Peterborough planning board proposes changes

  • Planning Board Chair Ivy Vann, left, and Community Development Director Peter Throop discuss zoning changes to put before the town next year in a meeting on Monday morning in the Town House. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, August 08, 2017 12:32PM

The Planning Board hopes to combine its two Traditional Neighborhood zones under a single, streamlined ordinance, if voters approve in May.

A sub-committee of the Planning Board is planning a series of public workshops, at least four between September and December, to take residents’ feedback on the zoning restrictions they would like to see applied to the town, with an aim of encouraging development that matches the Peterborough aesthetic.

All zoning amendments will have to go through a public process and ultimately be approved or denied by a ballot vote at the Town Meeting ballot session in May. 

It was only last year that the town approved the Traditional Neighborhood District II, a follow up to Traditional Neighborhood District I. The two overlay districts are similar in their requirements, and if voters accept a proposed zoning amendment, may soon be one and the same. 

Both TND districts are applicable where there is access to town water and sewer. They allow development by right of any lot that is at least 5,000 square feet with 50 feet of frontage, as long as it does not cover more than 40 percent of the lot. They specify a front-facing entrance and that the scale and spacing of the windows and doors, and the rooflines shall reflect other existing residences within 300 feet of the property in order to create a neighborhood feel.

One of the differences between the two is the TND II allows both single family and two-family residences by right, and that would carry over into the combining of the ordinances.

Community Development Director Peter Throop stated that because the Neighborhood Districts are overlay districts, it should be made clear that these zoning rules take precedence over the underlying districts. 

Planning Board chair Ivy Vann said that she would also like to see zoning requirements that create more dense development that fits the town character along some of the main thoroughfares into town, including Elm Street from Scott Farrar stretching out to Route 101, the intersection of Route 101 and 202  to Noone Falls, 202 North to the high school and West Peterborough. 

The Planning Board would like to see form-based development in those areas, said Vann, even though it will be a long-term plan to see that kind of development happen, as there is already existing development that doesn’t conform to that look.

“Everyone says that the plazas don’t look how we would necessarily want them to look,” said Vann. “But future development could.”

Thesubcommitteee intends to present their concepts to the public at a series of public workshops, the first of which has been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., in the library, with follow-up sessions also tentatively planned for Oct. 16 and Nov. 20.


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