MEREDITH — A proposal by the owners Shep Brown's Boat Basin to construct two buildings, one for washing and another for servicing boats, has aroused longstanding tensions between the marina and its neighbors over traffic congestion and noise.
The marina is located on 8.5 acres that reaches from Lake Winnipesaukee to Meredith Neck Road and straddles Lovejoy Sands Road. The marina effectively encircles about an acre of town property that serves as a launch, dock and parking lot. The marina was grandfathered in 1971 when the town adopted zoning and operates in the shoreline zoning district in the midst of a thickly settled residential neighborhood of waterfront and island properties.
The Planning Board has held two public hearings on the proposal, on Sept. 22 and Oct. 27, as well as walked the site on Oct. 1. Both hearings were continued. Bill Littlefield, the owner of Shep Brown's Boat Basin, could not be reached for comment.
A 32-by-72-foot building with three bays for washing boats and connected to the existing maintenance building would be built on the footprint of a concrete pad where boats are currently washed. The design is intended to assure best management practices by collecting, treating and storing the wash water in a holding tank, which would be pumped regularly. Mitchell Locker of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has said the agency supports the project , which "environmentally ... is an improvement" that will "reduce nutrients and sediment from entering surface waters."
The second building, 32 feet by 82 feet, would have four bays for servicing and washing boats with racks to store boats overhead. It would be built on ground, where boats are currently stored, as an addition to an existing boat storage building. The existing floor drains would connect to oil and water separators. The additional storage would house the same number of boats that are store outside.
In addition to the two buildings, a stormwater treatment system would be installed on the site. Stormwater collected from roofs and pavement would be directed to a ground water recharge system beneath an area which is currently filled with gravel but would be paved and ringed by a bioretention swale. Lou Caron, the town's consulting engineer, reported that "stormwater runoff from the site to the lake will be reduced and the runoff that gets to the lake will be cleaner than today."
At both public hearings abutters and other neighbors voiced many concerns, most arising from the prospect of increased traffic and congestion in an area already under heavy pressure in the summer months. Residents claim that any expansion of activity at the marina will increase traffic on Lovejoy Sands Road, which bisects it. Those living on Tall Pines Way, which skirts the marina to the north, fear more traffic through their neighborhood from motorists to seeking to avoid Lovejoy Sands Road. The frequent shuttling of forklifts and trailers, residents claim, poses risks to public safety. Some insist that the noise, traffic and congestion will have an adverse impact on their property values, while others fear the design of buildings fail to meet the standards of the architectural design review ordinance.
In 2003, the marina withdrew a proposal to construct an additional building at the marina, and, in 2008, a proposal to convert an existing building to a recreational facility was also withdrawn, despite being approved by the Planning Board, in the teeth of opposition from abutters and neighbors.
Angela LaBrecque, the town planner, said the public hearing has been continued until Nov. 24. She said the Planning Board will consult with legal counsel to determine if the proposed changes to what is a "nonconfirming" entity in a residential district require a special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
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