LACONIA — The City Council is scheduled to discuss next month whether to press the owner of Lakeport Landing that a portion of the marine dealer’s new showroom is not faced in brick as the architect's renderings showed when the building received city approval.
City Councilor Bruce Cheney asked that council take up the matter at its meeting scheduled for July 13. It will be the second time in seven months that Cheney has raised the issue involving the look of the building.
This past Monday, Cheney told his fellow councilors that the city’s attorney had written that the city has a “good faith action to require the hose tower to be covered with a brick facade,” but added there was no guarantee that a court would agree with the city’s position and order the building’s owner to make the change.
The building, on the corner of Union Avenue and Elm Street stands on the site of the former Lakeport Fire Station which was built in the 1950s. The station was deactivated in the early 1980s, but the Fire Department continued to use the building as the base for its call company into the early 2000s. The station was largely unused in the year immediately preceding the sale to Lakeport Landing.
Cheney noted that the late City Councilor Armand Bolduc insisted that the old station’s brick hose-drying tower be incorporated into the new showroom. However, that part of the building was found to be structurally unsound and was torn down, but the building plans showed a new tower-like structure faced in brick.
Lakeport Landing owner Erica Blizzard did not return calls seeking comment. But in a letter she sent to the city last year, Blizzard said, ““While the renditions were drawn to convey the hose tower as having brick, it was done as a visual to people to convey it was a tower.” She went on to say, “To be perfectly honest, I’m really taken back (shocked)” that the city was making an issue about the matter.
The tower was recently faced with gray corrugated metal, which Blizzard said was the plan in her letter to the city last year.
City Planning Director Dean Trefethen said last year that while the drawings show the replicated tower would be bricked there is nothing in the city approval documents to require the tower be done in brick.
Cheney said the reason he is bringing up the matter for the next council meeting is to find out whether other councilors want the city to press the issue, either through negotiations with Blizzard or by taking the matter to court.