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Peterborough petition article seeks to re-zone Laurel Street lot

  • David Despres of Scott Street speaks against re-zoning a lot on Laurel Street during a public hearing on the proposed zoning amendments Peterborough will vote on in May. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • David Despres of Scott Street speaks against re-zoning a lot on Laurel Street during a public hearing on the proposed zoning amendments Peterborough will vote on in May. Staff photo by Ashley Saari



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 3:7PM

A petition article to re-zone a lot on Laurel Street in Peterborough received push-back from neighbors during a public hearing on Monday.

The article would re-zone a 1.48-acre lot at 10 Laurel Street from the family district to the general residence district.

A portion of the lot is adjacent to the general residence district to the east.

If re-zoned, the hope is to extend water and sewer lines to the property and develop six condominium units for elderly affordable housing, said Beth Cote. If the lot is not re-zoned, currently, about half of that could be built on the property under current zoning rules.

Peterborough residents Beth Cote and her husband Ray Cote submitted the petition to rezone the lot. They are not the current owners of the lot but said they are interested in purchasing it for development if it is re-zoned. Owner John Kaufhold was present at Monday’s hearing and told the Planning Board he is supportive of the plan and re-zoning.

During the public hearing on the zoning amendment Monday, Planning Board Chair Bob Holt said the discussion was not to be centered around any potential project that may or may not come to fruition, but to the re-zoning itself.

David Despres, of nearby Scott Street, said he wasn’t in favor of allowing any more density in the neighborhood.

“Laurel Street hardly handles the traffic it has now,” he said.

He added that allowing a zoning change of a specific parcel to better favor a development project could be a “slippery slope.”

Sam Blair, who lives on Laurel Street and co-owns an abutting property, said he is in favor of the amendment.

“I don’t like change, probably more than anyone else does,” he said. “But we talk so much about affordable housing in this town, and if I’m not willing to have it in my backyard, I guess I’d be a hypocrite.”

“The town has been interested in in-fill, you hear that term a lot,” Ray Cote said. “This is in-fill.”

Sharon Monohan of Peterborough asked if sewer lines are extended down the street if all residents would be required to hook into it.

Community Development Director Peter Throop said if the house is within 100 feet of the roadway, houses must be connected. Residents can apply for an exemption, but when their septic system eventually needs to be replaced, they would be re quired to hook into the wastewater system at that time.

The Planning Board was reluctant to take a position on the article.

“This is a tough one. I could make a case either way,” Planning Board Vice Chair Ivy Vann said.

Though by law, zoning articles must include the Planning Board’s stance on the issue, the board decided to take a vote to neither recommend nor not recommend the article, and have their neutral position included on the town’s warrant.

Zoning articles are voted on at the ballot. Voting in Peterborough will be held on May 14 at 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Peterborough Community Center.