A surprising turn of events

At their meeting last Thursday, the Planning Board decided to withdraw their Senior Housing amendment from the ballot at Town Meeting in March. Here is a link to the full video of the meeting: https://youtu.be/5E2TF9-81-M

The discussion hinged on a bill (HB 1629 – see links below) working its way through the NH legislature. The primary concern at Thursday’s meeting was that a municipality that provides incentives to age-restricted developments (such as senior housing) would also be required to make those same incentives available to workforce and other types of housing.

My understanding is that the legislature is trying to address the significant housing problem everywhere in the state by providing incentives for more clustered, dense, and thus less expensive housing for all residents of NH.

In the end, the Board voted 5-0 to withdraw the senior housing amendment for this year, and wait to learn how HB 1629 will turn out. (I could not vote, because I am still an alternate on the board.)

My thoughts…

I don’t understand this decision. The bill would not have changed the town’s ability to permit senior housing. And it’s not even certain that the bill would pass.

And if that bill is re-introduced next year – does the Board intend to wait yet another year?

But most importantly, I don’t understand the Board’s concern that, if this bill passed, it would somehow “be bad for Lyme” to make similar housing available to non-seniors.

After so many years of urging from residents, followed by two and a half years more work to produce this amendment, the board’s lack of urgency is disappointing.

Updated 6 Feb 2020 to add question about re-introduced bill in 2021…


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.

2 thoughts on “A surprising turn of events

  1. I hate to keep hitting the hammer at the same spot, but why is this surprising? The board has never wanted to address the problem of increasing our housing stock. It has always been reticent to open up Lyme to lower density housing like condo’s, cluster housing, apartments, etc. It doesn’t fit there view of what Lyme is about and should look like. It won’t change until we have a complete change in the planning board members and a new breed of select board members.

    • Thanks for the note. Whether or not the Board’s intent is to see a change to Lyme, their actions are pretty much guaranteeing that no change can be made.

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