CONWAY — The Conway Planning Board today is scheduled to continue site-plan review of a 105,836-square-foot, four-story hotel project proposed for the site of Intervale Motel.
The planning board will meet at the new town hall at 7 p.m. Masks are mandatory and Zoom will not be available for attending the meeting,
The project has engendered opposition from abutters at Mountain View Estates.
On Feb. 25, the board was presented with a nuisance complaint filed by 16 property owners. Five live at Mountain View; five are residents of Dinsmore Road; two live on Neighbors Row; two on Balcony Seat View; and there is one resident each from Intervale Cross Road and Northbrook Condominiums.
Mountain View Estates complainants include board president Mike Specht; board members Nancy Goyette and Jenny LaBudde; and residents Stephanie Madden and Frank Masciulli.
Planning board chair Steve Hartmann told the Sun Tuesday that he will defer to Conway Town Planning Director Tom Irving on how the board will discuss that complaint during the board meeting.
“I believe we will be voting on whether or not we find nuisance complaint valid,” he added.
Josh McAllister of HEB Engineering said he and his clients, Viewpoint North Conway LLC, a group of investors headed by P.J. Patel of Massachusetts, have spent the last month reviewing the complaint issues and will come to Thursday’s meeting prepared to rebut them.
“We have not revised anything until we have an understanding of what rules we are to abide by,” said McAllister.
“We will come to the meeting to get some direction as to whether we’ll be playing by the current rules or some new direction.”
He reiterated the project meets the town’s current guidelines. “We met town regulations concerning building height, parking and landscaping," said McAllister.
He said in 14 years of coming before the board, the nuisance issue and imposition of a 50-foot buffer setback had never been used yet both were raised at the board’s Feb. 11 meeting.
At that meeting, former member Earl Sires IV said there were discrepancies between the goals of the town's Master Plan and zoning regulations.
McAllister said his clients will be represented today by attorney John J. Ratigan of Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella PLLC (DTC Lawyers) of Exeter.
The board at its Feb. 11 meeting unanimously voted to increase the buffer to 50 feet on the east and south sides, using the nuisance clause raised by Sires.
McAllister said this week that imposing a new buffer would change the site plan design.
The abutters' complaint filed at the board’s Feb. 25 meeting by attorney Roy W. Tillsley Jr. of Bernstein Shur Law Firm called the proposed 105-room hotel an “outsized presence that would not only create a nuisance, but completely disrupt” the neighbors’ way of life.
It claims that the “Viewpoint North Conway proposal did not proactively address the obvious traffic issues that this project would create, nor did it consider the 50-foot setback on the southern and eastern property lines and the need for a traffic study.”
It notes that the town’s “Site-Plan Review Regulations set forth a procedure whereby the Planning Board can place reasonable restrictions on a project when the regulations do not address specific site design matters that would create a nuisance.”
Specifically, it says Section 110-39 allows the board to place restrictions on site design “in unique circumstances" where if not regulated, the design would constitute a serious nuisance to abutters or the public.
Although the town’s site-plan review regulations do not define "nuisance," the complaints says the state Supreme Court’s definition of the term is “instructive."
Citing Robie v. Lillis, 112 N.H. 492, 495 (1972), that definition says “a private nuisance may be defined as an activity which results in an unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of another property”
In their complaint, the abutters wrote: “As community members, we were disappointed to learn that while the project did not align with the town’s Master Plan, it could potentially be deemed acceptable to the planning board, since zoning did not distinguish between different sections of the White Mountain Highway (Route 16). In other words, a motel of this size and scale, which represents much of the new motel construction in the commercial district (known as the “flats” near the outlets) could also be erected in our more residential neighborhood – where there are currently no comparable structures.”
They add they are concerned that by what appears to be a “disregard to our town’s Master Plan, which was created to prevent overdevelopment and retain the character and spectacular beauty of our area.”
Issues they cite include:
• Height — the proposed structure would stand 55 feet tall compared to the existing 15-foot tall motel.
• Traffic safety on Intervale Crossroad.
• Noise and light pollution.
• Obstruction of abutters' views of the Presidential Range.
• Potential adverse effects on residential property values.
For mitigation, they ask the developers to reduce the height, size and number of units to align and scale of surrounding structures with the structure not to exceed 35 feet; remove rooftop lounge and restaurant; create denser natural and physical buffer; develop a snow removal plan during winter months; work with the town to extend sidewalks to facilitate greater walkability.
Adherence to wetland and watershed protection overlays and reducing ambient light pollution in the parking lot were also addressed.