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Zoning measures against sprawl on Peterborough Town Meeting ballot

Union Leader Correspondent

May 11. 2014 8:15PM

PETERBOROUGH — Several proposed zoning amendments are on Tuesday’s ballot for May Town Meeting.

There are 14 proposed zoning amendments, three of which have generated a great deal of discussion and debate.

The first would replace the Open Space Residential Development plan with an Innovative Subdivision Design plan.

The proposed zoning regulations would encourage developers of land of 10 acres or more to cluster proposed housing developments and preserve the majority of the land as open space, as opposed to creating large lots.

“The purpose of the ordinance is to not make it the default, cutting up a parcel into three-acre lots, which are neither rural or town planning. They are suburban sprawl and what we have heard from people over and over again is that’s not what people want,” said Planning Board member Ivy Vann on Friday.

The proposed zoning amendment would not prohibit developments with large lots, Vann said, if that is the best use of the land. It would, however, require developers to meet with the Planning Board to walk and assess the land before the developers start investing in the engineering and development planning process, Vann said.

“It’s asking them to come to the Planning Board. If they have ten acres or more and they want to subdivide it, what we want to encourage them to do is do cluster housing and leave more space for open space,” Vann said.

Residents opposing the amendment placed a zoning petition article on the ballot, which would add the proposed Innovative Subdivision Design as an option for developers, but would leave the Open Space Residential Development plan in place as an option as well.

Another proposed zoning amendment that has attracted a lot of heat would create a Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zone, which would allow for more density in the downtown district.

Vann said this would allow for organic growth in the already dense village center of town and take advantage of existing water, sewer and road infrastructure.

This is also in keeping with the town Master Plan and is another measure against sprawl, Vann said, and would match the density already existing in the village area.

Vann said a petition article crafted by town farmers to support agriculture has also generated a lot of discussion. The Planning Board wants to support local agriculture, but has voted to not recommend the petition article since it is confusing and unenforceable. Vann said Planning Board members have committed to working with the group of farmers to bring a zoning amendment forward next year.

The election of town officials is also on Tuesday’s Town Meeting ballot.

Running for incumbent Joe Byk’s Select Board seat are Tyler Ward and Jack Burnett. Byk is not running for reelection.

Planning Board incumbents Audrey Cass and Vann and longtime zoning board member Loretta Laurenitis are vying for two seats on the Planning Board.

Ballot voting is planned to take place at the Town House from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The open session of Town Meeting is planned for 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Town House.

Politics Peterborough

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