Owner says she may try again
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A Massachusetts woman has withdrawn controversial plans to build a campground in a 99-acre rural and residential area near Parade and Roller Coaster roads.
Jill Miller of Chelmsford sent an email to the Planning Department on Monday withdrawing her applications for the project, which was also to include a store and a restaurant.
Neighbors were vehement in their opposition. They cited concerns over pollution, traffic hazards, trespassing and harm to property values. The Zoning Board of Adjustment on April 17 asked Miller to come back with more specifics, including how many camping spaces would be built and how sewage would be handled.
Miller says she and her proposal have been misunderstood. She speaks of a tasteful development that would be good for the area, and better than other potential options for the land, which is where a lumber mill once operated.
In her email to the city, she left the door open for refiling the proposal in the future.
“At this time I would like to respectfully withdraw all of the applications I have on file with the Zoning Board,” she stated. “I will not be able to have all of the requested information that was asked of me from the last meeting for a little bit longer, so I will refile at that time.
“Thank you for your time and I look forward to working with you in the future.”
Before she withdrew the proposal, the board had been set to consider her four applications Monday night.
One application was for a variance to build a retail store, another was for a special exception to build a campground, a third was for a special exception to build a neighborhood store and a fourth was for a variance to build an eating-and-drinking establishment.
In an interview Monday, Miller said her proposal has been greeted with falsehoods. She said some of those in opposition were wrong to suggest she wanted to build a saloon. She does not want to sell alcohol. She envisioned a small camp store providing essentials to guests and the community. Food like hot dogs and pizza might be sold.
“I was trying to improve the community,” she said.
She wasn't definitive about future plans.
“Wait and see,” she said.
Peter Spanos, one of the neighbors, said he had major concerns over environmental issues, including air pollution from dozens of campfires and contamination arising from campground sewage.
The proposal was not well planned and lacked specifics, he said.
“It wasn't even on the back of a napkin,” Spanos said.
He is one of many neighbors who packed the earlier board meeting to voice opposition.
“Generally, when an entire neighborhood rises up in opposition to a proposal, generally it's not a good idea to proceed with it,” he said.
- Written by Rick Green
- Category: Local News
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