Developers want to put cluster of 14 homes on 5.6 acres across street from Laconia Country Club

LACONIA — The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) this week deferred a decision on a request for a variance that would enable as many as 14 housing units to be built on a waterfront lot at 640 Elm Street of 5.6 acres, just more than half the 10 acres the zoning ordinance requires for cluster developments.
Attorney Paul Bordeau, representing himself and his partner in the project Bill Contardo, a resident of South Down Shores who sits on the Planning Board, presented the proposal to the ZBA. Armed only with a sketch of the project, which he said he drew with his own hand, Bordeau spoke for more than an hour, stressing that apart of the 10-acre minimum, the development could satisfy all the requirements of the municipal zoning ordinance and the state shoreline protection statute.
The parcel stretches from Elm Street to Lake Opechee, where there is approximately 150 feet of shoreline, and is bounded to the west by Mallard Cove and the east by King Court. A ranch-style house sits now near the middle of the lot. Bordeau said that the driveway, located directly across Elm Street from the Laconia Country Club, would serve as an access road, indicating that eight of the planned units would be ranged along it with the remainder placed on the eastern portion of the property. He said that the units would about 1,700-square-feet in size and priced around $300,000.
Bordeau said that the development would leave at least half the parcel as open space or vegetative buffers. The nearest unit to Lake Opechee would be 500 feet from the water's edge, further than similarly situated units at Mallard Cove, King Court and Country Club Shores. Likewise, he said that the density of 2.5 units per acre would be less than that of these neighboring residential subdivisions. Bordeau stressed that a conventional subdivision would have a greater impact on the land and the lake.
However, Suzanne Perley of the ZBA said without a more detailed plan, showing the placement of the units, roadways, driveways and parking areas, it was difficult to assess the overall impact of the project. "Are we entitled to more than a hand drawn sketched?," she asked Planning Director Shanna Saunders, who replied "yes."
Dave Greski, a fellow board member, likened the process to "a pilot flying with a blindfold" and when Bordeau explained that he intended to have a site plan with him but due to a mishap the engineer could not complete it. He suggested the ZBA defer further discussion until its next regularly scheduled meeting on July 15.