Vacant lot will provide beach parking

Condo deal fell through; plans call for upgrading site

by Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, April 26, 2011

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — The site of the former Old Salt Restaurant and several other businesses will once again be used as a parking lot this summer but with expanded hours to service the new charitable gaming establishment opening up next door.

The Planning Board voted earlier this month to approve the temporary parking lot request and its new hours of operation from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Owner Ted Sanderson said the new hours of operation are to coincide with Ocean Side Gaming.

Although he made a request to have the parking lot open year-round so it could be used by the new gaming establishment, the board only approved opening the lot through Oct. 15.

A further extension, board members said, would require Sanderson to come back before them and with a snow-removal plan.

While there is currently a sign on the lot that says it would be the future home of 42 condominiums, Sanderson told the Planning Board that is not going to happen.

"I wish it was," said Sanderson.

The vacant lot has been used as a parking lot for the last eight years, as plans to construct the residential condominium building with a ground-floor retail project were put on hold because of litigation.

Abutters fought the development, which was first to be known as the "Majestic" then the "Breckenridge," all the way to the state Supreme Court.

And while developers won their legal battle in 2007, construction was held up because of the economy. Sanderson said the time frame for the project has expired and principals have been actively trying to sell it.

In the meantime, Sanderson said, they want to bring in some revenue to help pay off the taxes on the property.

Planning Board members Keith Lessard and Mark Olson were the only ones who voted against the proposal.

Lessard expressed frustration the owner keeps coming back before them with a request to use the property as a temporary parking lot.

"I don't know why you people just don't pave this and do it properly at this time," said Lessard. "We have gone through this every single year. I think you need to invest in the parking lot and make it a better parking lot."

As part of the Planning Board's approval, Sanderson will be required to submit a dust control plan, along with an updated plan showing the addition of two handicap-parking spaces.

The board is also requiring fencing be installed and maintained around the lot.