“Agrihood” proposal discussed for Peterborough's stone barn property 

  • Architect Katie Sutherland discusses plans for the development of the stone barn property on Old Street Road during a Planning Board meeting on Monday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 4:24PM

The newest plan for developing the stone barn on Old Street Road includes 32 living units, cafe, and a working farm.

During a conceptual consultation with the Planning Board on Monday, Amelia Tracey outlined her plans for developing the property at 63 Old Street Road, to make it an “agrihood” that would create a community where people lived side-by-side with a grower that would cultivate the land.

The stone barn was built by Elizabeth Cheney Kaufmann in 1910, and was first used as a cow and horse barn, though it’s not been in use since the 1940s. Since that time, there have been several proposals for turning the building and the surrounding property into a condominium complex, starting as early as 1986, when a plan was approved to put 22 living units into the renovated barn, explained Phil Runyon, the lawyer representing Village at the Stone Barn llc.

“It’s been approved several times since then for condo apartment units, but none have come to fruition,” Runyon said.

This new proposal, Runyon said, is the newest iteration of past plans.

Tracey, who is the main driver behind the agrihood concept for the property, explained to the Planning Board that the stone barn would be renovated to accommodate 14 living units and cafe. An el would be constructed off the back of the barn that would include a further three units, and there would be a further 13 units – split between three buildings – built on the property. There would also be three carports, one a two-story garage, built on the property.

The units would be between 600 and 1,400 square feet, and cost between $200,00 and $400,000, Tracey said, and while the development is expected to attract mostly older residents, it will not be age or income restricted.

The majority of the back of the property would a farm. One of the units would be reserved for a resident farmer, who would work the land.

Tracey said she has already begun a national search for a farmer who is interested in managing the land and cafe, and has received interest, but added that final discussions on who might fill that position won’t be taken up until the end of August.

Though only a preliminary discussion, the Planning Board allowed public comment from several residents of Old Street Road who attended the hearing. Many of them said they were concerned about the impact that such a dense development with a public eating place could have on a road that already has traffic problems.

“I think it’s a great proposal, I’m all in favor, I’m only concerned about the traffic,” said Dave Delworth, who resides at 68 Old Street Road. “Thirty-two [condo units] is pushing what that road and that entrance can handle.”

Janet Shea, whose property neighbors the stone barn, said that despite tree cover, she had no doubt that the new construction would be visible from her property, and was concerned about the impact the additional activity would have on her own property.

“It’s like an amphitheater back there. If people are talking in the back of the barn, I can hear it, believe it or not,” Shea said.

She also questioned whether a cafe was allowed in the family district. The Planning Board said it was allowed under the Traditional Neighborhood overlay district – if the development was willing to put in a sewer line down Old Street Road, as access to town sewer and water are a requirement of that district.

The conceptual consultation is merely a meeting to allow the Planning Board to discuss potential issues of a project with a developer prior to a formal application. The proposal presented during Monday’s meeting, and the feedback from the board are not binding.

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