Marina Floats Expansion Plan Before Freedom Zoning Board

Freedom — November 27, 2006 — Ossipee Lake Marina will seek permission to expand its business 7 pm. Tuesday, revisiting longtime conflicts with the marina’s residential neighbors.

At a Nov. 28 meeting, the issue of marina expansion will resurface. Ossipee Realty Corp. will again petition Freedom Zoning Board of Adjustment for the expansion of on-site boat storage, as well as a boat-washing facility on Lot 42.

The marina, located in a residential area in Freedom, was built in the 1960s, before the town’s zoning ordinance was established.

When Ossipee Realty Corporation bought the marina in 1997, they began to make changes to its layout and infrastructure. According to a timeline recorded by the Ossipee Lake Alliance, a group that aims to preserve and protect the Ossipee Lake environment, the new owners of the marina erected high-intensity lights on the marina property. They also sought the town’s permission to erect two, 10,000-square-foot boat storage buildings on the property.

At nearly every turn, the marina has faced opposition from local residents. After residents along the lakeshore complained, the marina’s high-intensity lights were re-positioned so that the light shone away from the bay.

And while permission to construct the two boat storage buildings was granted by Freedom Zoning Board of Adjustment, it was tied to specific conditions. No more than 225 boats, for example, could be stored in the buildings; no more than 22 additional boats or trailers could be stored outside.

The controversy deepened after Ossipee Realty Corp. purchased an abutting residential lot (Lot 42) in 1998. Over the next four years, neighbors complained that access roads and buildings were constructed in violation of state and local laws.

In 2002, the Freedom Zoning Board of Adjustment refused to allow the marina to officially merge Lot 42 with the rest of the property, which would have increased the site’s boat storage capacity. Later, the board awarded retroactive approval for bathrooms (built in 2000) and parking lots (built in 1998) that had been built without prior approval, according to the alliance.

The “after-the-fact” approval, challenged by citizens, was upheld in New Hampshire Superior Court in 2003. The court also upheld Freedom Zoning Board of Adjustment’s refusal to allow the marina to build additional boat-storage buildings, after Ossipee Realty Corp. challenged that decision.

In 2004, Ossipee Realty Corp. filed an appeal of the superior court’s decision regarding boat storage to the N.H. Supreme Court, but withdrew it two weeks later.

The marina is on the aptly named Marina Road. After a half-mile, at most, Marina Road splits north-east toward Ossipee Lake. Another road continues north from the fork, Alvino Road, which is unpaved.

The marina has access to Marina Road, but fronts on Alvino Road, also. (In the past, the ZBA has required the marina to plant trees in the buffer between Alvino Road and its buildings.) The marina is also requesting that customers be allowed to travel Alvino Road to a boat-washing facility.

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