LACONIA — Peter Morrissette of Gilford, one of the partners of REM Real Estate, LLC which acquired St. Helena Mission Church at The Weirs in December, has asked the City Council to request the Planning Board to consider adding "watercraft long-term storage" and "indoor storage" to the permitted uses in the Shorefront Residential District, where the property is located.
Morrissette confirmed yesterday that he is seeking to use the former church property, a 3.38-acre at 326 Endicott Street East (Rte. 11-B), for boat storage. He said that the perimeter of the property would be fenced and screened and the storage space offered first to the immediate neighbors. Morrissette explained that his property would provide residents of the Pendleton Beach and Governor's Crossing neighborhoods an alternative to storing their boats in their yards.
City Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) placed the matter on the agenda of the City Council meeting to be held on Monday, February 9 beginning at 7 p.m. Bolduc said yesterday that he acted at the request of Morrissette and his attorney, former mayor Paul Fitzgerald. "The council will discuss the issue and ask questions," he said. "I don't know what the council will do. It may not go anywhere."
City Manager Scott Myers said that the City Council has no authority to enact changes to the zoning ordinance, but must refer suggested changes to the Planning Board. However, he said that he was seeking advice of legal counsel to determine whether if the Planning Board rejects a recommendation of the City Council, the council can override the decision of the planners.
The zoning ordinance specifies that the Shorefront Residential District is "designed to recognize the unique characteristics of the residential community associated with Lake Winnipesaukee and Weirs Beach." Two areas of The Weirs lie within the district. One stretches eastward along the north side of Endicott Street East from the Weirs Community Park to the Gilford town line. The other runs northward along the lakefront from just beyond the junction of Lakeside Avenue and Centenary Avenue to the Meredith town line and includes most, but not all, of the residential properties at Meredith Bay while excluding the commercial properties along Endicott Street North (Rte. 3).
When REM Real Estate, LLC purchased the St. Helena Mission Church property for $185,000, Morrissette said that the partners had no specific plans for the property, but intended to explore its potential for the residential development. He said that the zoning ordinance would allow for six single family homes or 20 condominium units to be built on the lot.
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