Dublin proposes changes to open space ordinance that could allow more homes

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    Dublin Planning Board Vice Chair Steve Baldwin and Chair Bruce Simpson discuss a proposed petition zoning article with Allan "Geoff" Pinney during a Planning Board meeting on Thursday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/10/2022 11:09:45 AM

A proposed zoning amendment in Dublin would allow open space developments to take into account more unbuildable area in their density calculations – potentially allowing more houses.

The Dublin Planning Board was scheduled to hold a public hearing on three proposed zoning amendments Thursday, but had not made available a complete copy of the proposed changes at Town Hall, as is required. The board agreed to re-notice the hearing and hold it Jan. 27.

Zoning Article 3 would streamline the process for applying for an open space subdivision, and also change how the calculation for the density of houses is done. In the current ordinance, in order to establish how many housing units could be built on a property, a developer must deduct any “unbuildable land” from the total acreage, and then reduce the remaining acres by 10%. That number, rounded to the nearest whole, is then divided by the minimum lot size allowed in the district by the town’s conventional subdivision development.

The proposed ordinance would allow developers to deduct only 50% of the acreage of wetlands, instead of the entirety, when doing that calculation. Planning Board Chair Bruce Simpson said while there are other changes to the article, to make the application process more clear and easier, the change in how the density is calculated is the “most substantive” change.

Article 1 proposes to change the language around nonconforming uses. Currently, any nonconforming use that ceases for any reason for a year or more can only continue after receiving a special exception from the Planning Board. The new proposed language would no longer allow the use to continue with a special exception, so after a year of non-use, any subsequent uses of the property must comply with the zoning ordinance.

Article 2 is related to the sign ordinance, and particularly the rules around temporary signs, including political and advertising signs. Temporary signs, under the ordinance, do not require a permit. Under the current rules, temporary signs must be under 6 square feet, and be located only on the property being advertised. Signs advertising special events can be erected no more than four weeks before an event and must be removed no later than two days after the event has been held.

The proposed amendment would allow larger signs on private property for political signs or event advertising, allowing one sign up to 32 square feet per lot, which would allow billboard-type signs, which may be up for a maximum of four weeks at a time.

Resident Allan “Geoff” Pinney attended Thursday’s meeting to discuss a proposal he had for a petition amendment that would have amended subdivision regulations approved by voters in 2006 to allow two-acre lots – instead of four acres – from Dublin Road and the Harrisville town line, and south to the intersection of Dublin Road and Route 101, and then south to the border of the mountain zone, and from the border of the mountain zone to the Jaffrey town line. The amendment would have applied to properties east of that boundary.

The board discussed the proposal, but New Hampshire state law requires all petition zoning articles to be submitted to the town, supported by 25 signatures of registered voters, by Dec. 8. Simpson confirmed Friday that Pinney’s proposed article had missed the deadline for this year.

The Planning Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed zoning amendments on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. The final vote on all articles will be held at the polls in March, and require a majority public vote to pass.

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


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