Senior Housing on the Agenda – 10 Sep 2020

I sent the following request to John Stadler and David Robbins, asking to incorporate these topics into the Senior Housing discussion when the Planning Board meets on Thursday, 10 September 2020 at 7:00pm. You can join by Zoom using this link:

John, David,

The Senior Housing amendment is on the agenda for the Planning Board meeting of 10 September 2020. Since I have not seen a list of the issues we might entertain, I submit the following to help frame Thursday’s meeting.

Would you please distribute this note in its entirety to the members of the Planning Board to review before the discussion.

I would also request that you distribute this note through the Town Notification email system so that the members of the public may be informed that the topic will be on the table. Thank you.

Rich Brown
Alternate, Planning Board

Points for discussion regarding Senior Housing amendment
Lyme Planning Board Meeting – 10 September 2020

1) I request the Board discuss allowing Senior Housing elsewhere in town.

I remember an argument for “walkability” last year, presumably to the services on the Lyme Common. However a significant portion of the permitted district – Orford Road, High Street, and Dorchester Road – is eminently un-walkable. Residents of Senior Housing built there would all have to drive to town.

I advocate that Senior Housing be permitted on any state highway or major town road. This would allow people to build farther from town, yet ensure safe and adequate vehicular access.

2) I request the Board discuss the age requirements for Senior Housing.

I remember a comment, “55 is too young for me” from discussions last year. Why it would be bad for Lyme to have senior housing occupied by 55 year olds? I would also like to understand why this proposal limits units to a maximum of two residents, prohibiting a live-in family member or health aide.

I advocate we adopt the rules of the federal Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) that defines senior housing as “at least 80 percent of the occupied units must be occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit…”  This would shorten the proposed amendment by incorporating those well-defined rules with a single sentence.

3) I request the Board discuss the restrictions on unit size for Senior Housing.

The proposed amendment limits units to no more than 1,200 square feet. This arbitrary constraint eliminates a lot of possible designs. For example, the well regarded and recently approved development on the Common could NOT have been built under this ordinance.

I advocate that the design of Senior Housing units be left to the creativity of local developers to create units that are attractive, marketable, and meet the other regulations of the ordinance.

I look forward to speaking to you on Thursday night.

Rich Brown