Rindge Zoning Board approves 14-unit planned unit residential development

  • Zoning Board member Ross Thermos, Vice Chair Marcia Breckenridge and Chair George Charmichael discuss a request for a variance to allow a planned unit residential development on a property that is partially in a business district. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/23/2023 10:48:09 AM
Modified: 8/23/2023 10:47:58 AM

Developer Tim Halliday received a variance from the Rindge Zoning Board Tuesday for a planned unit residential development, or PURD, on his Middle Winchendon Road property, which is partially in the Business Light Industry zone.

According to the town’s PURD regulations, such developments “are intended to reflect the goals of the Master Plan, to encourage flexibility in the design and development of land, to promote the most efficient use of land, preserve natural features and open space and provide opportunities for a diverse mix of housing unit types that can accommodate the changing demographics of Rindge.”

At least 25% of the acreage must be designated as common land, with 50% of that as open space. Common land is restricted to recreational uses such as parks, swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, play fields, nature trails and agriculture uses, along with land designated as open space.

The majority of the property in Halliday’s proposal is in the Residential Agriculture district, which allows PURDs, but a portion of the parcel is in the Business Light Industry district, which does not. On March 22, the Zoning Board approved the use of the Business Light Industry portion of the parcel to be used for residential purposes.

Halliday has proposed a 14-lot development on the property, and he was back before the Zoning Board on Tuesday to request a specific variance allowing a PURD, at the request of the Planning Board, which is in the midst of reviewing the PURD application.

Halliday said he disagreed with being required to obtain a second variance, saying his understanding of his initial variance that it already allowed residential uses, and that a PURD was a residential use. The members of the Zoning Board agreed, with Chair George Carmichael initially proposing that they simply note the sentiment without an official vote.

Ultimately, the board did decide to formally go through the criteria for a variance, to clarify the decision and allow Halliday to move forward with the process with the Planning Board.

The board found that the property was bisected by two zoning districts, with no allowance for access to the business portion of the property, a unique feature, and that as it had already been granted permission to be used for residential uses. The board also found that it was substantial justice to allow all residential uses, particularly as the majority of the parcel is in a residential district, and other parcels in the neighborhood are also residential uses.

The board unanimously granted the variance.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaaariMLT.

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