Demographics and changes ahead

To the editor:

Watch out — times are changing and the change is just beginning. The 2010 U.S. Census has revealed that the elderly population in New Hampshire is increasing while school age children numbers are decreasing. The data from the 2010 NHOSP on the demographic mix says it’s changing and that we as a state, county and town (Peterborough) are growing smaller.

More than that, the size of the family unit is getting smaller. This shift in the population looks to be no big deal, but it could well be. It could have unintended consequences or demand for conventional singe family homes may be affected. Or from another angle, the demand for apartments will increase. In Hillsborough and Cheshire counties, there may be  25 communities that would already have land already zoned for multi-families and have water and sewer at the curb. But in many towns they do not want multi-families and they have deliberately zoned them out through the years.

Now societal changes have reduced births, reduced available apartments, reduced family size homes and moved manufacturing to China. The projections of the NHOSP 40 years out will continue to see shrinking numbers in NH. It could be a dissolution of the nine ConVal towns may become necessary. In ConVal, eight towns have fewer apartment developments combined than Peterborough. Need for apartments is coming with the demographic changes reported, whether we are ready or not.

Zoning boards and planners best rethink future needs.

Fran Chapman


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