With regard to the “Concord Next” Kick Off meeting next week, here is a quick summary and details of the project:
The City has hired planning consultants to complete a form based code update to the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Code Studio, from Austin , Texas, will be visiting Concord next week to conduct stakeholder interviews, tour the City for field work, and hold the Public Kick Off Meeting. The kick off meeting will explain the process, present the project timeline, and answer questions.
The Public Kick Off Meeting is on Wednesday, February 7th from 6-8 pm in Council Chambers. All are welcome to come and participate.
The revised ordinance is intended to guide development with a “character-based” approach to zoning regulation, similar to the recommendations of the Penacook Vision Plan, but for a larger area of the City. The project is intended to be completed over two years. The first year will focus on transitioning to character based districts for the downtown commercial and residential neighborhoods of Concord and Penacook, along with the reorganization of the existing code into a character based zoning format.
With regard to Penacook, this process is intended to build on the work that occurred previously during the Penacook Vision Plan meetings. The Vision Plan was actually sent to the consultants as part of the reference material for this project, and will be very helpful for them moving forward with the coding for Penacook. The last time I met with the Penacook Village Association, I was working on some revisions to the recommendations to more accurately reflect the desires of the community, and I indicated that I would return with those revisions. This is still the case. Those revisions will be folded into this process and be presented to the community when the consultants get to that point.
The second year of the zoning update will focus on creating a new vision and codes for the commercial corridors (e.g. Loudon and Fisherville), transitional areas, and performance districts. The project overall will be focused on commercial and residential districts within the Urban Growth Boundary.
Macro level information to provide context to the annual budget brought to voters for their approval
Each year in developing our budget, the Merrimack Valley School District asks for your support in our mission of “Ensuring that ALL students are provided with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to prepare them for college, career, and citizenship.” This is an extraordinarily lofty and challenging mission and our focus is on our students. We strive to spark a passion in and engage all of our unique learners. With that in mind, we also endeavor to be conscientious and conservative in our budget development. We take our charge as stewards of taxpayer’s money very seriously. Although our overall budget has not increased significantly in the past 4-years, school districts, towns, and cities in NH are all facing decreasing revenues that typically help offset certain expenses and provide financial support in our budgets.
The Merrimack Valley School Districts uses the following calculation to divide educational costs out to our MV communities:
Total Approved Budget (inclusive of all warrant articles) - Revenues = District Assessment
The District Assessment is then allocated (apportioned) to each town based on the number of resident students (ADMA - or Average Daily Membership in Attendance). 98.6% of the Assessment is distributed in that fashion. Approximately 1.4% of the District’s expenses are currently classified as “capital outlays.” These expenses are disbursed to the towns based on the equalized valuation of each community (estimated true and market value of all taxable property in a municipality). From these amounts, the local education portion of tax bills are set.
Over the past 4-years, the increase to the MVSD budget is a total of 1.89%. However, in that same period revenues (from the state and federal levels) have decreased by a total of 10.12%. Resultingly, the District Assessment has increased by 13.18% in this timeframe. The equalized assessed valuation of each town serves as the denominator in determining the local educational tax rate. As such changing valuations impact the tax rate as well. The Public Hearing for the proposed 2018-2019 budget in on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at MVHS.
The first day for candidates to file a Declaration of Candidacy for an elected Town or School office is Wednesday, January 24, 2018. Filing period ends 5:00PM Friday, February 2, 2018. All candidates should file with Linda Landry, Town Clerk. (See contact information below). Linda will also be available between the hours of 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM on Friday, February 2, the final day of the filing period.
CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire-Vermont-Maine reciprocal snowmobile weekend is fast approaching, coming January 26-28, 2018 (Friday through Sunday). The tri-state event gives snowmobile enthusiasts a chance to explore new trails in northern New England.
"This weekend is one of the highlights of the winter for many resident and non-resident riders, especially with good riding reported in most of the state," said N.H. Fish and Game Captain Dave Walsh, who coordinates Snowmobile and Off Highway Recreational Vehicle enforcement, registration and safety education for New Hampshire.
