider and move the camera to another spot on his property, which he says should end the issue.

He said he has read most of the comments posted on Alliance website in response to the dispute, and hopes that people will consider the facts and look at the issue from his family’s perspective.

“This could happen to anyone on the lake. I hope people will put themselves in our shoes and ask what they would do if it were happening to them.”


  1. John 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    The camera does not look over the Brown’s property, and the Brown’s may not even be aware of their lot’s boundaries, as they have boats located on our property.

    I will post a map showing the lot locations and the webcam view later today.

  2. Mike D 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    This guy doesn’t know when to give up.

  3. Fran Conner 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    Our lakeside homes are located way too close to one another to begin needless bickering about one another. I would not want to retire to any area where neighbor bicker each other.

  4. David 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    Now that summer is over, very few boaters are left on the lake, and disturbances will almost certainly taper off. By next summer, the webcam will be still used and loved by all (including me), but the boat traffic to the cam will likely subside as the novelty of trying to find it wears off. I have a fantastic bass fishing spot right in front of my house, so we constantly have fishermen who come right up to shore doing their thing, and I simply wave to them while drinking my coffee….

  5. Peter 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    Mr. Rowe’s idea and the images of the lake are innovative and entertaining. I’ve checked in there several times. I’m sure, as a successful businessman, he’s interested in avoiding any bad publicity and hard feelings when there may be a simple way to discourage the circus some people create while trying to “get on TV”. Safety and the “right to quiet enjoyment” seem to be behind Mr. Brown’s request for some understanding and compromise. Perhaps relocation of the camera is possible at a modest expense. I, for one, hope so.

  6. Parks Christenbury 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    I am familiar with the history of the camera and the area that it pans. It is my opinion that the view has never included any of the Brown’s property and hence has not invoked any violation of their privacy.
    I am also appalled at media reports that suggest to me that comments attributed to the Brown’s at the recent Ossipee Selectman Meeting, if indeed recorded correctly, would once again in my opinion be misrepresentation of the facts if not outright dishonest.
    It’s very simple. John Rowe has every right in the world to transmit pictures of his property and the adjacent public lake to any and everyone via the Web. Accordingly John has been very discreet in not publicly revealing the webcam’s location, in part to minimize any impact in the area.
    That said, there are a number of remedies available to the Brown’s if their claims of lakeside shenanigans are true. They can petition the Department of Safety for a swim line if they can show the necessary need. They can petition the same Department for a no rafting zone if the conditions so warrant. They can also make an official inquiry to Safety about the referenced red spar buoy to seek it’s proper placement.
    What they should not continue to do is to continue to harass the Rowe’s as the Rowe’s pursue a lawful and well established use of their property. I have advised john that there are a number of legal remedies that he can seek against the Brown’s due to the stress and undue burden brought upon the Rowe family by the publicity generated by the Browns.
    John is a good friend and a great neighbor. I am hopeful that he will be patient with the Browns until the Browns realize the foolishness and pettiness of their complaints. But if the rowe family tires of the unnecessary negative publicity generated by the Browns, I will gladly volunteer my time and financial assistance, along with a number of of other friends and associates of the Rowes, to seek the appropriate remedy at the Superior Court level.
    Let’s hope it doesn’t have to come to that!

  7. Nearby neighbor 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    It is unfortunate that seasonal residents living/working at some driving distance from Ossipee will be unable to attend the public hearing on this matter to voice support for John Rowe and his webcam.

  8. rob 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    My name is Robert Lyons, I live in Northeast Vermont, and I own and run the snowmobile website that the Ossipee Lake cam is uplinked to. When we first started, I encouraged John to purchase a Stardot 3MP webcam and install it at his lakefront location so that we might have an image from NH to use as a traffic builder for the site. These cams are not cheap, the cost was well over a thousand dollars. John did purchase the cam, and it has been successful in bringing traffic to our snowmobile site during the last year or so. I am knowledgeable as to the view captured by the camera, and that the Brown’s property is well out of the webcam view. I am truly disturbed now to see the problem that John is having from the Browns, and I have to wonder, what the heck is going on down there in New Hampshire?

