Freedom – September 11, 2008 – Tim Cupka of Ossipee Lake Marina asked the Freedom Board of Selectmen on Monday for clarification regarding the town’s monitoring of the gate that blocks access from the marina’s lower parking lot to Alvino Road.
According to Cupka, the gate is periodically vandalized, most recently during Labor Day weekend. While he has since fixed the gate, he says the real issue is that the town knew about the vandalism before he himself did.
Cupka said he feels it’s “a waste of money” for the town’s code enforcement officer to be sent to the site every time there is a problem with the gate. He suggested that in the future, the marina be allowed to simply report the vandalism to the Freedom police chief, and then to go ahead and fix the gate.
The selectmen agreed with him.
The marina’s use of Alvino Road through the lower parking lot has been a contentious issue since 2001 when zoning officials gave the marina “after the fact” approval to use a parking lot it constructed on residential property without required town authorization. As part of its approval, the board prohibited access from the lot, known as Lot 42, to Alvino Road except for emergency vehicles.
After the ruling, which was upheld in Superior Court, area residents reported that the marina continued to use the narrow dirt road. In response to the complaints, the selectmen in October 2005 ruled that the business could use Alvino Road because traffic flows from bass fishing tournaments were creating “a safety issue.” Town Attorney Peter Malia subsequently overruled the selectmen.
In August 2006, the Carroll County Independent reported that Cupka asked the selectmen if he could use the road for a fishing tournament on September 2nd and 3rd, “or what the fine would be.” According to the meeting minutes, Selectman Breslin said “a one-time exception” would be “reasonable in terms of public safety,” and Selectman Babb said such an exception would need to be posted on the agenda ahead of time. While no decision was made at the meeting, area residents reported to town officials that Alvino Road was used by the marina that weekend.
In June 2006, area residents again reported that the marina was using Alvino Road and adjacent residential Lot 42. In July, Code Enforcement Officer Ned Hatfield confirmed the violation, writing in his report: “This is a repeat violation of the previous year, and for this violation there is a fine of $275. Future use of these facilities will be considered as a separate violation for each boat or vehicle and an appropriate fine will be assessed for each occurrence.”
In August that year, marina owner Kevin Price paid the $275 fine “under protest” and asked the selectmen for “clarification” of the violations. The selectmen agreed to put the check in a safe and not cash it “until the matter can be resolved.” Selectmen’s meeting minutes do not indicate whether the check was ever cashed.
Area residents have reported to the Code Enforcement Officer that the marina has continued to use Alvino Road this year.
[Portions of this story courtesy of Carroll County Independent and reporter Cynthia Davis]