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

Friday, December 9, 2016

Homeowners have an inherent right to stability and continuity for their property, especially where rezoning parcels may have an impact on the use or value of their property.

My work the next few months will be to encourage voters to vote against the proposed Planning Board amendment (assuming no positive changes are forthcoming at the public hearing on December 14th)   for the Village Center Overlay District. Here is why I am taking this position.
It is setting a bad precedent for how we should develop zoning " nodes" going forward in Moultonboro. Drawing a map in a willy-nilly fashion because it looks good, is not responsible zoning. We need to be more tolerant of those that are already living in those " nodes" and not impose overreaching amendments to zoning ordinances. Homeowners have an inherent right to stability and continuity for their property, especially where rezoning parcels may have an impact on the use or value of their property.
 I keep hearing that certain things would not be allowed in this proposed overlay district. Things that would not be in keeping with the neighborhood, but that advice is falling on deaf ears considering the progress of the Dollar General store construction in the heart of what can be considered the " historic" village.
It's complicated, but my intention to petition an amendment to the zoning ordinance to reduce the map of the proposed Village Overlay District to the intent of the Village Vision Committee may not accomplish it's intended purpose. The advice I've received is at best, conflicting. What for example would happen in the very real possibility if both the Planning Board and my petitioned amendment should pass? Which would take precedence?
It is not my intention to cause extensive litigation and expense to taxpayers by creating a potential confusing legal conundrum.
I would much rather that the Planning Board recognize that the enlarged village overlay does not meet the intent of what citizens envisioned for the village, and scale it back accordingly. The proposed overlay district far exceeds what the Village Vision Committee in 2014 determined. Part of their charge was to  "... study and the preparation of a report, to include a boundary description of and vision for the future of the Village, as well as recommendations for attaining or achieving that vision, and to present the report to the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen." That report was completed and endorsed at the 2015 Town Meeting. The newly proposed village overlay district far exceeds those boundaries.
It is also incongruous with the soon to be adopted Draft Vision Chapter of the 2016 Master Plan Update : "The community is generally pleased with its historical development; therefore, it is imperative that future growth be harmonious with the Town’s existing rural character as defined by its historic, cultural, and natural resources."

While I support responsible changes to the zoning ordinances to prevent the Conway type strip mall look along Route 25,  I do not support forcing property owners to sacrifice their rights and property value to achieve this goal. Keep in mind that other nodes will be proposed down the road, and many other property owners along Route 25 will be impacted. Get the facts and understand your rights and participate in the process to assure that the changes proposed reflect the views of the widest possible cross section of Moultonboro voters. 

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