Why I’m running for Planning Board

To the Residents of Lyme:

I have filed to become an elected member of the Planning Board. As many of you know, I have lived in Lyme for five years, been a property owner in Lyme for 14 years, and a resident of the Upper Valley for 40 years.

I believe that a lack of housing options in Lyme is the most important issue the Planning Board must address.

I have been working on housing issues for a long time, starting with my interest in developing cohousing here in Lyme. I have been going to housing conferences and workshops for many years. I have regularly attended Planning Board meetings for the last four years, and have been an Alternate for the last year.

In addition to the “normal business” of the Planning Board, these are the housing issues I want to address:

Housing for Seniors: The Planning Board recently abandoned their own amendment that might have permitted a small amount of Senior Housing in the Lyme Common District. The concern was that a pending NH bill might make similar housing to all non-seniors. That decision is disappointing because it comes after years of Aging in Place meetings, followed by two and a half years of work on senior housing language.

Housing for people who want to downsize: It is extremely difficult for long-term residents to downsize in Lyme. I believe the ordinance makes it difficult to build smaller, modestly-priced homes so those people must think about moving away.

Housing strategy: The Lyme Master Plan is unusual in NH. It does not have a chapter on Housing, despite the Board’s stated intention to work on it for the last two years.

Housing for people in the workforce: NH Law requires that towns with a zoning ordinance (like Lyme) “provide reasonable and realistic opportunities for the development of workforce housing…” Our ordinance is so restrictive that building workforce housing is impractical. Lyme is at serious risk of having to defend (and likely lose) a workforce housing lawsuit.

Housing that adjusts to Lyme’s needs: Best practices in planning circles are to review zoning rules regularly in the face of a town’s changing needs. The Lyme Ordinance has not had any real change since it was instituted over thirty years ago.

The Town must talk about and permit reasonable housing options to be built. I will bring my knowledge and energy to address this pressing issue.

Finally, I will welcome everyone’s thoughts, either via email, phone, face-to-face, or at scheduled Planning Board meetings.

Join me, and let’s work together to institute real change for housing options in Lyme. Please vote for me on the ballot in March. Thank you.

Rich Brown

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 richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.