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Thread: The Cog is in the news again for potenitally unpermitted building

  1. #1
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    The Cog is in the news again for potenitally unpermitted building

    https://www.unionleader.com/news/pol...b334c2899.html

    I expect the next Coos County planning board meeting will be an interesting one.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    From the minutes instead of a reporter.

    "Chairman Scarinza discussed an issue that had been brought to his attention regarding warming
    huts that were constructed last fall about 4,000 feet along the railroad. Chairman Scarinza is
    concerned that it needed site plan review and a zoning permit. He stated that he discussed this
    Mr. Presby prior to the meeting and that Mr. Presby’s interpretation of the zoning ordinance is
    different. Chairman Scarinza requested that before the next meeting that Mr. Presby provide a
    memorandum to the board explaining his interpretation of the zoning ordinance or submit a site
    plan application. "

    Mr Presby is a blessing for N.H. and one of the smartest men in NH. I wish him and the Cog the best.

  3. #3
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    https://www.unionleader.com/news/pol...b334c2899.html

    I expect the next Coos County planning board meeting will be an interesting one.
    Is there a way to view this article without actually subscribing to the source cited? Not only is the Union Leader a politically biased source. I really don’t care to take on any cookies they may be trying to mine.
    Last edited by skiguy; 05-17-2019 at 03:09 PM.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    I
    Is there a way to view this article without actually subscribing to the source cited? Not only is the Union Leader a politically biased sourced I really don’t care to take on any cookies they may be trying to mine.
    Like I posted I got mine info straight from the Coos county planning board site. No reporters bias or false information and facts. The minutes say it all and nothing else needed.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Is there a way to view this article without actually subscribing to the source cited? Not only is the Union Leader a politically biased source. I really don’t care to take on any cookies they may be trying to mine.
    Most modern browsers have an incognito mode (browse in private, ...) which will discard any cookies or other traces of activity once closed.

    Tim
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  6. #6
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    From the minutes instead of a reporter.

    ...
    https://www.cooscountynh.us/sites/co...es/05-8-19.pdf

    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 05-17-2019 at 03:52 PM.
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Great info Tim. Thanks!
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    whose interpretation is it that really matters here?
    Reminded me of the General Bashington T. Bullmoose quote "What's good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA!" The General was not a big fan of regulation either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    I was 99% certain that had to be a cartoon, but still had to look it up.
    Actually from the Broadway Musical and subsequent movie. The original oft repeated quote from the comic strip was less inspired: What's good for General Bullmoose is good for everybody, or something like that.

  10. #10
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    For those in the area, the Coos County Planning Board is meeting Wednesday Night in Berlin

    https://www.cooscountynh.us/sites/co..._19_agenda.pdf

    They reference a letter dated May 23rd from the Cog which I assume discusses the potential unpermitted building issue that was raised at the last meeting. The Auto Road was reported in the original article that their interpretation of the Cogs rights on the summit were different than the cog.

    Could be an interesting meeting as much for what doesn't get in the minutes as for what does
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-18-2019 at 08:16 AM.

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    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    I did show up, the buildings are not permitted and will require a zoning special exception/variance due to their location and elevation.

    Mr Presby stated they are for the public's use predominately as warming huts. Complete with a fireplace and porta potty.

    The primary discussion was about a new cog siding at the summit. It was quite interesting. The new structure is going to be roughly 50 feet wide and 120 feet long and is going to impact traffic flow at the summit. The autoroad was there with their lawyer who explained their objections to the new 11 foot high platform. It turns out that the state owns the land in this area and the Cog only has a non exclusive right to use the area for railroad operations. The autoroad also has non exclusive rights for a turning circle for horses and carriages in the same area. Before the cog proceeds with this project they have to also get special exceptions and variances but even before that the state has to agree with the concept. I expect all the users of Mt Washington, the same ones that have been getting a lot of flack from Presby will be involved in giving input on the state.

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    I would prefer no more buildings above treeline. The Cog should remove their unpermitted buildings or be fined daily while they are still standing

  14. #14
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Which Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I did show up, the buildings are not permitted and will require a zoning special exception/variance due to their location and elevation.

    Mr Presby stated they are for the public's use predominately as warming huts. Complete with a fireplace and porta potty...
    Interesting argument. By "public" does he mean anyone who wanders by, or only those who have paid him $10 to park and traverse his right of way?

