Plans to build vacation rentals on existing foundation at Weirs Beach has neighbors whose view would be blocked alarmed

LACONIA — The Mailloux family, which began the development of what is now identified as the Meredith Bay gated community on Brickyard Mountain and operates Akwa Marina Yacht Club, again finds itself at odds with neighbors at The Weirs over a proposal to erect a building on upper Lakeside Avenue that would obstruct the view of the lake enjoyed by homeowners across the street.

Some years ago, when Mailloux was developing the marina, he was embroiled in litigation with unit owners at the Village of Winnipesaukee and residents of Epworth Avenue, who claimed rights to the beach he intended to include in the marina.

Richard Mailloux and his son Kurt, doing business as Brick House, LLC, now seek to construct a residential building housing two units alongside a brick residence, which stands on a 14,077-square foot (0.32-acre) lot at 425 Lakeside Avenue, overlooking the marina. The property lies in the commercial resort zone where six units per acre are permitted and the three units proposed — the two new units and the existing home, would normally require half-an-acre, or 21,780-square-feet. All three units would be vacation rentals.

Appearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment this week, the Mailloux requested a variance from the density requirement.

The ZBA deferred its decision pending the receipt of additional information from the staff of the Planning Department.

Kurt Mailloux noted that a foundation, 28 feet by 50 feet, had been poured adjacent to the brick house, which was depicted on the plan as intended for an addition. He told the board that the new building would be constructed on this existing foundation. The building would be about 7,000-square-feet in size and 35 feet high and designed to resemble a barn, which would attached to the house by a breezeway. The three units would be vacation rentals.

John Gentile and Mike Ames, whose homes abut the Maillouxs' property on the other side of Lakeside Avenue, have challenged the project, which they claim would obscure their views of the lake and diminish the value of their properties. Planning Director Shanna Saunders noted that unless nearby property owners possessed easements protecting their views, there was nothing to stop Mailloux from building to the permitted dimensions, explaining that the requested variance pertains only to the number of of units. Later she said that if the Maillouxs decided to build an addition to the existing house, they would not need a variance.

Gentilesaid that there is also an apartment in the existing brick house and granting the variance would permit not three but four units on the undersized lot. Richard Mailloux told the board that steps were underway to remove the tenant from the building and that only the three units are planned for the property. He told the board that because the lot is sloped toward the lake and the foundation is stepped, the Maillouxs could construct two rental units facing the lake on the site without building to a height of 35 feet and obscuring the views of their neighbors.

Five tests are required for a variance. Of these demonstrating that denying the variance would impose an unnecessary hardship on the property owner and that granting the variance would have no adverse effect on the value of surrounding properties appear the most significant.

The ZBA agreed to return to the issue at its next regularly scheduled meeting in August and in the meantime asked Saunders to determine the circumstances surrounding the pouring of the foundation, particularly what approvals may have been granted by the Planning Board.