Zoning Board refuses variance for country club area housing development

LACONIA — The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) this week denied a zoning variance that would have enabled a cluster development of 13 housing units to be built on a waterfront lot at 640 Elm Street, across from the Laconia County Club.

The zoning ordinance requires a minimum of 10 acres for cluster development, which is exempt from the lot size, frontage requirements and setback limits that apply in the zoning district. The majority of the board concluded that the 5.6-acre lot amounted to too small a share of the minimum to warrant a variance.

Bill Contardo, a member of the Planning Board, and his partner, attorney Paul Bordeau, sought to develop the property. They stressed that apart from the minimum tract size of 10 acres, the planned development would comply with all the requirements of the municipal zoning ordinance and the state shoreline protection statute.

The lot stretches from Elm Street to Lake Opechee, where there is approximately 150-feet of shorefront, and is bounded to the west by Mallard Cove and to the east by Kings Court. Since the lower half of the lot is laced with wetlands, the nearest unit to the lake would be 500 feet from the water's edge, further than similarly situated units at the neighboring residential developments of Mallard Cove, King Court and Country Club Shores. Likewise, Bordeau told the board that the density of 2.3 units per acre would be less than that of these nearby subdivisions.