New Village presents proposal

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/14/2016 6:00:11 PM

At long last, the New Villages Steering Committee presented its proposed zoning changes to the Peterborough Planning Board at its meeting Monday, Dec. 12, night.

The committee’s goal is to present a warrant article for town meeting vote to allow for more diverse housing development in Peterborough. It hopes this will bring more young people and wage workers to town who would not be able to afford the large houses and large lots allowed by current regulations.

“We have spent a lot of time trying to increase opportunities for types and styles of housing available in Peterborough,” Carol Ogilvie said. Ogilvie is on the steering committee and was the Director of Community Development in Peterborough for over 10 years.

There were four public engagement sessions was strong turnout and local business leaders have been part of the committee, so leaders feel they have a good idea of what residents want.

One such business leader is builder Jack Belletete, who said, “We used to have some growth, we need to have some growth in the Monadnock Region, but there’s been nothing going on in new construction basically for 10 years.”

He said he has “never seen a lull like this.” In 2005, 44 news houses were built in Peterborough. In 2015, there were three.

Residents in attendance and members of the board had concerns about overbuilding, traffic and effects on existing property values.

Ogilvie emphasized what she thinks is the key point of the issue, that there might be gradual negative consequences, but they will not know until they try, and that it focuses on long-term, not immediate expansion.

“Realistically, development wouldn’t happen if the market isn’t there,” she said, specifically addressing overbuilding concerns. “But we know exactly what we’re going to get if we don’t change anything.”

The second public meeting will be at a Planning Board meeting in January.

Ogilvie said, “This is our first public hearing so all of this is subject to discussion.”

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