Letter: Vote no on Peterborough zoning amendment

Published: 05-07-2024 12:05 PM

Zoning Amendment 1, which Peterborough residents vote on May 14, rescinds the Family District and rezones properties in that district to General Residence.

Family District allows single-family houses, two-family dwellings, accessory dwelling units and recreation buildings with a density of one unit to 40,000 square feet or a two-family dwelling on 50,000 square feet. If passed, Family District uses will still be permitted, but so will uses in General Residence, which include multifamily dwellings as well as many non-residential uses. The density allowed for multifamily units is four units per 40,000 square feet, about four units per acre.

Some areas zoned Family District have covenants that permit only single-family residences, such as Pineridge and the neighborhoods around Cheney Avenue. The Sand Hill Road Family District, which begins near Concord Street and extends to General Miller Road, includes homes without covenant protection. Off Old Street Road, a property of nearly 200 acres formerly known as “The Old Common” could be developed as multifamily housing. 

Other older neighborhoods lack covenant restrictions: Central Street, Oak Street, Laurel Street, Webb Road, Noone Avenue, Maple Avenue, Old Dublin Road and High Street, and face potential new multifamilies mixed with small houses.

Recent approved developments in Peterborough favor high-density multifamily buildings or large lots for high-end residences. The town needs to keep some areas reserved for freestanding, single-family housing – for those in the middle. The current Family District does that. The purpose of zoning is to allocate different areas of town for different uses, including a range of residential uses. As a longtime Peterborough resident, I want to preserve neighborhood character and diversity of housing options.

Please vote no on Zoning Amendment 1.

Heather Peterson


Heather Peterson is an associate broker with Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty.