Someone finally said it out loud…

After Rusty Keith’s thoughtful presentation at Little Town Meeting about Article 2 (the Planned Development amendment), another member of the public said,

… this would be the town’s worst nightmare. It would allow apartment development everywhere…

Really? Could someone state clearly why apartments would be bad for Lyme?

Professional planning experts now encourage a variety of housing options in a town. Single family homes remain important, but so is the ability to construct smaller units that are close together, for social interaction, for mutual support, for convenience, and to improve the tax base. Some thoughts:

  • The Planning Board just spent the last four months of 2019 working to specify the look of senior apartments
  • People who want to downsize (who are not always elderly) want smaller units (apartments) where someone will mow the lawn and shovel the walkway.
  • Young people: unless we want our town boards and committees, fire department, FAST squad, etc. to be populated by septuagenarians, we need to attract younger people. Singles and new couples value small, clustered homes, often called apartments.
  • People in the “work force” – teachers, nurses, first responders – all have good jobs. Can they afford to live in town with our median $400,000 home? Apartments could help.
  • Families. Yes, families. Despite the scare tactics, actual facts indicate that in both NH and Lyme’s experience, single-family homes have 0.4 school-age children per home (about one child for every two homes). Apartments with five or more units average under one child per six homes – a far lower burden on the school system.
  • Improved tax base. Six $250,000 apartments on a 10 acre lot contribute $1.5 million to the grand list, almost four times a $400,000 home.
  • Finally, the existing stringent Site Plan Review regulations – still required by Article 2 – would keep any apartments well in the check.

With all these positives, I am curious to hear how apartments would contribute to “Lyme’s worst nightmare”.

Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public body, such as the Lyme Planning Board, Budget Committee, or Trustees of the Trust Funds where I volunteer. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at

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