    Also how does the porta potty get emptied?
    cb
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    Just so there is no confusion, the new warming huts were stated to be at 3800 feet per Mr Presby which appear to be below treeline (using a USGS map which shows treeline around 4400). There is not independent verification and as the terminal point for winter ski operations was represented as "at treeline" I expect its time to get out the altimeter. They are located on the Cog owned land. The problem is that with rare exceptions (like backcountry shelters) there is no new development allowed at this altitude unless there is special exception/variance granted. There is also minor issue that the shelters needs to be setback from the property line which also requires a special exception/variance if they are in the setback. Mr Presby stated they were not. Realistically given the clutter of the cog along its land I expect few would notice these warming shelters. This really is an extension of a ongoing discussion that the planning board has been having with the Cog that the cog has to follow the planning and zoning rules of the county.

    The far more substantial above treeline summit development that was "flying under the radar" by myself and others is the so called "restoration" of a siding on the summit. What had been represented as rebuilding a section of siding on the summit is actually building a much larger elevated structure on the footprint of a section of track that was abandoned 20 years ago and was finally torn out 5 years ago as it blocked access to the summit building. This structure is an elevated trestle 11 feet high on one end tapered back to the existing track approximately 120 feet. So during normal operations at the summit there will be this new elevated structure with railcars parked on top of it further raising the impact to the summit in a place where rail cars have not been for 20 years. This new structure is on state of NH land which the cog has a non exclusive right to operate on. All the non state owned existing buildings on the summit are effectively grandfathered from planning and zoning by Coos county but once they are torn down, that grandfathered status goes away. Interestingly if you go on Google Earth the aerial shot shows the existing shortened track that is there today but the street view image from 2011 shows the track that has been torn out. The new structure is much wider than the track approximately 50 feet wide with a cut out for the stage office building.

    The claim is this for ADA and handicapped accessibility and yes this has been incorporated but to most folks it looks like a way to park, load and unload more railcars at the summit to support the publically stated goal of substantially increased daily Cog ridership while making accessibility more difficult for the autoroad,. It also impacts operations of other groups that operate on the summit. IMHO its grab for space in very crowded location but others may have other rational opinions.

    Despite the hiking publics lack of patience, the long term goal of the state and the Mount Washington Commission, is to reduce the visual impact and number of buildings on the summit. The state park building long ago was designed to consolidate several buildings into one lower impact building. When the WMTW generator building burned to the ground it was not rebuilt. I expect if the Tip Top building was destroyed it would not be rebuilt. The state has commissioned a study on the Yankee Building (the transmitter building) upgrade or replacement and last thing I heard the plan was to replace it and expect the replacement will be far lower profile. I don't see the antennas going away anytime soon So the goal is reduce the visual clutter on the summit when possible and adding a elevated train trestle with cars on top of it sure is a move in the wrong direction.

    The Cog had represented to the board that the proposed track extension and structure was on land owned by the cog, it came out that they actually do not own all of it and had submitted the application "in error". They tried to get the board to accept this as a minor error but the board ultimately decided to allow the application to be withdrawn. Since part of it is owned by the state, the application will have to be signed by the state that they are in agreement with the project which will put them at cross purposes with other summit users who will be impacted. The board also recommended that the Cog apply for the zoning exceptions and variances (that the Cog conveniently have not filed) as this is now new development in area where new development is effectively banned unless a special exception and variance is granted. The autoroad's lawyer was present and indicated that they were not in agreement with the proposed plan and suggested that in their opinion the proposal would have a hard time meeting the requirements for relief. The director of the state parks Phil Bryce was asked to make comments and was quite politically adept at not saying anything firm but holding out hope there would be a collaborative solution. He did definitely state that the state will not sign off on the application until all parties at the summit have participated. Mr Presby's lawyer indicated they were planning to meet with the state as soon as possible and the auto roads lawyer and others pointed out that all parties with interests in the summit need to be involved with any negotiations. The logical venue for this is the Mount Washington Commission which the Cog has been antagonizing for the last few years so it could get interesting.

    Unlike past meetings I have attended, Mr Presby stayed around after the official meeting was over and had individual discussions with various members of the board. It was not hard even standing across the room hearing him state to board members that the process was impossible and the board was unwilling " to work with him" Given that he is a lawyer and has attempted to bully the Mt Washington Commission in the past with legal arguments it makes it a bit difficult to juxtapose the two Mr Presby's.

    The net result is I expect the Cog is going to be spending a lot of future meetings on Cog issues or the Cog will just pull back like they did when it became apparent that the Cog hotel was in for a lot of opposition. The Cog does have the "bullys pulpit" this season as its the 150th anniversary and all sorts of news folks are looking at getting a free ride up to the summit to do a fluff piece.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-20-2019 at 09:10 AM.

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