People and Property: Real Estate and Construction News From Around NH
Newport road repairs, rental shortages in Sunapee, new Mazda dealership in Claremont ... and more
Federal funds may pay for road repairs in Newport
Federal funds could pay to repair roads damaged during the July storms. And, the Newport Board of Selectmen learned during their Aug. 28 meeting that damages were more extensive than previously thought.
Interim City Manager Paul Brown told the board that Blueberry Ridge Road was an unknown issue and now has a hole that has narrowed traffic to one lane.
“There was nothing under 4 to 5 inches of pavement,” he said noting that the repairs should be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Bids to install culverts and stone ditches on Fletcher Road and restore washed-out slope, pipe and headwall construction projects on Camel Hump Road were due Friday.
Selectman Jeffrey Kessler noted that Gov. Chris Sununu still needed to request a declaration before the town receives any FEMA money. Sununu made the request two days later, on Aug. 30.
“We continue to work with our partners at FEMA and we’re giving them the preliminary information we have,” Brown said. “They’ll continue to tally the cost. They have recommended, I understand, and the staff has recommended, a disaster declaration.”
Brown said the town’s estimated cost is between $125,000 and $150,000 on the six big projects.
Brown said the town will also get FEMA reimbursement for ditches washed away. “They’re documenting that,” he said. — CHRIS FROST/EAGLE TIMES
Outdoor Pride named one of the Best Companies to Work For in New Hampshire
Outdoor Pride Landscape & Snow Management, a New England-based commercial snow removal and landscape management company, was recently named one of the “Best Companies to Work For” in New Hampshire by Business NH Magazine. Outdoor Pride, which employs more than 125 full-time, year-round employees and approximately 300 seasonal employees, was also recognized by Business NH Magazine as a top family-owned business for the second year in a row, as well as one of the fastest growing companies in New Hampshire.
Businesses were ranked by 2022 revenue and average annual revenue growth between 2021 and 2022. Out of 114 companies, Outdoor Pride was ranked No. 42 for its growth. Additionally, Outdoor Pride, which saw a three-year average growth rate of nearly 35%, was ranked No. 15 out of 20 companies on the list.
“To be recognized by Business NH Magazine for our team-first culture and commitment to our employees here at Outdoor Pride is a tremendous honor,” said Mark Aquilino, President, Outdoor Pride Landscape & Snow Management. “This recognition would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our team members and serves as a testament to the strong company culture we have built over the past three decades. We are immensely proud to be named one of the best companies to work for in New Hampshire, as well as a top family-owned business.”
Tempers, rentals short in Sunapee
Tensions in Sunapee continue to rise as a ban on short-term rentals brews discontent between rental owners and the Sunapee Board of Selectmen.
On March 14, the board passed an article banning all short-term rentals within its Rural Residential Zone, with some exceptions. This ordinance replaced an ordinance allowing short-term rentals throughout Sunapee.
The decision has been controversial.
The Lake Sunapee Short Term Rental Association has been pressuring the board to defend property-owners’ rights. In response to its complaints, as well as those of short-term rental owners, the Board of Selectmen voted on April 17, to grandfather all short-term rentals that existed prior to Dec. 1, 2022, allowing the to continue to be rented.
Any short-term rentals started after that point are now required to be registered with the Zoning Board of Adjustment, but only if considered a “special exception.” This special exception can only be obtained by following guidelines, such as limiting rental occupancy to two guests per bedroom.
If a short-term rental owner manages to adhere to all restrictions, they must still pay a $350 permit fee per rental property. Fees are also incurred for lost guest passes and more. With all of these fees and restrictions, short-term rental owners have been pushing for change.
On June 26, the board again discussed again short-term rentals. A resident attending the meeting asked a question regarding the details of the ordinance, to which Town Manager Shannon Martinez began responding.
But, Selectman Frederick Gallup proceeded to interrupt both Martinez and the resident.
“All you’re doing is making the rest of us mad here,” yelled Gallup. “I’m sick of it.”
When the board chair asked him to stop yelling, his reply was just as exasperated.
“I’m going to speak the way I see fit,” he said. — EMILY STURTEVANT/EAGLE TIMES
McGee Mazda Claremont plans new $8m location
The McGee Mazda Claremont dealership is moving to a temporary location at 798 Main Street and will be there for about a year. The old dealership will permanently close on Saturday, Sept. 9.
“We have a couple of things we’re bringing to the new building,” said General Manager Sean Fitzgerald. “What’s happening here is we’re constructing a brand-new building, and the old building is being demolished Monday.”
The dealership will move into its new building in the summer of 2024.
“Mazda has refaced their whole brand,” he said. “They’re going to build an $8-million building, and nothing is going to be the same.”
He said the new location will be set back off the road and will be customer facing.
