My friends, the Soucys, recommended that I contact Girard at Large with this important issue.
Goffstown will be voting on March 10th. The following was written to explain the purpose of Warrant Article 5.
On March 10th we have a petitioned warrant article (#5) on the Goffstown town ballot that is designed to protect the character of our existing Pinardville and Village neighborhoods!
Presently any lot in the Zone R-1 over 3/4 acre or in Zone R-2 over 3/8 acre (yes 0.325 acre!) could receive a special exception for a 3-unit multifamily development. The only place this is allowed is where there is town sewer & water- which means some of the Village and just about ALL of Pinardville! The allowed density is 8 units per acre in R-2 (Pinardville), which means if a couple of your neighbors sell together and they have an acre total you could see an 8-unit apartment building spring up in your neighborhood. Worse still if you have a single neighbor sitting on a 2 acre property you may find yourself with 16 new 3-bedroom apartments over your hedge.
What we are proposing is a minimum lot size of 3 acres for multifamily development. That does mean more units would be allowed but a larger lot size allows for proper fire access (perhaps a loop road) and for clustering of buildings, allowing for more buffer (including simply greater distance) around the property to neighboring single family homes and the opportunity for more usuable space on property for overflow parking and residents’ use. Take a ride to the end of Larch Street and look at the Crosswinds condos- those sit on about 3.5 acres. It’s almost a neighborhood in itself. Larger developments also bring more experienced builders and site companies- the smaller lots that could be developed as the ordinance is now might be fly-by-night builders and have little to no site design considerations.
In their deliberations at the public hearing the Planning Board did not support this change by a 4-1 vote (interesting to note that none of the voting members live in the affected areas) but did mention that this is an issue that needs to be discussed at some point in the future. Unfortunately we believe that any discussion will lead to little to no action to protect our existing single-family neighborhoods. Also any action will be slow in coming and probably too late.
We are not talking about nameless developers coming in to destroy the character of Pinardville but our own resident (and ZBA member) Alan Yeaton told the Planning Board at the public hearing that he put an offer on a property on Desaulnier Street. He intends to build multifamily housing. Meanwhile his contemporaries are the ones who crafted our zoning ordinance and Master Plan to ensure that this type of development can never happen in their neighborhoods. Why is it that all residents aren’t protected equally?
One of the worst parts of the situation is that multifamily can be constructed with a special exception which has NO requirement that the new development not devalue the surrounding properties- it just has to “fit”. The current criteria is too loose to stop people from eventually ramming apartments into small lots in single-family neighborhoods.
If you know me and my family you know we aren’t the types to ask for anything and rarely “call in favors.” This time we are. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE invite everyone you know who lives in Goffstown to vote Yes on Article 5. Encourage your friends to become registered voters if they haven’t already. Tell anyone who has questions to message me, Jeffrey Tate, and I will get back to them with my phone number to answer ANYTHING about this.”
Please vote yes on town warrant article #5 on March 10, 2015 to help preserve our neighborhoods. Please share this with everyone you know in Goffstown.
Robin Tyrrell Maloney