Freedom Asks Ossipee’s ZBA to Review the Planning Board’s Westward Shores Expansion Approval

Freedom—September 18, 2016—In a letter submitted today to the Ossipee Zoning Board, the Town of Freedom appealed the Ossipee Planning Board’s September 20 decision to approve the site plan application for Westward Shores Campground and Marina to double its capacity from 258 campsites to 519.

Freedom has abutter status in the Westward Shores matter because the expansion has regional impact. The town has previously said it is concerned that the expansion could harm water quality since the business is entirely on the floodplain and is adjacent to a “recharge area” for the aquifer.

The appeal to the ZBA comes two weeks after the Planning Board turned down Freedom’s request to reconsider the approval and allow the neighboring town to present the reasons why it believes the expansion could threaten water quality.

In its approval of the site plan, the Planning Board conditioned its decision on the developer meeting the state’s requirements for wells and septic systems. But the Freedom appeal argues that the board should not have approved the application because the plan violated the town’s zoning laws. The letter cites provisions it believes the Planning Board did not fully address before granting its approval.

Manufactured Home Requirements
Central to the appeal is the term “manufactured home.” For floodplain management purposes, Ossipee’s Floodplain Development Ordinance defines manufactured homes as “park trailers, travel trailers, and other similar vehicles placed on the site for more than 180 days.”

Per the ordinance, such installations must be elevated on a permanent foundation above the base flood level and be securely anchored to resist flotation, collapse, and lateral movement. The base flood level is 414 ft., which is four feet higher than the elevation of a majority of the property. In its appeal, Freedom states that that the Planning Board failed to ensure that all such installations meet the elevation and security requirements as a condition of its approval.

In addition, a pavilion building approved by the Planning Board is shown on the plan at 412.5 feet, which does not comply with the town’s zoning ordinance requirement that non-residential buildings be built at 414 feet or higher,” said Freedom’s officials.

“The approved plan does not demonstrate how the new non-residential building shown in the plan will comply” with the requirements of the floodplain ordinance, according to the appeal.

Septic Systems and Other Questions
Freedom’s appeal also states that Ossipee’s approval of the expansion failed to ensure compliance with the town’s zoning ordinance requirements for the construction of septic systems, specifically in regard to poorly drained soils in the floodplain.

According to Freedom officials, the Ossipee Planning Board erred in its approval of a septic system plan to serve the 15 RV units planned for a portion of the property known as the Peninsula. As part of its application to the town, the developer defined the Peninsula’s soil composition. Two of the soils identified in the document are poorly drained soils that the zoning ordinance expressly prohibits for septic system use.

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