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Town seeks closure on Plan Pinardville grant

GOFFSTOWN — Selectmen and Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux are trying to dot their i's and cross their t's to make sure the town has fulfilled its obligation in accepting the Plan Pinardville grant.

The town received a $50,000 grant to design the Pinardville Community Plan, which was met with resistance from many residents. The Planning Board decided not to adopt the plan as part of Goffstown's master plan.

The money was provided by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority through the federal Housing and Urban Development agency. Residents objected to the design, voicing fears that if the town allows HUD to get involved in the community it would be at the will of the federal government, which would force them to build low-income housing and mixed-use developments in Pinardville. Part of the project included hiring a consultant — an out-of-state person, residents said, who did not have the community's interests in mind.

On their Sept. 23 meeting, selectmen approved a letter written by Desruisseaux to Benjamin Frost, program administrator for NHHFA, asking the agency to confirm the town has fulfilled its obligation.

"The Board of Selectmen felt they met this obligation and are asking the NHHFA to concur," said Desruisseaux, adding she expects a response in about a week.

In the letter, Desruisseaux said the ad hoc committee worked on the plan and "provided a succinct list of comments back to the consultant on their original draft and the consultant made those changes."

"Staff also helped make any necessary changes to the document to ensure that it was in accordance with comments from the committee and citizens," she wrote.

Desruisseaux describes the process further, including the ad hoc committee's 5-2-0 vote to recommend adoption of the plan to the Planning Board, and that board's vote not to adopt the plan as an amendment to the master plan.

The letter is meant to address whether the town should continue its review of the Character Based Development Ordinance, formerly known as the Smart Code.

If Plan Pinardville had been adopted by the Planning Board, the ad hoc committee would have continued its charge by reviewing whether zoning regulations to support the plan were necessary and presenting its recommendations to the Planning Board, then to voters for approval in March.

"Since the plan was not adopted by the Planning Board, and in light of the public outcry on this project, we feel that our contractual obligations to develop and propose a new plan and code have been met to the farthest extent possible," Desruisseaux wrote.

Any further work on the code and holding public hearings to consider zoning amendments without an adopted plan would not be appropriate, she said.In closing, Desruisseaux asks for confirmation that the town has met its contractual obligation and requests that the NHHFA reimburse the town for the remainder of its expenses on this project.

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