Effingham Conservation Commission Joins Freedom in Westward Shores Appeal

Effingham—October 20, 2016—In a letter to the Ossipee Zoning Board of Adjustment, Effingham’s Conservation Commission has joined the Town of Freedom in appealing the decision of Ossipee’s Planning Board to grant conditional approval for the expansion of Westward Shores Campground and Marina. Like Freedom, the Town of Effingham has abutter status in the Westward Shores matter because the expansion was ruled in June to have regional impact. Effingham is one of three towns abutting Ossipee Lake.

In its letter, the Effingham Commission said it is concerned that the Planning Board’s approval of the expansion violates Ossipee’s zoning laws. Specifically, the Commission stated that the approval fails to apply the requirements of Ossipee’s Floodplain Development Ordinance and the town’s rules for constructing septic systems in poorly drained soils and in the floodplain.

Due to these concerns, the Effingham Conservation Commission requests that the Ossipee Zoning Board of Adjustment grant Freedom’s request to appeal the administrative decision on the Westward Shores site plan expansion issued by the Ossipee Planning Board on September 20, 2016,” the letter concludes.

At the September 20 Ossipee Planning Board meeting, Freedom’s Planning Board Chair Anne Cunningham requested time to review recently submitted engineering reports on the expansion so the town could present its concerns.

The Planning Board denied her request, refusing to hear anything more about broader community impact. Per a report in the Carroll County Independent, Planning Board member Dennis Legendre said “I was elected by the people of Ossipee. I’m supposed to look out for their interests. Their interest supersedes anything you might have to say.”

The Planning Board approved the expansion on a 5-2 vote that evening, subject only to the developer obtaining standard state permits. Two weeks later, Freedom officials asked the Planning Board to reconsider its approval so that Freedom could present additional information in the matter. The Planning Board denied the request, leading to this week’s appeal to the Ossipee Zoning Board.

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