Litchfield Planning Board Proposes Three Zoning Amendments

January 23, 2015
 

submitted by Litchfield Planning Board

The Town of Litchfield Planning Board is putting forth three warrant articles to be voted on at the 2015 town meeting.  Voters will recognize the first article, the proposed Multi-Family Overlay District.  This new overlay district has again been put forth to ensure the town is in compliance with state law, which requires multi-family residential construction be allowed.  Without such an ordinance the town risks being challenged by a developer.

“It is important that Litchfield include multi-family homes as a permitted use in its ordinance in order to control development,” said Board Chairman Mike Caprioglio.  The proposed district would permit multi-family homes in the northern and southern ends of town and requires a minimum of two acres of land.  Multi-family structures would be required to be designed consistent with the town’s single family character and limited to six units per building.  The board is hopeful that voters will support the its efforts to ensure the town’s land use ordinances are compliant with state law and ensure diverse housing choices for future generations.

The second article, a re-written Impact Fee Ordinance, is the culmination of a couple years’ work to review and update both the impact fee ordinance and fee schedules.  The board is proposing a complete overhaul of both to clarify and modernize the process.  The two separate impact fee ordinances (Sections 1300 and 1400) that exist today are proposed to be replaced with a single ordinance that consolidates both sets of provisions, reorganizes content to clarify the process, and updates select provisions to meet current practices and standards.

The final proposal by the board is a minor amendment to the town’s Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance (Section 507 of the Zoning Ordinance) that was originally adopted in 2012.  Since that time, as part of the building permit application review process, it has become apparent that the maximum of 650 square feet for an accessory unit is not always adequate – particularly in instances where a handicap-accessible design is needed or there may be two people living in the unit.  The proposed amendment seeks to increase the maximum size of such units from 650 to 800 square feet.

The planning board would like to extend an invitation to Litchfield residents to attend board meetings the first and third Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., at the town offices.  Volunteers and new members are always welcome.  Contact Joan McKibben for more information at planning@litchfieldnh.gov or 424-2131.

More information can be found online at http://litchfieldnh.gov/lpb.