LACONIA — The City Council this week asked the Planning Board to review the various uses to which property may be put in the commercial resort zoning district and report any recommendations it chooses to offer to the council.
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 Route 3 to the Meredith town line. The zoning ordinance describes the district as intended to accommodate dining, lodging and recreation entities for both occasional tourists and seasonal residents as well as apartments and condominiums.
The council requested the Planning Board to schedule a public hearing and sound members of the public on appropriateness of the various permitted and non-permitted uses within the zoning district.
The resolution was offered in response to decisions of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to deny special exceptions to John Ganong of 355 Weirs Boulevard, and Charles Gulbicki of Gulbicki's Towing and Auto Repair at 1193 Weirs Boulevard, both of whom sought to sell used vehicles on their property. "Vehicle dealership, sales and service" is only permitted in the commercial district by special exception. Earlier the ZBA granted a special exception to Benson's Auto Inc. of Franklin to sell vehicles from a lot at the corner of Rollercoaster Road and Route 3 in the commercial resort district.
The request marks a retreat from an earlier resolution, which the council withdrew, asking the Planning Board to recommend amending the zoning ordinance to designate a permitted use in the commercial resort district, which includes almost all of the Weirs. "We are here for one person," Councilor Brenda Baer countered.
In 2007, when consultants sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considered the future development of the city, they noted that 85 percent of The Weirs is zoned for commercial uses and only 15 percent for residential uses. Their report recommended "refining" the zoning by replacing the one district — commercial resort — with a number of smaller districts, each with defined uses.
The Planning Board has yet to act on this recommendation.
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