Lyme now has a choice

At their last meeting, the Planning Board continued to add restrictions to the draft Senior Housing amendment. The newest addition – making covered parking a legal requirement for senior housing – removes another bit of flexibility from a developer who might consider such a development.

Fortunately, Lyme now has an alternative. Lyme residents Rusty Keith and Peter Beaupre drafted language and collected sufficient signatures for an amendment to the ordinance that would permit senior and other types of housing. (I support this amendment.)

Briefly, the amendment would permit Planned Developments on any property that abuts Route 10 in the Rural District. “Planned Developments” are already defined in the Ordinance as “a mix of residential and institutional or business uses” on a single lot, as long as 15% of the floor area is reserved for residential use.

The important changes are that Planned Developments could be 100% residential use and that they would be permitted in a new part of town – along Route 10. The other changes take away the strict requirement for easements and remove restrictions on the types of business that would be allowed. This opens the way for many kinds of housing (including senior and workforce housing) as well as a variety of small business options.

As preparation for the vote at Town Meeting next March, the Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing for both the Senior Housing amendment and this petitioned Planned Development amendment on Thursday, 9 January 2020 at 7:00pm.


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Planned Development Amendment

(Can’t read the PDF above? Download it at
https://RandomNeuronsFiring.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Planned-Development-Changes-March2020.pdf
)

Senior Housing Meeting Continued

At the previous (25Nov2019) work session, the Planning Board began to come to terms with how difficult it is to design senior housing. (Link to the video…)

They spent the session setting criteria for a senior housing project: it could only be in the Lyme Common District, only 10 units, each must be less than 1,200 square feet, the total project may have only 12,000 square feet of gross floor area. They then began adding other restrictions regarding age and number of residents, whether units must be handicap-accessible, and construction techniques that would not be permitted.

Having made those decisions about what “senior housing must look like”, the Board hopes to attract a potential developer who will try to build reasonably-priced, marketable units with attractive amenities (common spaces, garages) within those constraints.

Or maybe not. It’s far simpler (and cheaper) for a developer to build in a town that doesn’t have such restrictive design parameters and rules.

Nonetheless, the Planning Board will meet again on Monday, 2 December at 7pm to continue to try to improve the current language to withstand legal scrutiny and meet their notion of what might be attractive senior housing.


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.