Statement for Senior Housing Public Hearing-14Jan2021

I read the following statement at today’s Planning Board’s Public Hearing on the Senior Housing amendment.

I thank the Board for their two years of work on the article to permit increased density for Senior Housing. My biggest concern about the current proposal, as written, is that no Senior Housing will actually get built as a result of passing this article.

First: Senior Housing would only be allowed in the most expensive land in town. The increased density is not sufficient to encourage a developer to make the necessary investment in purchasing the land, getting approvals, and building the units. This area is also heavily built-up: new housing would likely come at the expense of existing homes. Solution: Permit Senior Housing in other parts of town.

Second: Limiting all residents to be 62 years or older unduly precludes many common living arrangements for seniors (for example, one spouse older than 62, the other younger, or an adult child moving in to help a parent). Solution: Adopt the federal HOPA (Housing for Older Persons Act) standard that requires at least one household member to be 55 years or older.

Third: This proposal contains language (a “poison pill”) that nullifies the Senior Housing article if the State of NH passes a law that requires the same increased density for non-seniors. I don’t understand why we should jettison Senior Housing if the state requires us to support increased density for people of all ages. Solution: Drop the poison pill.

This meeting is the last moment for public input before the language becomes final for the vote at Town Meeting. I encourage the Board to incorporate this feedback into the final wording of the article. Thank you.


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 body, such as the Lyme Planning Board where I am an alternate member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

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