PlanNH Charrette removed from town’s Master Plan

Voters rejected suggested zoning changes at the polls

  • The Rindge Planning Board voted to removed the chapter containing the PlanNH Charrette from the Master Plan during their public meeting on Tuesday.
  • The Rindge Planning Board voted to removed the chapter containing the PlanNH Charrette from the Master Plan during their public meeting on Tuesday.

RINDGE — At their public hearing to consider removing the chapter containing the PlanNH Charrette from the Master Plan on Tuesday, the Planning Board voted six in favor and one opposed to remove the item.

Residents packed into the town office building for the discussion whether to remove the chapter or not and opened with two clarifications from the board. In a previous Planning Board meeting, a discussion between member Roberta Oeser and alternate Kim McCummings raised a question of whether or not the PlanNH Charrette was located within a chapter or the appendices. The conclusion ats the public hearing was that the information was in fact contained within a chapter.

The second point of clarification was made by Board Chair Hank Whitney, who explained that the board was required to have the meeting to remove the item since that must occur any time there are changes to the Master Plan.

The PlanNH Charrette information, which recommended a number of zoning changes, became part of the town’s Master Plan following a series of meetings in 2011 and 2012.

At Town Meeting this year, residents rejected the proposed zoning changes and also approved, by a vote of 1,086 to 321, a petition article calling for removal of the PlanNH Charrette from the Master Plan. At Tuesday’s meeting, board members said the wording of the petition article was correct in its inclusion of the word “request” because the board is the only body with the authority to change the Master Plan.

Resident Larry Cleveland, the article petitioner and a member of Save Our Town, a resident formed committee opposed to the PlanNH Charrette and against federal grant money, spoke in favor of removal and read a statement to the board. He said West Rindge residents were surprised when they first heard about plans to create an overlay zoning district around the intersection of Route 119 and 202 and were completely against commercializing that area.

Rick Griffin, who was also in favor of removing the Charrette, told the board that he understood how town officials may have thought that the PlanNH Charrette was something residents wanted. But now, he said, it had to be removed.

“Without having us here all those years I understand,” said Griffin. “We’re here now so we can do the right thing.”

Another resident said he didn’t want anyone confiscating his land, or for the federal government to come in and control any aspects of the town’s management. He said the board should do its homework in the future and look for alternative, non-federal, grants.

Not everyone in attendance favored removing the information.

Resident Pat Martin read a brief statement to the room in which she wrote, “Please consider that you were not commanded to remove it, but simply requested to do so. You can say, “No.”

Martin spoke of all the hard work that people had put into the plans and listed a few reasons why the board should consider retaining the charrette.

Martin suggested keeping the charrette within the Master Plan document, “...if only as a caution for future projects.”

That sentiment later supported by McCummings, who voted against removal for that reason.

Resident Jed Brummer did not speak for or against the issue. He said he appreciates residents wishing to keep Rindge as it is, but added that solutions could be found in good planning to develop the town. He said development is unavoidable, since Rindge is a border town, and he was in support of controlling the town’s growth.

The majority of those who spoke seemed to favor removal of the chapter in the Master Plan containing the charrette.

McCummings was the only member to vote against the removal.

Hayden James can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228, or hjames@ledgertranscript.com.

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