Despite its flaws, I had initially considered supporting the Senior Housing amendment. But when I thought about what would be required to make amendment into a workable proposal, it was clear the current language is simply a bad starting point.
I have already detailed the problems with its age restrictions, location, and the poison pill. Those could be fixed.
But the Board’s focus on the Lyme Common District meant that any development was constrained to “fit into the neighborhood” and not be “too big”. Specifically:
- The footprint and floor area restrictions mean that common areas, such as dining and living rooms, libraries, space for support staff, etc. all take floor space away from the (already small) homes.
- Only 10 units are allowed, which translates to expensive units. The cost of land purchase, infrastructure (septic, water), utilities, common areas, and developer profit (yes – a developer will want to make money) must be spread across a small number of homes, increasing their price.
- The language contains other provisions that deter a developer who might want to develop senior housing.
- Despite the desire to limit the total footprint, the permitted structures (up to 12,000 sf) are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Would neighbors object to such a large building? Quite possibly. And developers avoid towns where lawsuits are likely.
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