Controversial zoning overhaul approved by Manchester Selectboard

This article by Scott Stafford originally appeared May 14 in the Manchester Journal.

MANCHESTER — The Manchester Select Board passed the proposed overhaul of the zoning ordinance by a vote of 3-1, with one abstention – after nearly two more hours of discussion in a third public hearing Tuesday night.

A third public hearing was required when the board amended the proposed ordinance to allow exemptions to the so called two-story mandate.

Wikimedia Commons/redjar

A requirement that new construction in downtown Manchester must include a second story is causing a stir among some who view the rule as bad for developers.

Tuesday’s hearing again brought concerns from several local developers who were opposed to design restrictions in parts of downtown, and maintained that it would stifle new development.

One developer contended that the two-story requirement, an effort to attract professionals to live in the downtown zone, would be financially unsustainable for the property developer and would result in more vacant spaces.

“You are going to open a Pandora’s Box,” he said.

Others we more supporting of the zoning changes.

“When we hear speculation of dire consequences, we should take a step back,” said Ed Morrow, owner of the Northshire Bookstore. He noted that people are attracted to Manchester for the quality of education, and the cultural venues.

“This is a very desirable location,” he said. “And no one’s got their hands anywhere near Pandora’s Box.”

Read full article at the Manchester Journal.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/redjar