New zoning means smart development

Friday, May 11, 2018 12:36PM
New zoning means smart development

To the editor:

Hat’s off to the Peterborough Planning Board for its members’ collective yeoman’s effort to simplify the Peterborough Zoning Ordinance and bring it into the 21st century.

I’ve lived in the Monadnock region and practiced law, including a substantial amount of land use law, in New Hampshire for over 30 years. I was a member of the Peterborough Zoning Board of Adjustment and also its chair in the 90’s. The current zoning ordinance contains numerous inconsistencies and omissions. The current zoning map splits numerous lots into two zones, which has caused a great deal of confusion over the years.

The zoning and planning process can be difficult and expensive to navigate. The Planning Office does a terrific job under the circumstances. New zoning will ease this process and facilitate smart and sensible development. Fear of overdeveloped, excessive in-fill growth will be kept in check by market and financial constraints.

When Peter Ryner was planning director, there was a map in his office that color coded property in town that was under conservation easement or classified as open space under current use. This map showed that the amount of developable land in town is highly limited. Affordable housing is a serious concern and poses a barrier to entry for young people looking to establish themselves in town. The new form based code of zoning will not only ease the development process, but will also allow for more affordable housing, which will attract younger people, facilitate smart grown, and contribute to the vibrancy of this special place.

Jim Callahan