LOVELL – Heat and humidity created a challenging climate inside Lovell’s Town Hall Saturday for the 150 people gathered for the Board of Appeals hearing that dealt with a “change of use” request by representatives of Pleasant Point Inn.

The town hall windows were painted shut. The fan was noisy. Candies at the speakers’ tables melted into puddles of chocolate.

Finally, a kind soul distributed small, hand-held fans that brought some quiet relief.

Despite the sweltering conditions, board members listened to opposing viewpoints on the request by Conway Lake Resorts to grant a change of use permit to Pleasant Point Inn. But despite the long meeting, no decision was made.

In his opening statement, Attorney Richard Spencer of Drummond, MacMahon and Woodsum of Portland, representing the neighboring Quisisana Resort, the Greater Lovell Land Trust, the Kezar Lake Owners’ Association and some abutters said the application can’t be approved as it stands. A storm water management plan is lacking, he said, and the proposed new use will require larger sewer systems. In addition, no hydrologic study exists to show that change of use won’t lower the water level. Finally, he said, detailed phosphorous export analysis is required because of increased parking.

Attorney Helen Edmunds of Pierce Atwood in Portland, speaking for Conway Resorts and Pleasant Point Inn, responded that the application is complete and in compliance with all town requirements. The proposal is primarily a change in the mix of use, she said, with the present dining room capacity of 100 reduced to 40 while raising the present number of 23 units and rooms to 44.

The inn, she said, is aiming for minimal disruption of the site and to preserve the overall rural appearance, while implementing site improvements with increased and improved parking arrangements. An overall diversification of property use is planned, she said, with less emphasis on large gatherings like weddings which create noise and parking problems.

Spencer said the applicant has asked for a change of use from restaurant to hotel use, a massive expansion from one use to another, from seasonal use to year-round use and parking from 37 spaces to 107, all of which would have a greater impact than its previous use as a seasonal restaurant.

Edmunds objected to Spencer’s extensive questioning of the resort’s civil engineer and architect but was overruled by the board attorney, A. Kingman Pratt Jr., and he was allowed to continue.

Spencer questioned the representative for Conway Resorts, Nick Castell, about advertising Pleasant Point Inn on their Web site as “the bring-your-boat-resort.” Castell replied that they’re not selling boat slips but allowing patrons to use them and that boat trailers will be parked near the tennis court lot. He said time-shares will be available but that he wants the board to know that short-term patrons are also welcome.

After a lunch break, the meeting continued until 4 p.m. Judy Ryan, board chair, said that no decision had been made on the issue and the board may not be able to reconvene until October.

Jose Azel, a Lovell resident and property owner, said he sat through the long, hot meeting because “I didn’t want to rely on rumor. I wanted to understand what the developers are proposing. I’m not against development. I just want to be assured that any development is done under the correct guidelines and laws of Lovell.”

Spencer and his engineer brought out some information he hadn’t been aware of before, said Azel.


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