By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The City Council has requested the Planning Board convene what City Manager Scott Myers called a "focus group" to consider a proposal to redraw the zoning boundaries and change the permitted uses in much Commercial Resort District encompassing The Weirs. The plan was devised to encourage commercial development.
The group will consist of Mayor Ed Engler, the architect of the proposal, and one city councilor, Warren Hutchins, the chairman of the Planning Board and one member of the board, and Suzanne Perley, who chairs the Zoning Task Force, a panel created by the Planning Board to draft changes to the zoning ordinance, and one member of the task force.
The council asks that the focus group meet in September to prepare a recommendation which would be presented to the Planning Board at its regularly scheduled meeting in October. If, when it meets in October, the Planning Board posts the recommendation and schedules a public hearing, applications for projects conforming to the existing ordinance would be forestalled.
The Commercial Resort District begins on Lake Street, just south of its junction with White Oaks Road, extends northward along Weirs Boulevard, includes the center of the Weirs and runs either side of Endicott Street North (US Route 3) to the Meredith town line. It also includes property along both sides of Endicott Street East (NH Route 11-B) east of the roundabout to just beyond the Weirs Community Center. Both specified commercial and residential uses are permitted throughout the district.
The proposal would divide the district into two parts by carving a Commercial Resort Corridor District, designated CR2, out from the existing Commercial Resort District, which would become CR1. The corridor would be defined as the area extending 400 feet from either side of the center line of Endicott Street North (US Route 3) and Endicott Street East (NH Route 11-B) between the Meredith town line to the west and the center of the intersection with White Oaks Road to the east. Within the corridor residential development would be restricted to the upper level of buildings and then only if the ground floor of the same building were put to commercial use.
In both the Commercial Resort Corridor and Commercial Resort districts there would be no requirement to set aside a portion of lots as green space when the property is put to commercial use. The minimum of 60 percent of green space would remain for residential uses in the Commercial Resort District (CR1). The maximum height of buildings in the Commercial Resort Corridor District would due raised from 60 feet to 100 feet while the maximum height of residential and commercial structures would remain 35 feet and 60 feet respectively in the Commercial Resort District. The proposal also includes a table uses for the Commercial Resort Corridor District and number of changes to the table of permitted uses in the Commercial Resort District.
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