Pinardville planning group completes its draft project
GOFFSTOWN — The Plan Pinardville Ad Hoc Committee voted to present its final draft to the Planning Board for review and adoption — and members still hope residents will stand behind the project.
At the committee’s Aug. 27 meeting, members made final corrections to the document, reflecting some residents’ comments and clarifying parking areas, biking paths and types of proposed housing. The changes include removing a drawing of the area the committee referred to as Cote’s Corner, now called “Pinardville Gateway at Cote’s Corner.”
The committee agreed to make the area more generic, providing a welcoming gateway to town without interfering with existing properties. The committee also removed the Innovation District concept, which covered the St. Anselm College property.
“We’re trying to make Pinardville look like a college town and it’s not,” said John Hikel, the Planning Board’s representative on the committee.
The next step is a Planning Board review on Sept. 12 and acceptance of Plan Pinardville into the Goffstown master plan for future guidance on how the town could be economically and physically developed.
“We hope that the committee’s efforts to provide some compromise, based on community input, will help garner support for the plan as it moves forward to the Planning Board for adoption,” said Brian Rose, town planning director.
The Plan Pinardville Committee has been meeting since January to develop a proposed master plan to promote mixed-use development in town. The committee also held a series of public workshops and brainstorming events in May called Planapalooza for Pinardville.
The plan has met resistance from several residents, who voiced concerns about increased taxes and traffic, eminent domain and changes to their community’s lifestyle.
Others expressed concern over acceptance of a New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority grant, which some say will force the town to add low-income housing to Goffstown, if the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is allowed to get involved in the plan. Grant money was given by HUD to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, which provided grants to individual towns, said Greg Carson, field officer for HUD in Manchester, at the Aug. 19 Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
“The town did not get a grant from HUD. I wanted to be sure that people are not attributing some onerous requirements on the part of HUD,” said Carson. Recently, the Goffstown Industrial Corporation, which donated $3,000 in matching funds toward a grant to the town by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority for Plan Pinardville, pulled out of the project. The organization was represented by local attorney Tony Marts, who sat on the ad hoc committee since its inception.
Upon Marts’ resignation, Rose said: “It’s sad that it got to this point. People who were trying to do good for this town basically got bombarded with comments that they were doing unethical things. How are we going to get anything done if we’re going to get bombarded with negativity?”
Rose has consistently asked for residents’ support of the plan, saying the plan is conceptual and the town is not trying to take land or force anyone to do anything.
“I don’t think the town would take any property by eminent domain,” he said. “We would have to prove there’s a public need. We can’t say we’re taking your corner or property and take it by eminent domain. That would be very difficult for us to embark on that path, and it’s not our intent.”
An example of public need, he said, would be constructing a sewer line to connect to 2,000 new houses, which is not the case.
“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.”
After Planning Board review is complete, the ad hoc committee will begin work on the zoning section of the proposed plan. The new proposed zoning, called the Smart Code, is geared to incorporate smart growth designs to provide affordable housing and more livable areas in Pinardville, while taking the town’s character into consideration.
The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at Goffstown Town Hall. Rose encourages residents to attend the Planning Board and subsequent Smart Code meetings.