The Village Vision Committee first met last March 4th. They will meet again Monday January 26th at 5:30pm. The VVC sub committee was authorized by the Planning Board and members were appointed by them and the BoS. The purpose of the committee was to create a broad vision for the future of the village and recommendations for achieving that vision. It was the intent of the Planning Board that this body of work would ultimately become part of the new Master Plan update.
The Board of Selectmen will ultimately have a great deal to say about the results of this report and the Planning Board will be heavily involved in finalizing a Master Plan and determining what if any changes will be recommended to the zoning ordinances. The charge to the VVC requires a presentation to a joint BoS/PB which will occur ( weather permitting) this Wednesday at 7pm in Town Hall.
The VVC over the course of the better part of a year, has reviewed numerous past reports and studies, had many public meetings, had a tremendous response to a survey and was provided excellent support by our Town Planner, Bruce Woodruff. It is important to note that the 2007-2008 Master Plan update was completed using consultants and in the opinion of many, had too many different hands in writing and coordinating the final product and the end result was not optimal. I can certainly see the value of a single person ( our Town Planner) involved in the entire process as it will make for a much better coordinated end result.
In conjunction with this process is a redefinition of the Master Plan Implementation Committee which will encompass not only the the current Master Plan, but incorporate the VVC report and any Master Plan chapters that will be updated.
If things go as planned, the PB/BoS may decided to place a question on the ballot for Town Meeting to simply get a consensus from the legislative body that this is the direction they want the town to proceed.
I want preface all this by saying that nothing in the VVC report or the Master Plan is mandatory. There is no power of law to implement anything in either document. In the 2008 Master Plan Update which quotes the RSA's "As described in state statutes, a Master Plan is a set of statements and land use and
development principles that give legal standing to ordinances adopted to implement the
Plan, as well as to other Planning Board actions. It is important to note that a Master
Plan is NOT a legally binding document; however, without it, the zoning ordinance lacks
legal standing. The purpose of a Master Plan is to “set down as clearly and practically as possible the
best and most appropriate future development of the area under the jurisdiction of the
planning board, to aid the board in designing ordinances that result in preserving and
enhancing the unique quality of life and culture of New Hampshire, and to guide the
board in the performance of its other duties in a manner that achieves the principles of
smart growth, sound planning, and wise resource protection.”
So the VVC is very close to completing their task and we as a community should be grateful for the many hours they spent working diligently to get to this point. I look forward to seeing the final report.