GOFFSTOWN — The planning board voted not to adopt Plan Pinardville into the town’s master plan after hearing comments from many of the 125 residents who attended a public hearing on Sept. 12.
“This is how government works, in my opinion, when people come out and tell their elected officials how they feel,” said Chairman John Hikel before opening the meeting to public comment.
Most residents spoke in opposition to the plan, saying they fear the town would take property through eminent domain to fulfill the recommended improvements; building low-income housing would put a strain on infrastructure, create more crime and higher taxes; and interference from government agencies, particularly the federal Housing and Urban Development agency, is unwanted.
After deliberating, the board voted 7-0 to accept the plan as recommended by the Plan Pinardville Ad Hoc Committee, but not adopt it into the town’s master plan. If the board had approved the plan, the committee would have continued its work and reviewed the Character-based Development Ordinance, formerly known as the Smart Code.
Before the vote, Brian Rose urged the board to make zoning part of the discussion and seriously consider adopting the plan as recommended by the ad hoc committee.
He said some of the residents’ concerns are caused by misinformation, and the board has the power to make any changes to satisfy the community.
Board member Barbara Griffin said she would like to see zoning codes discussed in the future because residents have a chance to vote on ordinances.
She said the planning board should accept the report and thank the ad hoc committee for its work, but not adopt the community plan as part of the town’s master plan. However, she said, the ad hoc committee should look at the Character-based Development Ordinance.
As part of her comments to the board, Pinardville resident Gaetene Benner submitted a petition signed by 600 residents opposed to the plan.
On Friday, Benner said she is glad the planning board had the strength “to kill the plan in its entirety.”
“We were fighting for our lives,” she said. “We felt threatened and we were being squashed. We hope this never, never revisits us.”