Possible Building Height Violations And Lessons Learned In Squam

Tony Cahill •

To the editor: Our neighborhood just learned a valuable lesson. We want to share it because our experience may be helpful to other neighborhoods as well.

In mid-August, we noticed that the main structure in a large, new single-family development project was conspicuously high and suspected that it might be in violation of the 30-foot height limitation. We sent numerous communications expressing our concerns to the powers that be in the town administration.

Eventually, in September we received a response from the Planning Director informing us that, “The project is permitted…which is not a time that our inspectors would require a height survey and not a time that one would even be accurate…no enforcement type of action from our office is going to take place.”

At that point the neighbors decided to take action on our own and contact the project surveyor through a third party. The surveyor determined that the structure was indeed in violation of the height regulation. So now, after the roof had been closed in, the contractor had to dismantle it and correct the violation.

While there remain many unanswered questions about accountability and consequences, one unfortunate outcome of this incident is that if Town officials had acted when first notified, a lot of time and money could have been saved. It is also our opinion that with staff completely overwhelmed with construction projects, and charged with monitoring such projects, concerns from neighbors and citizens would be welcomed. Apparently, that is not the case.

Lesson learned.


Tony Cahill
Neighborhood Spokesperson
Squam Road

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