[07/19/16] Sachem Village Area meeting on proposed Mixed-Use Zoning District Amendment

posted Jul 19, 2016, 10:06 AM by Kelly Crate   [ updated Oct 17, 2016, 11:35 AM by Lebanon NH ]
The Lebanon Planning & Zoning Department is having a public neighborhood meeting on July 28, 2016 to consider the creation of a new mixed-use zoning district for the Route 10 North / Sachem Village area. The meeting will be held at 6:30 PM at the Wellspring Worship Center located at 407 North Main Street.

The Planning & Zoning Department is undertaking this community planning effort as part of its ongoing charge to implement the City’s Master Plan, which was updated in March 2012 based on consensus reached through extensive public participation. In Chapter 2 (Land Use) of the Master Plan, Section 2|D-2h describes the “Route 10 North – Sachem Village” land use planning area as follows:

“Citizen input conveyed that this area should continue to function as a mixed-use neighborhood with an emphasis towards maintaining a residential neighborhood with small-scale non-residential uses that primarily support or blend within the neighborhood.”

The Future Land Use Map, which provides graphic guidance for implementing the text of the Master Plan, depicts the Route 10 North / Sachem Village neighborhood as one of several areas in the City that may be appropriate for ‘mixed use’. The Master Plan further clarifies that ‘mixed use’ is intended to mean “areas for compatible nonresidential and residential facilities or developments. This includes developments of various sizes and uses depending on the surrounding neighborhood characteristics.”

Although the current zoning in the Route 10 North / Sachem Village area is primarily Residential Three (R-3) and Rural Lands Three (RL-3), the existing development in the area includes a mix of commercial, institutional, and residential uses. Existing uses such as the Wheeler Professional Park, Hanover Veterinary Clinic, A.B. Gile Insurance Agency, and Pinewood Village Condominiums are all considered pre-existing, non-conforming uses under the current R-3 regulations, which primarily allows single family residences. There are also several vacant or underutilized parcels within the study area that could potentially be developed or redeveloped in the future.

The RL-3 zone, on the other hand, is the City’s lowest density district, which is typically associated with areas of steep slopes, wetlands, high water-table, or poor highway access to the rest of the community. Generally speaking, these are conditions which do not exist within the study area.

The proposed mixed-use zoning district also builds upon prior planning efforts for the Route 10 North / Sachem Village neighborhood. In recent years, the City’s Planning staff has hosted a series of ‘walkabout’ tours of various areas of the City as part of a neighborhood-based planning program. The Sachem Village ‘walkabout’ was held in August 2013 and was followed by a discussion and visual preference survey. Although they were based on a limited number of responses, the results of that survey exercise (which will be available at the upcoming meeting) helped staff to understand what some residents feel “mixed use” might mean for this area.

The purpose of the July 28th meeting is to answer questions and receive feedback about the proposed new zoning district. We need to know what we got right and what we got wrong in order to create a final set of regulations that best implement the Master Plan and your vision of the Route 10 North / Sachem Village neighborhood.

Depending on the feedback received, the Planning & Zoning Department hopes to present the proposed new district regulations and zoning map to the Planning Board for review in August and to the City Council for their consideration in September. If the City Council elects to proceed, the zoning amendment procedures would be followed during the fall and winter and the final amendments would be placed on the annual ballot for voter approval in March 2017. If you are unable to attend the July 28th meeting but have comments, concerns, or questions about the proposed regulations, please feel free to call, e-mail, or meet with me in person to discuss. I can be reached by phone at 603-448-1457, by e-mail at david.brooks@lebcity.com, or in City Hall at 51 North Park Street.

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