South Down Shores on Lake Winnipesaukee

Building Committee FAQ's

January 2012 (Satellite Dishes)

This Issue’s Hot Topic: Satellite Dishes


Question: I want to get a satellite dish for my unit. A friend says FCC regulations allow this, but my neighbor says I have to get Building Committee approval. Who’s right?



Answer: Good question, Gus, and one that has been coming up frequently. An FCC rule has been in effect since October 1996, permitting residents of planned communities to install direct broadcast satellite antennas on individually owned properties and in condominiums where the owner has exclusive use of property, but it does not allow owners to install on common areas, which

may include roofs, exterior walls, etc.  The rule further allows community associations such as South Down to enforce restrictions, provided such restrictions do not prevent, unreasonably delay, or unreasonably increase the cost of antenna installation, maintenance or use, or preclude the receipt of an acceptable quality signal.  So, yes Gus, this means SDRA and your village association are allowed to regulate the means, method, and location of antenna installation within the parameters just stated.   As a result of the FCC rules, the SDRA Council adopted Satellite Dish/Antenna Installation Rules.


Before considering the installation of an antenna, you must consult with your village association to determine what is considered your exclusive use area and whether an acceptable quality signal can be received in that location.  The proposed location must not be visible or the least visible, from the main South Down streets.  A Notice of Intent to Install an Antenna must be filed with, and approval received from, your village and the Building Committee before proceeding with installation.  The Notice of Intent forms may be obtained from TPW Management or Marilyn Goodwin.  Unless the size or anticipated antenna location does not conform with the rules, you may proceed with installation.  Otherwise, the Building Committee will review the application and arrange to meet with you and your village rep to review the proposed location of your antenna.  Bottom line Gus, work with us, we will work with you, and we will all be happy with the appearance of our community.

March 2012 (Why so many rules and what is all this coverage about)

Why do we have so many rules, and what is this coverage all about?


Question: I bought a condo in a South Down village last summer and received the Condominium Association documents at closing. Then I got a copy of the South Down Recreation Association Rules and Regulations. Why are there so many rules? And what is this issue about coverage I keep hearing about?  Just Wondering…


Answer: Dear Just Wondering, Welcome to South Down Shores! You are now an owner in a private gated community of almost 500 homes, so that should be a clue about why there are so many rules. And they are not exactly easy to read. Our waterfront community is beautifully developed and landscaped with many lovely single homesites as well as 17 distinctive villages. The South Down Recreation Association manages the main roads and common property, the Greenbelt area, beach front area and beach house, playground, tennis and basketball courts, etc. Many volunteer committees manage other facilities and support the SDRA work. Each village has its own requirements and management structure and also adheres to the South Down Recreation Association rules and requirements.  Owners take great pride in their villages and individual homesites and have a responsibility to adhere to the rules of residency set out in their association; it really creates a sense of harmony and fairness for all while maintaining the appearance of a well cared for community. One of the trade offs of this type of community is that you do not have the freedom to do whatever you want on your little piece of the kingdom. We expect you will not find the rules to be all that difficult and will come to appreciate the beauty and tranquility we enjoy as a result.


Now about your coverage question…back in the early 1980’s, South Down Shores was conceived, designed, and approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) under the then Laconia Zoning ordinances. Simply stated, PUD’s allow increased density while preserving open space. Only 20% of the total acreage can be covered by impermeable surfaces, such as buildings, driveways, walkways, parking areas, patios and decks, etc. The remaining 80% had to be preserved as open space, greenbelts, lawns, woodlands, walking trails, gardens, etc. Each village keeps track of their ‘coverage’ percentage, as does the City of Laconia.  When a new home is built, or a deck or patio is enlarged, that additional square footage is calculated and the village’s total coverage percentage is revised. Some villages still have lots that are privately owned but yet to be built upon, so it is critical for them to keep track of their coverage to allow for future building..


Generally speaking, any exterior changes, and some interior changes, will require village approval as well as SDRA approval.

May 2012 (Exterior changes)

We are contemplating doing some exterior changes to our home and yard.  What guidelines do we follow?


Below is an outline of the minor application/notification process for all owners.  It appears that spring is making an early appearance this year.  Because many of the associations and individual homeowners will be making changes to the exterior of their condo units and/or homes, the Building Committee would like to reaffirm the rules and regulations that must be followed before any work is begun.  If a village or an individual plans to repave existing areas, re-shingle roofs or paint a structure, in the same color as now exists, then only a notification to the Building Committee is required.  An email is sufficient.  State the address of the property, what is planned, when it will be done and a response will be sent thanking you for informing the Committee.


