Mixed responses in Temple housing survey

  • The Temple Village Green Committee beautifies Temple's public green spaces. Sept. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/18/2020 5:07:42 PM

The Temple Planning Board discussed results of a fall survey that gauged resident perspectives on housing issues at the board meeting Tuesday evening. The survey asked residents about their attitudes towards different housing initiatives the town could adopt such as accessory dwelling units and agrihoods, as well as how they use their own properties.

The Board received 173 responses out of 605 distributed, Planning Board member Christine Robidoux said, a return rate of 29 percent. Many residents were interested in learning more about different policies and their effects, and placed a high value on dirt roads and walking trails, she said. Initiatives dealing with usable outdoor space for the community seemed to be particularly important to respondents, she said.

In many other areas, there were substantial differences in residents’ attitudes. Board member Nicole Concordia pointed out that, although there was a strong consensus that Temple’s “rural character” necessarily included open space, farms, conservation areas, and recreation opportunities, there were roughly equal numbers of people who believed it relied on large, single-house residential lots all over town as those who believed in smaller housing lots surrounded by natural or agricultural land.

“It’s hard to know what to do with that,” Robidoux said. Almost every concept introduced returned thoroughly mixed responses of residents supporting, not supporting, or needing more information. Some responders wrote at length to oppose increasing housing in town. “The last thing any committed introvert wants is to talk with his neighbors. We have a beautiful little gem of a town here. Let’s not screw it up,” one wrote.

The Planning Board agreed to continue working to make sense of residents’ interests in different kinds of housing and to engage the community throughout the process. Members specifically suggested holding an educational session on what landowners currently can and can’t do with Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, and updating the town’s Open Space Plan and Natural Resource Inventory.

The survey results will be posted on the town website by the end of the week, Robidoux said on Wednesday morning.


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