Zoning proposal fails

Carl Mabbs-Zeno of the Fire Station Building Commitee speaks to Loretta Laurentiis about the Fire and Rescue Station project. 

Carl Mabbs-Zeno of the Fire Station Building Commitee speaks to Loretta Laurentiis about the Fire and Rescue Station project.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Gloria Anderson, left, and her husband, Budget Committee candidate Al Lenos, at the polls on Tuesday. 

Gloria Anderson, left, and her husband, Budget Committee candidate Al Lenos, at the polls on Tuesday.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

The bus from Rivermead delivered a dozen voters to the Community Center on Tuesday afternoon. 

The bus from Rivermead delivered a dozen voters to the Community Center on Tuesday afternoon.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Kath Allen of Peterborough at the polls. 

Kath Allen of Peterborough at the polls.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Planning Board candidate Stephanie Hurley was re-elected to her seat. Hurley felt the town needs to do more to get residents to the polls. 

Planning Board candidate Stephanie Hurley was re-elected to her seat. Hurley felt the town needs to do more to get residents to the polls. 

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcipt

Published: 05-20-2024 3:56 PM

Fewer than 800 voters weighed in on Peterborough candidates, zoning amendments and budget articles in Tuesday’s election.

The most contentious issue on the ballot, Zoning Amendment 1, failed with 366 votes in favor, 395 votes against. It proposed re-zoning all the properties in the Peterborough Family District into the General Residence District. Opponents to the amendment were concerned the change would result in more dense development in downtown Peterborough because it would decrease square footage requirements for duplexes and single family homes, and it would have allowed multi-family housing in the downtown area. 

“I am disappointed with the election results yesterday. The three amendments that got voted down, numbers 1, 3 and 5, were probably the best tools we had to help us combat the housing affordability crisis,” Lisa Stone, chair of the Peterborough Planning Board, said Wednesday morning. “It is especially disappointing that the members of the Affordable Housing Committee were out there holding signs encouraging people not to vote for these amendments. We worked very, very hard to create new  housing opportunities in town, and it is very disheartening that is failed.  I’m hopeful that we will be able to create some of these housing opportunities in the future.”

Stone noted that the state of New Hampshire is considering various ordinances, which could override local control, in order to alleviate the state’s housing crisis. A lack of housing has been widely cited as a hindrance to economic growth and to the region’s ability to attract and retain young people. 

Amendment 2, which proposed rescinding the current elderly housing ordinance to close a loophole enabling dense development anywhere in Peterborough, passed with 579 votes in support, 190 votes against. In summer 2023, a new state law gave developers to right to build projects including workforce housing at the same density rate as local elderly housing ordinances. 

Zoning Amendment 3, which proposed updating the Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance, failed with 327 yes votes, and 437 no votes. The amendment would have removed the resident landlord requirement and rescinded the requirement for a minimum of two parking spots at every ADU. The owner-occupancy requirement also failed at the polls in 2018. 

Zoning Amendment 4, which propose updating the Open Space Residential Development Ordinance, passed with 585 yes votes and 176 no votes.

Zoning Amendment 5, which proposed to eliminate parking minimums, failed with 348 votes for yes, 418 votes for no.

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Zoning Amendment 6, which was introduced by petition and proposed all new housing developments in Peterborough be connected to town water and sewer, failed with 260 yes votes, and 504 no votes.

Zoning Amendment 7, which supported Peterborough’s Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive, passed with 658 yes votes and 118 no votes.

Candidates in the contested Budget Committee race received the following votes: Al Lenos, 419; Rick Lesser, 537; Don Parkhurst, 389; and Charlie Hough, 293.

In the contested Planning Board race, Andrew Dunbar received 464 votes, Stephanie Hurley, 546; and Sarah Steinberg Heller, 318 votes.

In the contested Zoning Board race, Leah Seymour received 351 votes, Ivy Vann, 263; Jonah Orion Wheeler, 503; and Paul C. LaRoche, 282.

All budget and town articles passed by majority vote.

The “Stray Chicken Petition Article” passed with 520 yes votes and 217 no votes.

The following candidates were elected in uncontested races: Bill Kennedy, Select Board; Linda Guyette, Town Clerk; L. Phillips Runyon, Town Moderator; Anthony Pascale, Supervisor of the Checklist; Mandy Sliver, Town Treasurer; and Thomas P. Mullins, Trustee of the Trust Funds. Karen Struthers and Laura Hanson were re-elected as Trustees of the Library, Richard Dunning was re-elected as Cemetery Trustee, and Zoe Wroten-Heinzmann and Catherine “Sue” Forrest were elected to the Recreation Committee.

Outside the polls, Carl Mabbs-Zeno, representing the Fire Station Building Committee, engaged with voters about the Fire and Rescue Station project. He encouraged voters to attend the presentation about the project at Wednesday’s open session of Town Meeting. The Fire Station was the only article discussed at Town Meeting.