LACONIA — Peter Morrissette, the principal of PEM Real Estate, LLC, the owner of the former St. Helena Mission Church at the Weirs, has withdrawn his request to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance entitling him to use the building as a storage facility, leaving the future of the property in limbo. .
Morrissette said yesterday that there were "political reasons" for his decision, adding only that "some people have said things they should not have said." As for the future of the property, he said "I don't know what I'm going to do with it. I'm just in a holding pattern."
Morrissette acquired the 3.38-acre property, which is in the shorefront residential zoning district, last December for $185,000. At the time, he said that he had no specific plans for the property, but intended to explore its residential development. The zoning ordinance would permit six single-family homes or 20 condominium units to be built on the lot.
However, in February Morrissette asked the City Council to change the city's zoning ordinance to allow boat and watercraft storage in the shorefront residential district. The council refused. In June, Morrissette applied to the ZBA for a variance from the ordinance prohibiting both "indoor storage" and "warehousing" in the shorefront residential district.
When the ZBA held a public hearing on the request for the variance in July a number of residents of the adjacent Pendleton Beach neighborhood strongly urged the ZBA to deny it, claiming that using the abandoned church as a storage facility would have adverse impacts on the character of their neighborhood and the value of their properties. The matter was continued until September and in the interim Morrissette withdrew his request.
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