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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Master Plans and Zoning Ordinances Are Important

Without expressing an opinion one way or another on the whole Dollar General issue, it is being built nonetheless.

The picture below is the proposed site plan. I'm not sure if it is the final plan, but it is close and you get the point I think of where it will be situated.
I have written numerous times about zoning and planning and the need to participate to avoid what some may see as a "gotcha." The Master Plan update is in process and over time changes to our zoning ordinances will be proposed that will help protect and preserve the look and character of not only the Village, but other parts of town.

Some of you may be hearing of the horrors of Master Plans coming from radical and misinformed people and groups, and the attempt by some unknown behind the scenes organizations trying to take away your property rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One more time for the record: our elected Planning and Zoning boards are people just like you and me. Volunteers with an interest in donating their time and talent for the good of our town. It is insulting to insinuate they are motivated by anything else.
Master Plans are important to towns and without it, there is no legal basis for our zoning ordinances. We can go completely commando and have no rules or regulations and just let everyone build whatever they want wherever they want without any building codes. That is pretty much the position of the Free State movement and others on the extreme right. It is not my position nor that of just about every municipality in NH.
The message again to John and Jane Q. Public is to get involved. When public hearings are scheduled, read the proposal and if you have questions, ask them. Come to Planning Board meetings. Contact the Land Use Office. Get informed.


Anonymous said...

A number of people did show up for the hearing for Dollar General and/or wrote letters making suggestions regarding access and traffic patterns that the Planning Board elected to ignore. While much of the control does lie with the State DOT, certainly requests by the Board to the DOT might have been useful, but that was not what occurred. Instead there was the usual "hearing" with difference to the applicant. except for some issues on the exterior construction, lighting and other "ambience" issues that really failed to impact the most glaring problems of traffic turning from Rte 25 and the intersection with Blake Road.

I do agree with a prior comment, regarding the Planning Board being asleep at the switch.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

You are not correct about the Planning Board. They placed numerous ( more than 20 in total) requirements. The point is that the PB has to operate within the law and according to the ordinances and site plan regulations. If they did not, they could subject the town to a lawsuit. I don't have the specifics handy, but there was a lot of discussion with NH DOT and a final plan was approved. As far Rt 25 is concerned, NH DOT has 100% control. All we can do is ask, but the final decision is theirs alone.

ConCom Bill said...

Property rights present an interesting dilemma. As the town government and community better understand the value of wetlands to lake water quality, protecting wetlands has become a higher priority. However, some people invested in wetland property with hopes of cashing in, perhaps for their retirement. Changing zoning rules to protect wetlands fixes a historical oversight, but can reduce the resale value of properties that were purchased during an era when filling-in wetlands was a common practice.

The property that the Dollar Store is being built on, should have been zoned as wetlands and non-commercial. However, since it is in a commercial zone, the boards' hands were legally tied, no matter what the public outcry. In the DS building plans, you can see retention ponds that will hopefully contain heavy storm runoff. On the down-side, the nutrient absorption and infiltration value of the land is gone from Garland Pond's (and the Lee's Pond and Winnipesaukee) watershed.

The dilemma is, how does the town move forward to save its remaining unprotected wetlands, especially in commercial zones, while balancing the rights of those that have plans to develop them?