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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Planning Board Keeps Proposed Village Overlay District Map

In a work session tonight, the Planning Board decided that the original Village District Overlay District (VCOD) map presented on November 9th will remain unchanged and annex  portions of current residential/agricultural zoned property.
Here is a repeat of that VCOD map:





















My objection was and remains, that it is wrong to annex large portions of quiet residential neighborhoods for the sole purpose of increasing density in the village area of town and potentially decreasing the value and livability of our properties.
The Planning Board is essentially asking us to give up our privacy and quiet, peaceful homesteads, so that dense housing, including potentially low income, clustered senior housing, numerous commercial use and to trust them that they will not allow uses that don't fit the neighborhood now and into the future. I have a hard time with that.
One serious concern also is that the amendment as proposed will allow the Planning Board to annex your property or portions of it into the new VCOD to accomplish the goals of the VCOD ordinance.
Further, any new or redevelopment of new single or two family homes will be subject to the requirements of the proposed ordinance to " enhance the visual character" of the community.
As my property is one at  the heart of the issue, I will present a petitioned Zoning Ordinance Amendment that does not include these prime residential areas. The petitioned ordinance has to be submitted by December 14th, to be included on the warrant at ballot day March 14th.
There is some question as to how this works legally. If the Planning Board ordinance is on the ballot as is my petitioned one, and both pass, which one will be in play? Can both be on the ballot? I don't really know, but I will get at least 25 signatures of registered voters before December 14th and see what happens.
The Planning Board will hold the continued public hearing on this VCOD on December 14th, but I have to say that based upon the lack of any real attempt by the Planning Board to modify this plan, it is very doubtful they will approve any changes at the public hearing, so attendance at that meeting is probably pointless.
I am very disappointed that the Planning Board with the exception of Joanne Farnhum, were not willing to make a small compromise which would have avoided a contentious next few months and would have met the intentions of what they were trying to accomplish. I should add that none of the PB member lives anywhere near the proposed VCOD and I doubt that if they did, they would welcome this potential disruption to their homestead.
We need to move our town forward, but we also need to be mindful of the people already here, that have roots and a stake here and are planning on being here for the rest of their lives. Zero consideration was given to that aspect of this proposal and does not bode well for future plans for our town.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

A petition of this nature may require 50 signatures and ends to be presented earlier than other petitions.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the problems that many residents have with the Planning Board process. Lakefront folks have been hammered with all kinds of restrictions imposed by the planning process that also impact their values. Now you have a personal problem. Think about the restrictions of adding on to property that have 20% limits. Seems like you now have a NIMBY issue....well, many of us do as well and get nowhere with town government.

Joseph Cormier said...

RSA 39:3 only requires 25 registered voter signatures for the annual town meeting. A special town meeting requires 50 registered voter signatures.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/III/39/39-3.htm

However, a protest petition is legally intricate. This is not legal advice, but opinion.


675:5 Zoning Ordinance Protest Petition. –
I. Zoning regulations, restrictions and boundaries may from time to time be amended or repealed.
I-a. A favorable vote of 2/3 of all the members of the legislative body present and voting shall be required to act upon any amendment or repeal in the case of a protest against such zoning change signed by either:
(a) The owners of 20 percent of the area of the lots included in such proposed change; or
(b) The owners of 20 percent of the area within 100 feet immediately adjacent to the area affected by the change or across a street from such area.
I-b. Paragraph I-a shall apply only to amendments which alter the boundary locations separating previously defined zoning districts, or to amendments which alter the regulations or restrictions of an area not larger than 1/3 of the land area within the municipality.
I-c. The area of streets, commons, or land owned by a governmental entity shall not be included in any calculation under this section.
II. In order to have any protest considered pursuant to paragraph I-a:
(a) The owners signing the petition shall identify themselves on the petition by name and address, and by address of the property involved, or by lot and map number, or by whatever other means is used within the town or village district to identify the land in question, so that the selectmen or commissioners may identify such owners as interested and affected parties; and
(b) The signed protest petition shall be submitted to the selectmen or village district commissioners at least 7 days prior to the town or village district meeting; provided, however, that each protest petition shall apply to only one article on the warrant. A notice of receipt of the protest petition shall be posted at the polling place, and the moderator shall announce at the opening of the town meeting that a protest petition has been received.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 103:24. 1989, 44:1-3, eff. June 11, 1989.


http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXIV/675/675-5.htm




Moultonboro Blogger said...

675:4 Method of Enactment by Petition. –
I. Twenty-five or more voters may petition for an amendment to a zoning ordinance, historic district ordinance, or a building code. Petitioned amendments shall be voted only at the annual town or village district meeting.

Zoning ordinance amendments are voted on at the second Tuesday in March in towns which elect officers by official ballot.

Joseph Cormier said...

That is correct:

Petitions for Zoning or Building Code amendments have to be submitted at least 90 days before the annual meeting (RSA 675:4) and need 25 signatures instead of just 10.

https://www.nhmunicipal.org/TownAndCity/Article/600

675:4 Method of Enactment by Petition. –
I. Twenty-five or more voters may petition for an amendment to a zoning ordinance, historic district ordinance, or a building code. Petitioned amendments shall be voted only at the annual town or village district meeting. A petition to amend a zoning ordinance, historic district ordinance, or a building code shall be submitted to the board of selectmen or the village district commissioners during the period between 120 and 90 days prior to the annual town or village district meeting. The petition shall be in correct warrant article form, as determined by the selectmen or village district commissioners, to amend the zoning ordinance, historic district ordinance, or building code. The selectmen or the village district commissioners shall submit the petitions to the planning board in a timely manner.
II. The planning board at its first regular meeting following the petition period shall set the date of the public hearing for each petitioned amendment which is received and shall hold a public hearing on each petitioned amendment. Notice for the time and place of the public hearing shall be the same as that provided in RSA 675:7.
III. Each petitioned amendment shall be placed on a ballot which may be separate from the ballot used to elect town or village district officers. A notation on the ballot stating the planning board's approval or disapproval shall immediately follow the question's description. Any petitioned question receiving an affirmative vote of a majority of the legal voters present and voting shall be adopted, except as provided in RSA 675:5. The planning board shall forward to the town or village district clerk all proposed amendments to a zoning ordinance, historic district ordinance, or building code under this section not later than the fifth Tuesday prior to the date for electing town or village district officers.
IV. The town or village district clerk shall include each question on a petitioned amendment on the appropriate official or special ballot, or separate official ballot, in the same manner as provided in paragraph III and in RSA 675:3, VII.
V. The method for amending a zoning ordinance, historic district ordinance or building code, as set forth in this section, may also be utilized to repeal such ordinance or code. The ballot question shall use the word "repeal'' in place of the word "amendment.''

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 103:24; 266:3. 1990, 54:3. 1996, 43:2, eff. June 23, 1996.