On a 5-2 vote, with two abstentions, developers of the old White’s Garage/Johnson Oil property will be allowed to proceed with their controversial plans. Unless there is an appeal, the vote ends a contentious application process that featured Planning Board members insulting one another as well as members of the public.
After last week’s lengthy court-ordered public hearing, the Ossipee Zoning Board denied Freedom’s request to reconsider the planning board’s approval of the expansion of Westward Shores campground. But now Effingham is calling for that hearing to be reheld. Meanwhile, Freedom is consulting its lawyer on what to do next.
A Superior Court judge has ordered Ossipee’s ZBA to hear Freedom’s appeal that the town violated its zoning ordinance when it ruled the campground’s expansion plan meets all local regulations. The hearing will be on Tuesday, May 9.
At a crowded and sometimes heated meeting last week, the applicant’s representatives answered questions about the environmental impact of the development with assurances that they will meet all state and local requirements. Tamworth has named one of its select board members to represent the town’s interests as an abutter. The hearing was continued to April 18 to address fire prevention suppression, lighting, traffic and other concerns.
In an interview with the Conway Daily Sun, Freedom Select Board Chair Les Babb said the development could pose a risk to the water quality of Ossipee Lake if there is a flood and a problem with the septic. That could depress property values and take away from enjoyment of the lake.