Changes proposed to Jaffrey’s mountain zone

  • Mount Monadnock has been accumulating snow as of late. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • 2018 Jaffrey zoning map Courtesy image—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/10/2019 3:18:52 PM

Jaffrey’s Planning Board is looking to create more flexible development opportunities in the town’s mountain zone.

The board plans to hold a public hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the town office building to discuss proposed changes to the town’s zoning ordinances, which includes changes to the mountain zone – the land surrounding Mount Monadnock.

“We are trying not to streamline the process, but make it more clear,” Planning & Economic Development Director Jo Anne Carr said Wednesday afternoon. “We are hoping that we see more development.”

Carr said proposed changes to the mountain zone coincide with changes that have been made to the town’s master plan over the past couple of years.

Proposed changes would allow the following businesses with a special exception: nursery schools, day cares, home-based businesses, smaller retail shops and restaurants, hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts.

Changes also allow for duplexes or two family homes in open space development plans, the conversion of a single family home to a multi-family home by special exception, a 20 percent density bonus if 50 percent of the parcel is preserved beyond the exclusion of wetlands and steep slopes. Sixty foot setbacks also would be eliminated, under the proposed changes.

The proposed changes would allow for more flexibility in housing options in the area, and would allow for buildings on the same parcel to be placed closer together – reducing the impact on the land, Carr said.

“It’s in the mountain zone after all, that’s our greatest asset,” Carr said. “We are interested in protecting the view of the mountain and from the mountain.”

There are no proposed map changes to the area of the mountain zone.

The hope for the mountain zone, Carr said, is to create more flexible housing options without brining in large apartment complexes and to create more recreational and tourism-based development in the area.

“The focus isn’t to be creating additional workforce housing options,” Carr said. “We have plenty areas zoned for higher density development.”

Despite an increase in opportunities, some residents in town are concerned that allowing for such opportunities could pose a danger to the natural beauty and resources of the mountain.

“I think it contradicts the whole purpose of the mountain zone,” resident Ken Campbell said. “… if you start a lot of commercial activity in the mountain zone, you will have an impact on the environment.”

Campbell said he understands the need for more development in town – especially with the Park Theatre project starting construction – but objects to any such development occurring near the mountain.

“It shouldn’t be taking place in the mountain zone, but in the non-rural part of town where there is a general market for things,” Campbell said.

Jack Minteer, who lives in the mountain zone on Route 124, said his concern is that the proposed changes could impact the zones rural character and ground water.

“If you take the open space and do open space development plans where you congest houses together, it no longer has the rural character that people want to see when they come to Mount Monadnock,” Minteer said.

Minteer said he is in favor of allowing for allowing select businesses in the area, but isn’t in favor of developing lots of two family homes.

“There’s a lot of land in Jaffrey, I can’t see why you would want to compromise the asset of Mount Monadnock,” Minteer said.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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