Zoning Ordinance Audit is Planned for Near Future

The Planning Board had a brief discussion of the zoning ordinance and whether changes in wording should take place.
A zoning audit will be taking place to review the ordinance.
“The idea of a zoning audit wasn’t to go in and just change things, which would be silly, but to look at what you have and ask the question, does this make sense here or would something else make sense more so in that area, and to try and reconcile any differences to see if there’s not an opportunity to rezone in a way that’s maximally productive for the town,” board member Leitha Reilly said.

Board Chairman Arthur Rugg said they needed to look at what they wanted to do for the future.
“There was some concern when we were on the master plan that we were just going to go around and code everything and that wasn’t the idea at all. There were areas within five targeted areas where that was one option but we tried to allay those fears,” Reilly said.
Comprehensive Planner Jon Vogl said they had asked Arnett Development Group), the town’s development consultant, to look at the town’s two PODs – Performance Overlay Districts – one on Route 28 and another on Route 102, as part of the audit.
“PODs are designed to be temporary,” Rugg said. “There was a lot of growth at the time and we put in the POD to give us a different way of planning on Route 102 and the same for Route 28.”
Vogl said they would ask the Arnett Group if PODs remain relevant.
The section of the Zoning Ordinance relative to Overlay Districts and the Route 102 Corridor Performance Overlay District notes that under RSA 674:21, “innovative land use controls,” the Planning Board has the statutory authority “to provide intensity and use incentives, impact zoning, performance standards, and the ability for the Planning Board to grant conditional use permits. The Planning Board is solely responsible for the interpretation and administration of the Overlay District ordinance, including the granting of all conditional use permits.”
Board member Chris Davies asked the status of the audit, and Vogl said that they wanted to keep the study in house using Arnett Development Group. “We don’t have any scope or contract written, but we’re ready to put that together,” he said.
“Is it something that will come back to the board?” Davies asked.
“That is something that I would have no trouble bringing back to the board,” Vogl said.
Board member Maria Newman asked the timeframe, and Vogl said it would be about six months.

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