Ossipee—July 13, 2012—By Aug. 1, Lakefront Landing Condominiums must prove to the state of New Hampshire that the boat slips it’s been selling are grandfathered, or else the slips must be removed from Ossipee Lake. Lakefront Landing Condominiums’ property includes 12 campsites and 44 boat slips at 85 Pewquaket Trail.
Kevin Price, owner of Ossipee Lake Marina in Freedom, believes the boat slips shouldn’t be sold until the permit issue is cleared up. He has complained to the state of New Hampshire and will be bringing the issue to Ossipee selectmen on Monday night.
“I would stop selling them, but that’s me,” said Price, adding he couldn’t sell unpermitted docks in good conscience.
On May 11, New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services sent Lakefront Landing’s Wayne Killam a letter stating he had until July 1 to prove the slips have existed since 1980. Later, that deadline was extended to Aug. 1.
“DES records indicate that no permits were issued for the current number of docking structures,” states the May 11 memo by Collis Adams, DES administrator of the wetlands bureau. “Please provide documentation of the number and location of docking structures on the property in existence before 1980. Documentation should include, but not be limited to dated plans and or photographs.”
DES Water Bureau Assistant Director Rene Pelletier said unless proven otherwise, the boat slips in question are legal. Ossipee selectman and state Rep. Harry Merrow, said DES is responsible for sorting things out.
Meanwhile, about half of Lakefront Landing’s boat slips have been sold, according to a sales brochure that’s available at the Lakefront Landing property. According to the brochure, the boat slips range in price between $19,900 and $34,900. What happens to the slips that have been sold if they are deemed illegal?
“The order we’d send is to get the slips out of the water,” said Pelletier, adding refunding the money to customers would probably be Killam’s problem.
Lakefront Landing’s lawyer, Greg Smith, of McLane, Graf, Raulerson and Middleton, of Concord, is confident that all the boat slips are old enough to be grandfathered. Smith says there’s ample evidence that some of the docks have been there even since the 1960s.
“The docks have been there a long while,” said Smith.
According to Smith, rumors to the contrary are being spread by Price who sees himself as a competitor. Price disagrees.
“There’s more than enough business on the lake,” said Price. “I just want a fair playing field.”
Lakefront Landing may be forced to take legal action against Price because of his “false and defamatory statements,” said Smith.
Freedom selectman Les Babb, who has been a long-time boating enthusiast on Ossipee Lake, said the slips in the lake’s channel weren’t there when he kept his boat at Lakefront Landing’s marina in the 1990s. Babb says the grandfathered status is lost if the docks aren’t maintained for a number of years. Further, Babb said the docks in the channel are a navigation hazard. “The usable waterway isn’t that big,” said Babb.
In addition to inquiring about the docks, DES wanted a response regarding other alleged violations. DES asked for statements clarifying whether a particular fuel dispenser is functional or used only for display purposes, and it also wants documentation for when a deck was installed adjacent to the boat basin and bath house.
Further, DES gave Killam 60 days to complete a wetlands application for the 70 feet of riprap already installed along the bank and bed of the lake without a permit.
As for the other alleged violations, Smith said they were much less significant and Lakefront Landing is preparing its response to them. Smith said the fuel dispenser is merely decorative and the deck is also grandfathered. As for the riprap, Smith said Lakefront Landing was reacting to an “urgent” situation in which a building would have washed into the lake if the erosion wasn’t fixed.
Smith also represented Chet Lucy, a Conway man, who along with his contractor, faced $150,000 in fines for failing to get a permit before putting nearly 600 feet of riprap on his property beside the Saco River. Lucy had lost 70 feet of property due to erosion.
Lucy and the contractor, A. Eastman & Son. Inc., were fined $29,000, which they split. The contractor was also required to perform $15,000 worth of environmental improvement projects within the next two years. More fine money was suspended. Lucy applied for a permit for the riprap, which would also include extending the riprap to better protect the property. Smith said Lucy’s case and Lakefront Landing’s case are “completely different.”
Smith is gathering historical information about the docks at Lakefront Landing. Anyone with information that could be helpful is welcome to contact Smith at www.mclane.com.