Doubts surface about direction Pinardville is headed
GOFFSTOWN – Some residents of Pinardville are questioning whether their small section of Goffstown should be changed, and who should be making those decisions.
Donna Pinard said she opposes the proposed master plan designed to promote economic development in Pinardville. She said she hears the words "best practice," but by whose standards.
"I like Pinardville the way it is. Are there improvements to be made? Sure, but I'd like to improve them using the people of Pinardville," she said at the Plan Pinardville Committee's June 18 meeting. "We can change zoning section by section on our own."
She also said improvements should be done when the town can afford them, and not through grants that involve the state and the federal government.
Since January, the Plan Pinardville Committee has been meeting in public work sessions to develop a proposed master plan to promote mixed-use development in town and create a more viable community. The committee also held a week-long series of workshops and brainstorming events for the public in May called Planapalooza for Pinardville.
The committee will present the draft plan to the public beginning July 16. Residents will have until Aug. 15 to submit their concerns before the plan goes before the Planning Board on Sept. 12. The plan will be available online at www.goffstown.com, at town offices and at other locations to offer the public a chance to review it and offer comments, said Brian Rose, Goffstown planning director and committee member.
The goal is to incorporate smart growth designs to provide affordable housing and more livable areas in Pinardville, while taking the town's character into consideration, Rose said.
The plan has two parts – a master plan and a zoning ordinance – that will be reviewed separately by the Planning Board, he said. New zoning in Pinardville, called the Smart Code, is geared to help shape the future of specific sections in town. The committee will hold a meeting July 30 at 6 p.m. to discuss the zoning code, which will go to voters in March 2014. Meetings are also televised on GTV.
The draft master plan, so far, has met with some resistance from the community.
At the July 2 meeting, residents' comments were addressed by the committee, such as designing street connections.
"We decided not to make connections to Joffre, Haig and Petain streets," Rose said. "From the beginning, it really wasn't street connections, per se."
The committee is stressing that drawings in the draft are for illustration purposes only, and provide a way to look at possible development in the area, he said.
"There is no requirement on any homeowner, landowner or business," said Rose. "There is no taking of people's property with this plan. This plan will not require them to do anything they don't want to do."
David Bousquet, the committee's Bartlett School representative, suggested the school district should be involved. As a result, the committee added the goal to "coordinate with the school district for renovation and facilities plans for academic, recreational and community space" to the plan.
Some residents said the planning process is happening too fast, while others are concerned about taxes, increased traffic and changes in lifestyle.
One proposed area is Cote's Corner, now a three-way intersection of Mast Road, Pinard Street and Laurier Street, which causes traffic confusion, and is the gateway to Pinardville. The idea is to create more open space with pedestrian-friendly areas, outdoor dining and mixed-use buildings.
Robert Scarboro said he's opposed to a laundromat proposed near Cote's Corner.
"Our streets will be crazy with all kinds of people going up and down these streets," said Scarboro, who has been living in the area for 27 years.
Resident Dana Benner urges residents to voice their concerns about the plan so a minority will not make decisions for the entire community.
"Rezoning will open the door to more huge apartment complexes similar to the 48 apartments being built on Moose Club," said Benner in a recent letter to the editor.
He said development will mean higher taxes, more demand on services and the end to single-family neighborhoods.
Other resident concerns include creating access between shopping centers without going onto Mast Road, safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists, improving parking and transportation and increasing the tax base.
The committee is taking public comments, and some ideas will be incorporated into the proposed plan, while others won't be feasible, either for economic or demographic reasons. The committee has said some items in the plan will occur soon, and others will take years or decades.
The draft plan also takes into account several existing and proposed areas, such as Pinardville's last historic structure – the Ice House, which the public has said needs to be restored and preserved.