"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Guest Post on Zoning Issues

In 2008 the Planning Board, after considerable study, approved two proposals that it sent to the voters to consider, one was for the rezoning of part of Route 25 from a point just east of the intersection with Red Hill Road to a point just west of the Village Zone as Residential/Agricultural, as well as to eliminate special exceptions in residential areas.  The purpose of the second proposal was two fold, one to prevent a back door development of Route 25 if the re-zoning proposal was approved, and two to have more consistency in zoning without the spot zoning that the zoning ordinance was creating.

 The impetus for this effort was a finding that the capacity of Route 25 was finite and that the likelihood of the state making major improvements to the road in Moultonborough were nonexistent.  When I served on the Planning Board, we looked at the future traffic volume on Route 25, both from a build out of land that accessed the road (and which had no other access to other main roads) and from increased traffic volumes.  Based upon those estimates (from the Lakes Region Planning Commission and from the NH DOT) that the road had reached capacity and that short of a major reconstruction with added lanes, there was a real question as to whether it made sense for unfettered growth on Route 25 if it remained zoned commercial, the Planning Board endorsed those two rezoning proposals to temper growth.

 Unfortunately both proposals were defeated by a relatively small number of voters in a light election turnout year, and with the economic recession continuing, no development of significance occurred for a number of years.  Now, coming out of a recession, several chains are viewing Moultonborough as an attractive site for commercial development, due to its main road (Route 25), which connects Portland Maine with western NH towns (such as Lebanon and Hanover) and Vermont towns (such as Rutland and Burlington).  Do keep in mind that there is no east-west interstate north of I-90 (Boston to Albany to Buffalo) and that traffic from northern New England has two main east-west routes, Route 25 and US 2, both two lane roads.  Moultonborough residents should also realize that the Town is also midway between the two major north south NH highways, I-93 and Route 16, so it will be a continuing attractive target for development.

 Although the Town hired a Town Planner, planning on a larger scale appears to be an anathema to Town residents.  So that the several Planners we have had have concentrated on smaller issues relating mainly to compliance and have not viewed future growth in a larger context.  Ergo, the results we are now seeing of commercial expansion on Route 25 and the likely creation of a road with significantly more commercial development over a 8.5-mile stretch (17 miles of commercial linear space on both sides of the road) with much more traffic congestion and more safety issues that will not be addressed by the Planning Board or the Town Planner.

 Based upon what has occurred in past years residents and travelers will see significantly increased congestion caused by establishments that require left turn lanes that won't be built; a need for additional traffic signals and the creation of the equivalent of a congested suburb.  Just as the 30 mile speed zone in the Village has creeped out at various locations and the 55 mph out of village speed limit has been reduced to 45 mph, we will see increases in travel time in all seasons as more destination traffic and through traffic uses our substandard state highway. 

 Whether this is good or bad depends upon one’s personal views, but reality should tell us that any reconstruction of Route 25 to provide greater capacity is but a pipe dream. 

 As a corollary, the redevelopment of the Village Zone in a vacuum without the clear recognition that Route 25 traffic is only going to increase more, and that the Village Zone will never look like Sandwich or Wolfeboro, should be etched in the minds of the members of the various development committees, so that realistic proposals that make   sense for a village with a major state highway that will never bypass the Town are carefully considered.

Eric Taussig


Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...


Route 25 is a thruway that most, town residents and "out of towners" view as "the" road to take going east-west, west-east for central NH.

Those of us that have professionally driven 18 wheelers throughout this state (and other states) will attest.

Rt. 302, the Kangamagus, is not an option, unless going out leaf peeping!

Rt.11 at the southern end of the lake is not usually a direct enough route.

RT. 4 or Rt.101 in the southern tier of the state don't come into play. The decision to go northbound, would have probably occurred at the MA-NH border to run-up I-93 or Rt.16.

There are few cross-connecting roads.

There are some of us that do not object to large chains coming into parts of Moultonborough ... as long as they are constrained to that part of Moultonborough.

Not talking about strip-joints!!

We all frequent "those chains" ... just not in Moultonborough. No, we have to go to Meredith or Tilton or Laconia or ...

I understand the food service groups would be concerned, and others, if Mickey Dee's or Burger King wanted to build here. But ... different patronage.

The traffic count will increase, in all likelihood, no matter if chains are part of the landscape or not. There's a reason there is traffic ... and it is not going to be stopped by Moultonborough.

Presently, to enter a present establishment, say "Dunkies", if westbound, you cross traffic and drive into the parking lot or ... if eastbound, you take a right into the parking lot.

We find a way!

Moultonborough doesn't have to become North Conway ... how many lanes do they have going through the town. How many lanes can Moultonborough have?

Just a thought ... "no dog in this".

See ya at the Village meeting tonight!

Tunnel Your Way Out.. said...

