Letter: Shoehorning is the problem

Published: 9/22/2022 10:52:52 AM
Modified: 9/22/2022 10:52:14 AM

We attended the Sept. 12 Planning Board meeting with an interest in the proposed Halladay Properties plan to develop 241 Union St. Though public comment was invited, the board did not hear what the neighbors had to say. Even board members who did listen apparently feel we are most-concerned about the required 30-foot buffer.

What we actually want is not to shoehorn 34 residential units onto a three-acre lot. It is too many units, too many people, too many cars and not enough space. The project is being pushed through under the guise of “workforce housing.” That does not make it OK to force this unwarranted crowding into an established neighborhood of predominately single-family and duplex homes.

No one at the meeting spoke out against reasonable development. We all acknowledge the housing shortage. The question here is about density. Someone suggested density is “not a dirty word.” We agree. But shoehorning is.

We believe it is incumbent upon the Planning Board to help develop appropriate housing so that we all enjoy our neighborhoods. Peterborough’s master plan, in the Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zones section, refers to “an initial attempt to allow infill development which permits historically appropriate density using town water and sewer”. The proposed development is not historically appropriate density.

To put it in perspective, here are density numbers for existing development within West Peterborough and nearby Woodland Heights:

-- Heather Brook, 7.52 acres/26 units/3.46 units per acre.

-- RockBrook, 9.79/24/2.45.

-- 610 Upper Union, 4.22/four/0.95.

-- Woodland Heights, six/30/five.

-- 241 Union St. (proposed), 3.03/34/11.22

This proposed development would not be historically appropriate, and does not support the tradition of neighborhoods in West Peterborough. Beyond one project, this case is setting precedent for all of Peterborough.

Chris and Michael Justice, Nancy Reimer



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