If you want to install a satellite dish, there is a list of regulations and a form that must be filled out and submitted to the Building Committee along with village approval.  There is no fee.  Forms are available at TPW Management.  If the plan is to change something existing or add something new, such as lighting fixtures, fences, doors, windows or landscaping, then a minor application must be submitted.  Beginning on May 1, 2012 there will no longer be a $50 fee.  However, if a change is made without approval from the Building Committee prior to the work beginning, a fine of $50 will be added to the owner’s SDRA account.  An explanation of what is proposed should also be included along with a copy of your contractor’s insurance certificate, copy of Laconia building permit (if required) and village approval for those of you who live in condominiums.  (Minor applications can be downloaded from the web site or TPW Management will send or email you a blank copy.)


Villages also must submit an application if work is being done on one or several units at the association’s expense.  If you plan to install a generator or an air conditioning unit, a minor application must be submitted along with village approval if you live in a condominium.  However, if a change is made without approval from the Building Committee prior to the work beginning, a fine of $50 will be added to the owner’s SDRA account.  If you are unsure about how to proceed, please call the TPW Management office at 603-527-8147 and they will get an answer for you.


The Building Committee works hard to maintain the quality of the South Down Shores community and asks that all of you follow the requirements before beginning a project. Your cooperation is appreciated.

July 2012 (Summer reminders)

Summer is in full swing now in South Down Shores and the community is looking beautiful. The pride in ownership is evident in both the single family homes and our villages. The SDRA Building Committee would like to thank all those owners and village representatives who have been so cooperative as they made improvements this year. We have made an effort to educate the community on the procedures for approval and answered some frequently asked questions, using the newly redesigned website and articles in the South Down Shorelines. We have also sent information out through your Council representatives.


We have received a number of requests for upgrades to landscaping, window and door replacements, exterior lighting and a repaving project.  Notifications of painting and roof replacements have been received.  We have one new home under construction and two minor additions were completed this past fall. It is good to see owners keeping up their properties.



• Always start with your village association when contemplating any exterior work. We need the village approval before we will consider an application.

• The $50 fee for a minor application has been eliminated; however, a $50 fine will be imposed if work is begun without the required application and village approval.

• A comprehensive survey of existing satellite antennas has been completed, so please send us an e-mail so we can assure your antenna is on our list.

• Summer is finally here. Please cut your lawns to keep our community looking nice and make arrangements for maintenance if it's needed.


If you have additional questions, contact TPW Management for guidance.

September 2012 (Generators)

Question:  I would like to install a generator at my residence. How do I get SDRA approval?


Answer:  A minor application must be completed, showing the proposed location and general specifications of the unit, as well as the installer’s information.  If you are in a village, written approval from the condominium association Board of Directors must accompany this application.


Question:  Do I need to file for any permits or get City of Laconia approval?


Answer:  Yes on both accounts. Permits are required for gas fired and oil fired generators. The units cannot be located under decks and must be 5 feet away from combustibles. Also, single family homesites are subject to setbacks, a consideration with placement of the unit.  A permit for the electrical work is also required from City Code Enforcement. The work must be completed by licensed professionals who should know the permitting process. Code Enforcement and the Fire Department will be happy to answer questions about their requirements.


Question:  After the generator has been installed, is there anything else I need to do?


Answer:  When the installation is completed, Code Enforcement will inspect the electrical which includes electrical trenching and a transfer switch. The Fire Department will review the generator and tank placement as well as gas feed to generator and will put a tag on it with a tracking number. That inspection number should then be forwarded to the SDRA Building Committee and will be added to your file to reflect that the generator has been properly installed and inspected.  Your contractor should be aware of these requirements, but you are ultimately responsible for insuring the generator is properly installed and inspected.


This information is presented with the cooperation and review of Shanna B. Saunders, Director, City of Laconia, Planning, Zoning and Code Enforcement Ph: 603-527-1264 Fax: 603-524-2167 as well as Kenneth Erickson, Fire Chief, City of Laconia Fire Dept.,603-524-6881 and Deputy Chief Charles Roffo, Fire Prevention Officer. We thank them for their input and review.


January 2013 (Generators)

A few months ago, we discussed the requirements for installing a permanent generator. Simply put, it is quite a process, requiring layers of approvals and inspections. Now we present the article we promised on portable generators.  Many people have portable generators which can be very useful during power outages. Being portable, they do not require SDRA approval.  The Laconia Fire Department website has a short video clip from the NH State Fire Marshal’s office: .  An informative Emergency Generator Safety insert was mailed with a recent PSNH bill. More information can be found on the PSNH website, following the safety link, We have included some highlights here from that website.


