LACONIA — A Zoning Board of Adjustment decision about an outdoor deck which was appealed all the way to the state’s highest court has been decided in the board’s favor.
The Supreme Court on Friday ruled 3-0 that the Laconia ZBA properly granted a variance so a Paugus Park Road homeowner could build an attached 12-foot by 20-foot deck on land that fronts on Paugus Bay.
In handing down the unanimous ruling, the court found that abutting homeowner Michael Lacroix failed to show the board had committed a reversible error when it granted the variance in December 2017.
In his appeal, Lacroix contended that granting the variance was unlawful and/or unreasonable. Lacroix argued that the variance was against the public interest and that allowing the deck to intrude 26 inches into the 50-foot setback from the lakefront was a threat to public health, safety, or the environment.
The three-judge panel found that, in reaching its decision to grant the variance to Raymond England of 98 Paugus Park Road, the ZBA concluded the deck was similar to those on the other lakefront homes in the neighborhood. The judges found no evidence on the record to support Lacroix’s position that the deck’s location could lead to lake pollution.
The court also found that the variance was properly granted because there were conditions with the property that distinguished the parcel from others in the area.
While the decision settles this particular case, because it was decided by a three-judge panel, rather than by the full court, it cannot be cited in future cases as a precedent.