Joe, The Center Harbor to Wolfboro connector tunnel is looking more certain...we will find out April 1 if the DOT will fund it. Good chance the acces roads could be tunnels also, going underground at Moultonboro Airport, and re-emerging just west of Center Harbor. This would turn our section of Rt 25 into a country lane. Let's hope the DOT does the right thing on April First.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

... connector tunnel is looking more certain ...

GOOD ONE!!! Love your style! :)

The tunnel goes hand-in-glove with the submarine, the town was going to buy for the fire department!

Just got back from the Village meeting ...

We now, need to look out for drones overhead ... ya ... right!

OK Folks, tell us again, it's only for mapping the sidewalks!

Let's hope DOT's April 1 is a day for celebration ... not just April Fool ... you realize, we're going to get enough of those!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we could build a toll road bypass to tunnel through Red Hill from Center Harbor to Sheriden Road, then s bridge across Garland pond and continue the tunnel under the airport connecting with Rte 25 at the Sandwich line. It could be built for 500 million with 4 lanes and Easy Pass toll charges of$20 for a car; $40 for a truck. Of course we would need an exit for CG Roxane trucks.

Mt. Rattler said...

Let me begin by saying that a good majority of you transplants ( aka new residents) moved up here for the benefits of a smaller and rural (picturesque) community. What I hear is that because Moultonboro doesn't have the conveniences that you came from, you are willing to divulge into letting the franchises move in. YOU MOVED AWAY from that remember? You people make me sick,many chain restaurant or franchises should be banned or restricted by such local codes, that you wouldn't be able to tell what they were other than a sign that fits into the rural feel of the place. Why bring that crap here in the first place? You people talk about having businesses and jobs brought in, why not encourage the ones that want brick and mortar stores,coffee shops, etc. something that has uniqueness, which I believe would attract a much higher clientele than having a damn friendlies or burger king, or a family dollar! Bring down the town ! Make it into the cluster f@&k towns you left, I guese you can't exspect much from people who messed up their communities that they left from in the name of progress! If we are to do this right, some serious consideration needs to be had in the planning, or believe me you will have more eye sores than just tin buildings here, you will have tilton on a smaller scale. Disgusting.

Mt. Rattler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
No Free Ride. said...

You both seem pretty cavelier about spending federal money in our wealthy little town. Read the DOT proposal carefully. Page 1357 details the towns contribution, funded by road tolls on the Long Island bridge. Other cities have been able to sweeten this requirement, by insisting on easy-pass, and a high speed toll lane.
No free lunch with the Feds.. However, our Mass friends on Long Island can hold off , and insist on naming rights.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

"You both seem pretty cavelier about spending federal money in our wealthy little town. Read the DOT proposal carefully."

What makes you think we can read?

Federal money...??? DOT ... State or Federal ..?

"You both seem pretty cavelier ..."

Did you mean "cavalier" ... or "chevalier" ... maybe?

It looks like we're talking about horses ...!

Or, is it horse's asses???

The early Americans (American "Indian" .. not the Moultonborough gentry} probably told the Pilgrims to go back to Wesley, MA.

Speaking for myself, I bought my property in Moultonbough in 1970 ... Columbus had just landed!

I became a full time resident in 1996. Maybe the money I put into Moultonborough wasn't old enough?

The name calling starts, as soon as the magnanimous mentality, hiccups ... or is it passing wind?

Feel better ... lighten up!

Some of the younger folks, in town, want us to have dialogue instead of dicta!

Mt. Rattler said...

I am one of the "younger folks", and I say that perhaps the Q-tip generation has done enough on bringing progress to communities, seeing that they are over burdened, and mostly in debt. Your generation has sold out the sovereignty of the states by excepting Federal bribes (aka mandates), and in the progress of doing the same on every level. Maybe we should just hold off and let my children's generation decide what progress they want, seeing that they will be shouldering your bills, and your so called progress projects that they will have to maintain and pay for when they come of age. Feel better....lighten up!

Thank You, Mr T said...

I would like to thank Mr Taussig for his complete review of the planning and zoning issues involving privately owned property on Route 25. Lets not forget the mountains either, they dictate location of east west roads.
Anyone owning land in the commercial zone is in a risky position, as many feel they have a right to dictate the use of the property. An illustration of this risk may be read in the recent Zoning Board Of Appeals minutes, available on the town website. While we have not allowed P and Z to dictate property use, or building appearance, we can still kill applications by 1,000 small cuts.. Not a good idea to be a property owner anymore.

Anonymous said...

I understand the agenda for the April 1st meeting has been modified to include consideration of a six lane interstate that would connect Meredith to Wolfeboro. While much of the proposed roadway will entail building over the lake using enormous concrete pillars, the advantages would far exceed the negatives and makes much more sense than the tunnel.

DOT Wins..Bury It said...

Posted at 7:36. Tho the official word will not be released till April 1,, the tunnel option won hands down. Every state DOT worth it's salt has built a tunnel. N H is short on tunnels. We are doing this for the kids, who may never have a chance to see a real tunnel.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Pursuant to our legislature ...