indecision on Glen Lake?
April 12, 2010, I submitted a
proposal to the Board of Selectmen for
addressing what most of us here in Goffstown know
to be a serious problem at the Glen Lake
Waterfront. We are all too familiar with
trash, alcohol use, parking problems and other
issues over there, and most of us also know
the vast majority of visitors to the Waterfront
are not residents of Goffstown.
the residents, however, who shoulder the financial
burden of maintenance and upkeep, yet few of us
can ever find an empty parking space or a clean
area to spread a blanket for an enjoyable
afternoon family picnic.
proposed to selectmen was to either 1) restrict
parking - and access to the park - to residents
only, or 2) institute a system of paid parking for
non-residents. Here's a quick
breakdown of each:
PARKING. This is the quickest
solution with the smallest initial cost.
As the Waterfront has only 18 parking spaces
(two of them handicapped spaces) for roughly
18,000 residents, simply posting signs every
few parking spaces saying something like
"Waterfront Park Restricted to Residents
Only - Transfer Station sticker required for
parking" would go a long way
towards opening up parking for residents, but
also helping to eliminate the undesirable
element that currently frequents the beach
It is important to note that the restriction
should go beyond restricting parking spaces to
residents only; it must also restrict the park
itself to residents only. Otherwise,
parking will continue to spill over into
nearby neighborhoods, the kindergarten parking
lot and other areas of Elm Street where
parking is illegal.
PARKING. Although the initial
investment for establishing a paid parking
system for non-residents is higher, this
solution has the potential to produce a
revenue stream for the town that will help
offset the costs of maintenance and
upkeep. A payphone-sized self-ticketing
kiosk can be purchased for under $2,000 and
could pay for itself in less that one
season. Thereafter, any revenue is a
windfall for taxpayers.
Under such a system, non-residents would be
allowed to use the Waterfront, but would be
required to pay to park along Elm
Street. Residents, on the other hand,
would simply display a Transfer Station
sticker and park for free. I believe
many non-residents would likely find other
places to frequent rather than pay $10-$15 for
a parking space at Glen Lake. Also, this
would likely help keep the many bicyclists who
park sometimes five or six cars at Glen Lake
on a Saturday morning, take their bicycles off
their racks, put on their go-fast suits and
take off, tying up those spaces for the day.
can read further details on this proposal by clicking
either solution (or if selectmen choose to do nothing
at all), one this is
clear: Police enforcement must be stepped
up. The current Glen
Lake Beach Ordinance already prohibits
alcohol, glass containers and littering, and all
of those provisions are already being violated on
a daily basis.
is important to note that any parking plan -
or Waterfront access restriction - would not include the boat
ramp or the seven parking spaces across the street
designated for vehicles towing trailers. As
such, the boat ramp and related spaces would be
open to both residents and non-residents
alike. I have no problem with this, as
boaters and fishermen are not the cause of the
parking issues, trash problems and ordinance
violations at the waterfront.
WHAT'S THE DELAY?
I'm wondering about is: What's the
holdup? The Goffstown News, in two
editorials over the last three weeks, has come out
in full support of the plan. So has
selectman Steve Fournier. And both selectmen
Nick Campasano and chairman Scott Gross
acknowledged the problems at Glen Lake and
indicated their support for the plan, or parts of
it, as well.
the delay in making a decision is due to Gross'
recent absences from a couple meetings - selectmen
may be waiting for a full board before making a
decision. In the meantime, both selectmen
David Pierce and Phil D'Avanza, have come out
against institution of the plan, but so far
neither has offered alternative solutions.
"concerns" are particularly
confusing. He has harped on what have proven
to be three non-issues:
didn't want to restrict access to the boat
ramp because, he stated, it is owned by the
state. This is wrong. A quick
phone call by Town Administrator Sue
Desruisseaux quickly proved that fear to be
unfounded. I called them myself as
well. The boat ramp is owned by the Town
of Goffstown, not the state, and although no
one except D'Avanza has mentioned restricting
the ramp itself to residents-only, it appears
we could do so if we so chose. I
personally recommend we don't.
said a residents-only restriction would mean
NH Marine Patrol would no longer cover Glen
Lake. This is also wrong. I
spoke to an administrator and three Marine
Patrol officers about this claim. They
have all confirmed that NH Marine Patrol has
jurisdiction over every public body of water
in New Hampshire larger than 10 acres in size, regardless of
whether there is a town beach on it or
not. As the administrator told me,
"We could care less if you have a
residents-only beach or not. We are
still responsible for enforcing the law on the
lake, and would continue to do so regardless
of what the town decides to do with the
said a residents-only restriction meant NH
Fish and Game would no longer stock the lake.
Wrong here, too. I spoke to NH Fish and
Game myself, along with two of their
conservation officers, about this. Not
only did they all confirm this was not the
case, but one officer cited eight or nine
examples (Gilford, Sandwich, Meredith, to name
a few) of towns who restrict access to their
town beaches using what they called "dump
stickers", and are still patrolled and
stocked by Fish and Game year after
year. According to all of them, Glen
Lake would be no different.
let's get with it, Phil. And I think Mr.
Pierce needs to consider the best interests of the
taxpayers for whom the Waterfront at Glen Lake was
created in the first place as well. If you
don't like the current proposals or suggestions,
then come up with a better one. But don't
turn a blind eye to the problem.
is already right around the corner, and
Goffstown's residents must be provided access to
one of our most beautiful natural resources
instead of footing the bill for out-of-towners who
visit - and often just trash - the Glen Lake
Fournier has it right - there's no need for
"further study" or other delays. It's
time for selectmen to do something about it before
another season goes by the wayside.
Guy Caron can be
reached via e-mail at: GuyC@GoffstownResidentsAssociation.com
Columns by Guy Caron
DISCLAIMER: The opinions
expressed by Mr. Caron are not necessarily those of the
Goffstown Residents Association or its members.
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