Peterborough Planning Board holds first session on possible amendments

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/1/2023 3:36:13 PM
Modified: 9/1/2023 3:35:40 PM

As part of what Chair Lisa Stone referred to as “zoning amendment season,” the Planning Board will be holding six zoning workshops, in addition to the regular monthly meetings, through March.

Stone explained that the Planning Board must hold a series of public hearings on potential zoning amendments prior to presenting them for approval at Town Meeting, and that the board was getting an early start on the series because “time runs out” if they are not held as soon as possible. 

The first of these workshops was Aug. 28 on the state of phased development legislation within the municipality and the state, particularly in light of the Planning Board recently approving the Catholic Charities housing complex.

Vice Chair Carl Staley spoke about phased development projects in the 2023-2024 construction plans. The Catholic Charities development, a 96-unit mixed-income housing development that the Planning Board approved in August, is within this cycle. The project will be built in two phases – 64-unit apartment building, followed by retrofitting existing buildings at 10 and 12 Vose Farm Road to provide 32 more units.

Planning Board member Stephanie Hurley said the zoning ordinance does not address the stress put on the community by rental units, which the Catholic Charities complex would be.  

Stone spoke to the complications phased developments bring to the planning process after a discussion with Town Planner Danica Melone.

“It makes this whole thing so difficult to figure out because we have no idea if what we've already approved means that on April 1 we're going to have 700 new people that come to town,” said Stone. “I don't think that's going to happen but we really don't know.”

After more discussion between Melone, the board and the crowd about impact research conducted by neighboring towns, Stone brainstormed with the rest of the room how phased development mitigation and verbiage could be better posed within the ordinance. The issue of parking received considerable conversation due to the projected average occupancy of the Catholic Charities units being just over two individuals. The discussion then moved away from the Catholic Charities development and toward ironing out broader issues with the ordinance. 

The discussion also included accessory dwelling units (ADUs). A current statute allows for a 400-foot ADU to be built alongside a single-family residence, either attached or detached from the original structure. Melone said the attitude of Building Inspector Tim Herlihy is that previously nonconforming structures predating the statute can now be permitted so long as they conform to setback and parking rules within the ordinance. 

Another topic of discussion was tightening the language regarding cluster housing, which allows homes in a subdivision to be closer together, with the remaining land grouped together as common open space. The hope of the amended language is to keep these sorts of developments from sprawling across more land than necessary. Melone emphasized that despite conversations where housing is the priority, it falls as the sixth priority on the master plan, with natural resource preservation being the first. 

 “It’s important because the master plan is our guiding document,” said Melone. 

The remaining zoning workshops will be Oct. 23, Nov. 27, Jan. 29, Feb. 12 and March 11. 

Sign up for Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Newsletters
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Headline Alerts
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute North
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute South
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Real Estate & Transactions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Contests and Promotions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Dining & Entertainment
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Sports


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458


© 2021 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy