Peterborough zoning amendments vote creates avenue for in-patient facilities

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/16/2019 11:43:13 AM
Modified: 5/16/2019 11:43:03 AM

Two freshly passed zoning articles have outlined where in town in-patient and out-patient drug and alcohol treatment centers are allowed.

The issue arose last year, when a 64-bed drug and alcohol detoxification center was proposed to be built in the village commercial district. The town’s zoning code didn’t specifically address the use, and the center’s developers applied for a variance for the use, which was granted. 

The facility is expected to be built this year, and will have 32 beds for medical detoxification treatment, and 32 beds for residents who have finished detoxification and are transitioning to a new phase of recovery. 

At the time, health care facilities were not allowed in the village commercial district, although certain health care uses were allowed in other commercial parts of town. It also became clear that drug and alcohol clinics did not perfectly fit any of the health care uses already defined in the ordinance.

This year, the Planning Board supported two amendments making it clear what such developments are and they should go.

“We realized we didn’t have a definition for that, and didn’t have a place for that use to go. That’s what those are for, to make clear where those things can happen,” Planning Board Vice-Chair Ivy Vann said Wednesday.

Zoning amendment 4, which passed 1,013-400, allows residential, or in-patient, drug and alcohol treatment facilities in the village commercial district, the Monadnock community health care district and the downtown commercial district.

Out-patient facilities were addressed in Zoning Amendment 5, which specifies they are only allowed in the Monadnock community health care district. Amendment 5 also passed by a large margin, though it was closer than the amendment addressing in-patient facilities, with a vote of 964-436.

“We’re very specific about where those areas are, and those decisions were made in conjunction with the chief of police about where those places ought to be,” Vann said.

Amendments this year also addressed other uses and where they are allowed. 

Zoning Amendment 6, which was approved 964-436, now allows churches and religious institutions in the general residence district as a permitted use. Previously, they would have had to apply for a special exception for those districts.

Amendment 10, approved 985-412, clarifies that workforce multi-family housing is allowed in all districts that allow multi-family housing. It also creates a specific time frame – 25 years – the housing must remain affordable.


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


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