New Ipswich: Discussions on new driveway regulations continued

  • Town of New Ipswich. (BEN CONANT / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Copyright Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to news@ledgertranscript.com. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/22/2021 5:44:45 PM

The New Ipswich Planning Board will continue to discuss changes to its new proposed driveway regulations, after hearing feedback from residents who believe the new rules would be too onerous for builders.

Following a second public hearing on the proposed regulations on Wednesday, the board again continued the hearing until March 3, when they plan to hear deliberations on several key points to which residents have objected.

The board came to Wednesday’s meeting with an updated draft of the regulations that had already undergone some revisions from its original proposal, Planning Board Chair John Schaumloffel said Monday.

“The changes were a result both of feedback the board received at the January hearing, and discussion among the board,” Schaumloffel said.

At the first hearing on the regulations in January, several residents and developers told the board that the regulations would increase expenses for builders significantly.

The board drafted the proposed regulations mainly from regulations already approved in other New Hampshire towns, according to Schaumloffel.

One objection offered by residents were rules about the creation of a “landing zone” for steep driveways. The rules would require that a flat area be constructed at the head of the driveway where there was a steep slope going up or down. Some builders said the cost of leveling an area could dramatically increase costs, by thousands of dollars, making otherwise buildable properties too expensive.

The current draft of the proposed regulations requires that when a driveway is on a 10 percent or greater slope, that there be a “landing” zone of at least 20 feet. The landing zone was originally proposed to be less than 1 percent grade from the street entrance. The updated version of the regulations would give more leeway, requiring only that the last four to six feet abutting the roadway be at a grade of less than one percent.

The board also made updates to areas detailing when and if home owners are required to submit professional architectural drawings.

But after further discussion on Wednesday, the board agreed to continue discussion on other points.

“We’re considering adjustments in five different areas,” Schaumloffel said – including the size and slope requirements for the landing, the required size of driveway culverts, requirements for official driveways, and whether driveways would be classified as structures in the zoning code, Schaumloffel said.

Schaumloffel said the board has the authority to make further changes to its proposal during the March 3 hearing, or to approve the regulations as proposed. Because the proposal is a regulation, and considered seperate from the zoning code, the Planning Board is the ruling authority and can enact the regulations without a vote of Town Meeting, which is required for amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.

The public hearing for the proposed driveway regulations is scheduled to continue on March 3 at 7:15 via Zoom. Sign in information is available on the town of New Ipswich website. A copy of the current draft of driveway regulations is available on the town website under the Planning Board page.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.




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