Gilford Airport Plaza wants to build new access

03 17 Airport Plaza

The Gilford Planning Board on Monday will review a plan for a new driveway to the Gilford Airport Plaza from the end of the Laconia Bypass. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)


GILFORD — Owners of the Gilford Airport Plaza plan to build an access road from the end of the Laconia Bypass.

"The center is only 50 percent occupied and in need of upgrade and improvements to the infrastructure and building," reads a narrative before the Gilford Planning Board, citing the need for a second access.

On Monday, March 20, at 7 p.m., the board will review an amended site plan application for this improvement.

The "entrance only" driveway to the plaza "is located for safety, ease of access and least impactive option to the existing highway system," the applicant, WJP Development LLC, wrote. The company narrative states that WJP Development "is in the process of considering renovations and expansion," adding, "Discussions with prospective tenants have been difficult, due to access being limited to the one entrance point."

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation granted access through a controlled access right of way, the applicant noted.

"They're also proposing to repave and stripe the parking lot, proposing new lighting in the parking lot and new sign locations," said John Ayer, planning and land use director for Gilford.

The new access road will not provide an exit onto Old Lake Shore Road.

"You can't exit out of that driveway. DOT has tight restrictions on that," Ayer said.

Left-hand turns off Old Lake Shore Road onto the new road will not be allowed, he said. Right-hand turns, however, will be allowed, he said.

"If you want to get into that parking lot, you either have to come off the bypass, from the direction of Wal-Mart, or you have to come in the other way," through the existing access from the intersection of Route 11 and Route 11C, Ayer said.

The proposal does not affect the size of the 60,328-square-foot commercial building, Ayer said.

"No building expansion. For the umpteenth time, there's no Market Basket going into that development. Everybody and their dog thinks that Market Basket is going there," Ayer said.

"I've been hearing that for years," he said, citing a persistent rumor.

The development is occupied by a movie theater, an industrial wholesaler and Gilford House of Pizza.

In the justification, the owner noted that disturbance of 6,240 square feet of wetlands is a better option than the alternative of a new shopping center in a "comparable commercial zone in this community," which would "disturb significant acres of undeveloped land."