Ossipee Lake Marina Hearing Back On

Freedom – November 19, 2006 — Freedom’s Zoning Board of Adjustment will review a plan to expand Ossipee Lake Marina in a public hearing on Tuesday, November 28 at 7 PM in Town Hall. The plan was originally scheduled to be reviewed on October 24 but was delayed at the applicant’s request.

The public notice about the hearing states that the Marina is seeking approval to store an unlimited number of boats on the property, and wants town approval to use adjacent Alvino Road for customer traffic to provide access to a boat washing facility to be built on what is known as residential Lot 42.

Approval of the new application would require the Board to overturn ZBA decisions made in 1997 and 2002 and sustained by a State Superior Court judge in 2003.

In 1997 the town limited boat storage on the property as a condition of granting approval for the Marina to construct two storage buildings. The business may store 225 boats inside the buildings and 23 additional boats or trailers outdoors.

In a separate set of decisions made in 2002 after extensive public testimony, the ZBA ruled that the Marina could not use adjacent Alvino Road or residential Lot 42 for business purposes, citing issues of public safety and adverse impact to the surrounding area. At the same time, the Board reiterated the boat storage limits set by the ZBA in 1997.

After the 2002 rulings the Marina sued the town in State Superior Court and lost the case. It did not appeal.

Enforcement Questioned

The Marina’s new expansion requests come at the end of a year in which the town’s Selectmen were accused of not enforcing the Superior Court order.

Minutes of the Selectmen’s meetings showed that town officials authorized the Marina to use Alvino Road for fishing tournaments and use Lot 42 to store boats, both of which are prohibited. The Selectmen were also accused of not enforcing the outdoor boat storage limit, including last winter when the Code Enforcement Officer counted more than 100 boats stored outdoors. No fine was issued for the violation.

After being challenged, the Selectmen instructed the Town Attorney to inform the Marina that it cannot use Alvino Road and must adhere to the outdoor boat storage limit. The decision to allow the Marina to use Lot 42 for business purposes still stands, however.

In zoning terms, Ossipee Lake Marina is a grandfathered non-conforming use in the town’s residential district. As such, material changes in its operation must be approved by the ZBA through the public hearing process.

The new request for ZBA exceptions is the fifth set of applications the current owner has made since purchasing the property in 1997. Previous ZBA decisions granted approval to construct two boat storage buildings and granted retroactive approvals to use a bathhouse and parking lot that were constructed on Lot 42 without required special exceptions.

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