    I’ve always thought of New Hampshire being a state proud of individual and property rights. But yet here I see other residents questioning John’ rights to point his webcam over his OWN property to show a view of the beautiful lake? Does John not pay property taxes? Does owning property mean anything in New Hampshire these days? Or is John subject to the whims of an adjacent property owner (and part-time resident) that feels he, instead of John and others, owns the exclusive rights to “his” uncluttered view of the Lake? I believe that the Browns and their sympathizers need to recall and understand the New England tradition of sharing and living with your neighbor. What is this world coming to?

  9. Neighbor 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    Dear Robert Lyons,

    Please do not lump all “part-time residents” together. Please note that other “part-time residents” have wriiten in support of John Rowe and his webcam. In fact, I do not think any of us “part-time resident” neighbors have objected to John’s webcam. In fact, all that I have spoken with think the Browns’ claims are laughable.

  10. Nearby neighbor 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    I do not think John Rowe will need to take any action. I think he can just sit back and let the neaighors writing indicate how ridiculous this whole business the Browns have brought up is!

  11. Miguel Diocuore 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    ”Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils.”
    General John Stark, (State motto of New Hampshire)

    U.S. Constitution: First Amendment

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  12. Another neighbor 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    This publication and others need to stop using the word “neighbors” in their headlines. It gives entirely the wrong impression. Yes, it is two neighbors (plural) who object, but it is the same household, one property belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Brown – NO OTHER NEIGHBORS have complained!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Mark D 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    The time and money invested to share something beautiful with everyone is to be commended. Some though use their time and money to shut out the beauty to any who they feel are not worthy.
    This has been happening alot lately not only in New Hampshire (the live free or die state) but all over the country.
    It is selfish and a real shame.
    Thanks John for sharing the view from your property where your family has been for a very long time.

  14. Broad Bay Resident 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    For the third time I am writing in support of John’s WebCam & will continue to do so. Mr Brown please contact the Marine patrol if this is really a safety issue involving non enforcement of boating regulations. Record bow numbers, take photos and forward to the marine patrol.
    As for Mr Lyons comment.. A property owner is a property owner. Full time resident or “part-time resident” makes no difference; we all pay the same tax base and support the local businesses. These include Canoe King, Snowmobile Clubs, and SledNH which this “part-time resident” has supported frequently for many years.

  15. Allie 16 years ago September 18, 2008

    Parks Christenbury, not trying to be rude, but who is harassing who? if i were the Brown’s im pretty sure i was being the ones harassed. this article even said that Doug went over to try to ask him to move it and he said no. i have seen the web cam and know where it points. it is over their waters. their kids have been seen out there trying to swim, around their own beach and almost hit by a boat. im pretty sure the lawsuit would then be brought to John’s door if someone was injured over this silly web cam. and i dont understand where you come off threatening them over the internet. More power to them. i would fight them too. hes not asking to take it down but simply move it. what is the harm in that? people would still get a beautiful view of the lake and great weather updates, so why not make this whole problem go away? why cant john be a good and peaceful neighbor?

    and this live free of die stuff? really? America has laws to protect its peoples safty, privacy and many more things that this web cam is preventing. live free of die: can you drink and drive? can you shoot someone? you are taking that out of context.
    none of you are looking at this from there prospective and i honestly hope they do fight it. none of you have lost any sleep over this (which i bet the Brown’s have) and at the end of it all, you will still have your silly little web cam, it will just be facing another way, which i bet you all will not even notice or care cause if you love the lake so much, you will love every angle of it.

  16. Tony D 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    Wow, can’t believe how crazy people can act and how bad things can get. Leave the camera as it is. Quit assigning blame where there is no issue, leave lawyers out of this and go back to enjoying one of the most beautiful areas around. Life is too short ! John is doing a great service by providing this webcam. Sorry for the grief one person is weaving.

  17. Lynn 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    We have been neighbors on the other side of John’s property for 21 years. We have seen no significant change in the boat traffic in front of our property since the web cam was installed. Boaters often travel very close to our shore looking at the homes, or simply travelling past. We are visited frequently by bass fishermen who stop and fish right under our dock, very close to our shore. Our response is to wave and ask “How’s the catch today?” The lake is here for everyone’s enjoyment. I think this issue is getting totally out of control. However, since the marker in front of John’s property disappeared, some boater’s are getting too close as they don’t realize how shallow the water is at that point. Perhaps we can try to get the town to install a replacement.