“I would think the community has some emotional ties to the building,” he said about the current brick-and-mortar location. “This building has been here since 1952, I think; it was Howell Motors before, then McGee Auto Group bought it, and the Toyota store operated out of here for a little bit before they built their new building. There is a lot of history here.”
Fitzgerald said they’d sold the railing off the wall.
He felt lucky the city of Claremont approved the temporary location.
“The place will have a three-bay garage, so the service (department) will be up and running,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a beautiful property by the Ascutney Railroad Bridge.”
Regardless of its location, Fitzgerald said customer service remains the cornerstone of McGee Mazda Claremont.
“This is a great area,” he said. “I grew up 30 minutes from here, and there is a great customer base. It’s going to be a challenge moving, but we’ll do it as seamlessly as possible. There may be some bumps in the road, but I think it’s going to go pretty smoothly. We’re determined to make our customer experience as good or better in the new location.”
McGee Mazda Claremont will be temporarily located at 114 Charlestown Road. — CHRIS FROST/EAGLE TIMES
American Freight store opens in Hooksett
American Freight – a national home retail store known for its brand name, quality home furnishings – has opened a new, 25,000-square-foot location in Hooksett at 1328 Hooksett Road. The new store held its grand opening the weekend of Sept. 1 – 3.
“We’re excited to open in Hooksett and give the community access to the widest assortment of quality furniture, mattresses and appliances,” said Territory Vice President Hector Vega. “By keeping our overhead low, we can offer everyday low prices on a wide assortment of home furnishings.”
The store will offer a variety of furniture options, from living room and bedroom furniture to kitchen and dining furniture with rugs and home decor accent choices.
Enfield officials consider registry for short-term rental properties
Enfield leaders are asking for the public’s input on a proposal for a short-term rental ordinance.
The Selectboard will host a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Public Works Facility at 74 Lockehaven Road — it can also be streamed on Microsoft Teams via enfield.nh.us — so the board can gather more information about the short-term rentals in town and create a registry.
“In no way is it meant to restrict people from having them,” Rob Taylor, Enfield’s land-use and community development administrator, said. “The goal with this ordinance was to make sure the town got notified this was going on.”
Currently, town officials have no clear picture of how many short-term rentals exist in town, Taylor said. From what he’s heard from residents and observed, the majority of the rentals are near or around the town’s lakes. In recent years, there’s been an uptick in investment firms buying properties in Enfield, he added.
“It’s not just a family living on the lake renting out their place to their friends,” Taylor said. “It’s now companies coming in, buying these properties and doing it as a business.”
In the draft, a short-term rental is defined as a “dwelling unit where transient lodging is provided for compensation for stays of between one and 30 consecutive nights, and where the dwelling unit would normally be considered a residential living unit not associated with regulated commercial activities such as a hotel, inn, motel or bed-and-breakfast.”
One of the provisions of the ordinance calls for owners to have someone within a 30-minute drive of the property “who is authorized to accept calls for and respond to questions, complaints and service requests.”
Like Taylor, Town Manager Ed Morris emphasized that the ordinance aims to serve as a registry rather than as an enforcement tool.
“More than anything, it’s that registry and having someone responsible in the area if our police end up there if there’s a problem, they can call and someone’s available to take care of the problem,” Morris said. That could include concerns about parking or overcrowding.
The ordinance also calls for working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers in kitchens and occupancy limits. Under the proposal, there cannot be more than two people per bedroom plus two, “unless the applicant can show the property is adequate and permitted for more.” For example, a three-bedroom house could have eight occupants, Taylor said.
“You can’t have 15, you can’t have 20, and those are the things that have ruined short-term for a lot of people,” he said.
Other parts of the ordinance address parking and trash removal. Morris said he’s heard from residents who have concerns about cars parked along narrow roadways, as well as complaints about noise.
“There seems to have been more this year than there has been in the past,” he said.
The draft calls for short-term rentals to be inspected by the town and for owners to pay a $50 annual fee for a permit, which must be renewed every year.
Morris stressed that the proposed ordinance — which originated with former Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth, who worked on a proposal in 2020 with Taylor — is just a draft and that residents will have an opportunity to vote on it before it goes into effect.
“It will end up being voted on at Town Meeting no matter what we do, because it’s an enforceable ordinance that will affect the public,” Morris said.
Martha Rich, president of the Mascoma Lake Association, said that the group has not discussed the proposed ordinance.
“It’s not an issue that has come to the Lake Association at all,” she said. She also noted that some members have short-term rentals themselves and that the association has been working to notify all members about the upcoming public hearing.
For a full copy of the draft ordinance, visit tinyurl.com/ypzjxdn4. — LIZ SAUCHELLI/VALLEY NEWS