By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
SANBORNTON — An amendment to the zoning ordinance providing for the development of housing restricted to senior citizens carried by the thin margin of 10 votes, with 237 in favor and 227 against.
The vote is the latest chapter in a saga stretching over more than a decade. In 2005, after two proposed senior housing projects foundered, voters repealed the ordinance permitting them on the recommendation of the Planning Board and in 2013 scuttled a petitioned warrant article to convene a committee to draft a new senior housing ordinance. This year the Planning Board, chaired by Evelyn Auger, proposed restoring the opportunity to construct senior housing to the zoning ordinance.
As adopted, the ordinance would restrict the occupancy of family units to households headed by a person at least 62 years old. Senior housing projects would be confined to within a 3-mile radius of the intersection of Sanborn Road (NH Route 132) and Currier Road. Within a 2-mile radius, three buildings, each with four dwelling units of not more than two bedrooms, would be permitted per acre. Between the 2-mile radius and the 3-mile radius, one building of four dwelling units would be permitted per acre. A lot of at least 5 acres would be required for a senior housing project. Senior housing would be prohibited elsewhere in the town and the number of dwelling units for seniors would be limited to not more than 10 percent of the total number of dwelling units in the town.
The ordinance stipulates that the design of senior housing developments must "promote the rural character of the town, maximize the privacy of the dwelling units, preserve the natural character of the land to the greatest degree, and consider factors such as orientation, energy usage and views."
In recommending the proposal the Planning Board noted that the Master Plan states that "the primary unmet housing need which currently exists in Sanbornton is the need for senior housing."
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