  18. Alliance Staff 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    We spoke with Supervisor Richard Griffin of the Marine Patrol, and he said he will come to the lake this weekend to validate that there should be a marker at that site and confirm that it is missing. If so, the state will replace it next year. DLS

  19. Broad Bay Freedom Resident 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    I believe that the maps showing the Brown’s property and the web cam view says it all. Thank you for clarifing this. Mr.Brown has no basis for his complaint. Please keep that web cam up and running.

  20. Not so amused 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    So many comments!
    I must admit that I feel a twinge more sympathy for Mr. Brown after reading about his detailed objections. Regardless, I am compelled to say that he has created a much bigger problem than the original one by taking his objection public, and continuing the saga. We have a dock, swim platform, and mooring off of our beach and all summer long Kayakers, Bass Fishermen, Paddleboat Riders, Canoists and more operate inside and around our “stuff”. I’ve felt an occassional concern but never to the point of making an issue of it. Opposite our property there is an association beach that has a security light lit all night. On a calm evening the light draws a reflection line across the lake which is very ojectionable when sitting outdoors at a peacful campfire. I once asked that it be shielded somehow and the association chose to do nothing – I dropped it, and planted a few shrubs blocking the view from the fire pit. My next door neighbor has two moorings and one in my opinion is too close to my property. When the wind blows left his 24 foot party boat which seems to have a long mooring line on it intrudes on my beachfront and view but it is 50 feet out on the water. I don’t particularly like it but have chosen to keep the peace by sucking it up. Another neighbor in preparation for selling his property several years ago installed a 6′ high stockage fence on his property line that I am pretty sure voilates the local code. I sucked it up. The fence has grown on us and we now like it very much. We have good neigbors and want to stay friends with them. There is a price to pay for that. I hope that these guys can find a way to put all of this behind them. Clearly the Browns, like most of us, truly enjoy the lake, and it’s a crying shame that this has taken on an ugly life of it’s own. SHAKE HANDS, Laugh, and move on if at all possible.

  21. dothe doo 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    Allie: Browns property does not extend over the water. State owns the water. Browns lot is two lots down. They are not direct “nieghbors” to John.
    I like the web cam and see it every couple of day and I do not even go there to vacation. I go to Maine. But it has a great view, so I watch it once in a while.

  22. Allie 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    Actually dothe doo,
    johns father own the property and it is right next store… i have seen it. they share a driveway and you can see their houses through the woods. i dont know who john is fooling by that map… you can see from the water. i have gone over in my boat to see and there house are right next store….. its johns fathers house he is “using” for a web cam spot. when really its on his house. i wish john could just actually be a mature adult about this whole thing. the browns just want it angled the other way. why is that so hard? the browns are the victims here….

  23. Mike D 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    No sympathy from me, you reap what you sow.
    As far as John, always found him to be a straight shooter, good man to do business with, you can trust his word. Has done a tremendous amount of work for the snowmobile club he is associated with. The truth is easy to see here.

  24. John 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    I live in the house on lot #52. My parents live on lot #53, and if anyone doubts that they are welcome to come and see the webcam located on my house and also check the town tax records as to which property is which.

  25. Parks Christenbury 16 years ago September 19, 2008

    I too am perplexed my Allie’s claims. The camera is clearly where John states it is, not where Allie claims. And the camera is in clear view, it is easily discernable from the Lake. Verification of John’s claim is easily determined. But not to be rude, I really have a hard time following Allie’s rambling and disjointed posts!

    This issue can be boiled down to very simple terms. The Rowe family, longtime Lakers and New Hampshire natives, are a very fortunate family that enjoys a magnificent view of Broad Bay with Mount chocorua clearly framed in the background. Gracious folks that they are, rather than hog this view all to themselves John has taken the liberty and personal expense to allow an untold number of visitors from near and afar to partake in this often breathtaking panorama. The view has been enjoyed by untold thousands of vistors from many corners of the world. The Rowe’s practice what they preach, that the Lake and it’s inherent beauty should be shared, enjoyed and cherished by all.

    The Brown’s are relative newcomers to the Lake. They have taken the mistaken impression that the public waterways and associated views adjacent to their camp are their private and sole property, not to be shared with others. They have made disparaging remarks against the Rowe’s at a public board meeting without offering any proof of their claims. In short, they want to prevent the general public from viewing and enjoying property that the general public has every right and expectation to enjoy.

    The question is simple.

    Which family would you rather have as neighbors?