Meredith Zoning Board cites reasons for denial of boat storage proposal

MEREDITH — The denial of Doug Frederick’s application for a special exception that would have allowed the storage of boats on property currently housing the American Police Motorcycle Museum was based on the opinion that it would be incompatible with the town’s zoning ordinances.
No one from the public offered any testimony against Frederick’s request to continue allowing Meredith Marina to store boats on the property. The marina wants to purchase the property and move its sales offices from Bayshore Drive to the 2.29-acre property at 194 Daniel Webster Highway.
Frederick had been allowing the marina to store boats at no charge, pending the sale, but code enforcement officer Scott Lecroix informed him that boat storage is not a permitted use in the Central Business District, so Frederick would need to seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Frederick appealed the administrative decision, but did not file the paperwork within the allotted time, and the Zoning Board voted not to accept the appeal at its Aug. 10 meeting.
The application for a variance included documents showing a history of using the property for boat storage. Prior to serving as home to the motorcycle museum, it had been the home of Burlwood Antiques.
In its notice of decision, the Zoning Board used the five criteria established through case law, which questions whether granting a variance will be contrary to the public interest; whether it serves the spirit of the ordinance; that granting it would provide “substantial justice”; that the values of surrounding properties would not be diminished; and that literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance would result in an unnecessary hardship.
The board concluded that literal enforcement would not create a hardship because there are no “special conditions” about the property that would warrant a variance; that boat storage would be unsightly to passers-by; that it would be contrary to the public interest because having vehicles pulling boats on trailers into traffic “would be problematic, and injurious to the public interest” and “create unnecessary traffic congestion and safety issues;” and that there would be adverse impacts on the character of the area because it would not support other businesses in the area.
“It’s the board’s position that boat storage is not similar to auto sales, service, and repair, and the other permitted uses in the Central Business District,” Chairman Jack Dever wrote. “Boat storage is not a retail operation on its own, and moreover has significant traffic impact potential due to the towing of trailers, which the other businesses do not have. Also, the Board maintains that the spirit of the ordinance is to restrict boat storage to marinas, which are restricted to the Shoreline District.”
Frederick has maintained that the tractor-trailers delivering furniture to Ippolito’s and food to McDonald’s are comparable to the boat traffic that the marina would generate, noting that most of the activity at the marina would be in the spring and fall when boats were going into or coming out of the water. Both of the neighboring businesses supported his application, he said.
Frederick said he intends to appeal the Zoning Board’s decision.

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