“When improperly installed, a generator—no matter how small you might think it is—can backfeed dangerous amounts of electricity into the electrical grid beyond your home. The electricity, once on “the grid” is quickly “stepped up” to much higher and dangerous voltages. This can cause fires as well as be a danger to nearby residents, and to utility line technicians.


Buying:  Before you buy a generator, make sure it's the right size for your needs.


Installing:  Have a qualified electrician install the generator, which must be connected to your home's wiring through a special transfer switch.  This transfer switch ensures that the house wires are isolated from the utility wires, preventing any electrical backfeed onto the electrical system.


Venting and refueling:  Generators must be vented outside and should never be refueled while operating.


You may need a town permit or an official inspection for the generator. Tip: place your generator away from your home, and especially at a distance from windows and doorways that could allow dangerous exhaust and carbon monoxide inside.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you if it reaches dangerous levels in an enclosed space. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. “

May 2013 (Patios and Decks)

This article continues the ongoing effort to educate our owners about some of the common requests the South Down Building Committee receives. This one focuses on patios and decks.


The first step, if you are in a village, is to check with your association to see what materials are approved and how your patio or deck proposal will impact the village coverage. Once you have that information, submit the complete application for village approval.  Written village approval is required before any application is considered by the Building Committee.


Additional guidelines:


• All patio and deck projects require a Minor Revision Application as well as a sketch of the proposed project on the property, including setbacks if applicable. The specification sheets for materials to be used must be attached to the application.

• A Certificate of Insurance from your contractor must accompany the application.

• Replacement of an existing patio or deck of same size and material is generally a simple approval process, but does require the process be followed.

• Patios do not require a permit from the city unless there is some structural element like a raised wooden platform.

• The only patio material the city allows to be used and counted as pervious is pervious pavers that are hollow in the middle, such as Uni Eco-Stone or Turfstone, or pervious pavement. The use of impervious materials will impact coverage. Your contractor should be able to advise you regarding the appropriate material for your project.

• Any deck requires a City of Laconia Building Permit, a copy of which must be provided to TPW Management before work commences.  The City of Laconia Building Department will be able to answer your specific questions. The South Down Building Committee will assistance with the application process.

Nov 2013 (Drainage Repair or Improvements)

Just when we thought we had run out of topics for another Shorelines article, the SDRA Building Committee gets a run on a particular issue and we decide to do some education on that issue. Such was the case for the October meeting when we had three drainage applications on the agenda. City of Laconia Planning Director Shanna Saunders has been extremely helpful when we ask for city requirements or direction and some of her response follows. We live adjacent to the Laconia public drinking water supply and it is critical that drainage is managed properly for everyone’s well-being. We also live in a

community where the infrastructure is starting to age and repairs and sometimes improvements may be needed.


So how do you proceed if a repair or improvement is needed? City response is bolded in italics…


From the City viewpoint, folks need to understand that if they are within wetlands, even those created by draining improvements, or with in the 250 foot shoreland, they need to reach out to DES.


The following website will point you in the right direction...
There is a helpful FAQ page at


Many of our villages are not within the Shoreland or wetland areas. The following would apply…


For draining repair, in kind, (no changes are made to the design, you are simply fixing or maintain what currently exists) nothing other than notification to the City is required. Notification in writing is best. This allows the city to be aware of the project and speak to you about proper erosion control to make sure sediments don’t end up in any other system or in the Lake.


For drainage change, upgrade, expansion, etc, this would be an update to your approved site plan. It can be as simple as an administrative approval from Shanna Saunders or as complex as a Planning Board meeting and that entirely depends on whether the project is simple or complex. It’s best if folks talk to Shanna before they file their application and she can let them know what application they’ll need.


To summarize, check with the City before you finalize your plans and sign contracts, even before you file the minor application with the SDRA Building Committee.  Because drainage affects the greater community, we will need to know that the City has approved your project.  This may save you time and money in the long run.


The City of Laconia Planning Department website has more useful information …



Broken branches and hanging limbs may be removed as this is standard cleanup and does not require approval. Also, if there is a safety concern that a tree may fall and cause damage, contact Marilyn Goodwin at with a notification of the situation and proceed to have the tree removed.

For all other situations, a minor application (available on the web site) should be submitted along with a sketch showing the location of the tree(s) in question. Specific property lot lines should be included. Please make sure that the tree is located on your property and that it is tagged. Villages can submit a list of property addresses where tagged trees will be removed within the village.

Minor applications can be mailed to TPW Management or emailed to Marilyn Goodwin at Approval of the application must be received before any trees are removed. Your cooperation is appreciated.

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“While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page it is the readers responsibility to check with TPW Management regarding final updated fees and documents.”