CONCORD, N.H. -- Our recent record-breaking cold weather has formed some great early season ice this year on our lakes and ponds. Why not get outside and enjoy New Hampshire’s ice-covered waterbodies by learning how to ice fish?
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Let's Go Fishing Program offers free ice fishing classes at many locations around the state. Classes are designed for families and individuals who are new to ice fishing, or people who would like a refresher to get back into the sport. Instructors are trained volunteers who love to teach others the skills needed to get out on the ice.
Registration is required to save your spot. To register, visit www.fishnh.com/fishing/lets-go-fishing.html, select “Register for Ice Fishing Classes,” and then choose the date and location that works for you.
CONCORD, N.H. -- Take advantage of New Hampshire’s second annual winter free fishing day on Saturday, January 20, 2018. That’s a day you can fish without a license in New Hampshire. Note that all other regulations must be followed. Learn more about fishing rules by reading the NH Freshwater Fishing or Saltwater Fishing digests at www.fishnh.com/fishing/publications.html.
Persons participating in a fishing tournament must still hold a license, even on free fishing day.
The State Legislature authorized the addition of the winter free fishing day in order to provide an opportunity for those interested in trying ice-fishing. Find more information about ice fishing in New Hampshire, including videos, a list of bait dealers, and more, at www.fishnh.com/fishing/ice-fishing.html.
This annual winter event will be the third Saturday in January each year for those who want to plan ahead. New Hampshire also offers a free fishing day on the first Saturday in June.
CONCORD, N.H. -- NH Fish and Game will host a free ice fishing seminar on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive in Concord.
Come hear New Hampshire Fishing Guide Tim Moore talk about how to catch white perch and lake trout through the ice. You’ll get the latest insights on equipment and gear, where to find these fish, and strategies for angling success. Both experienced ice anglers and those new to the sport are welcome.
Tim Moore is a full-time New Hampshire fishing guide and outdoor writer. He conducts fishing seminars from Maine to Minnesota and guides hundreds of ice anglers from around the world in search of lake trout and white perch.
The Caleb Development Group’s apartment project on the Tannery site in Penacook has received all the city approvals they need to go forward. Caleb has applied for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the NH Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA) to provide funding for their project. There are 13 projects state wide that are applying for the LIHTC but there is only enough funding for four to five projects. A decision for who will be receiving funding for the upcoming construction season will be made by the NHHFA the end of January. The determination for who will receive funding is based on a points system from responses on the developers application.
I have put together a petition opposing the project and accompanying information that lists the concerns related to the project. If you are interested in signing the petition please let me know. I am asking that only those who are in the MVSD portion of our city sign the petition.
Below are three documents. The wording on the petition, supporting statements to the petition and a list of the other enclosures I will be sending to the NHHFA.
If you would like to sign the petition, have any question or concerns regarding the apartment project, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 224-6086 - Allan
PETITION OPPOSING THE CALEB DEVELOPMENT GROUP’S
TANNERY APARTMENT PROJECT
Penacook’s property tax rate is now the fifth highest in the State. After much community input, the undersigned do not believe this project will meet the goals of those who have voiced their opinions regarding the future development of this parcel and the the Penacook Vision Plan.
We understand the need and demand for affordable housing, including workforce, low income and subsidized projects in communities throughout our State. But we also understand that using commercial property exclusively for a residential project will only delay any potential tax relief for our community. Particularly a community whose commercial tax base is only approximately 24% of Penacook’s assessed value.
Those listing their names below are opposed to the granting of Low Income Housing Tax Credits by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority to the Caleb Development Group for their project on Canal Street in Penacook. We believe that the site will best meet the needs of the Village by maximizing the potential assessed value of the parcel through a mixed use development project as stated in the Penacook Vision Plan and by the documents accompanying this petition
Supporting Statement to the Petition to
Deny LIHTC for the Caleb Development Group’s Project at
11 - 35 Canal Street, Penacook, NH
On April 25, 2017, a presentation was made to the residents of Penacook regarding this project. At that time a number of representations regarding the project were made which have since been shown to be not accurate or in conflict with the rules governing the Housing and Urban Development’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program which is administered in New Hampshire by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA).
It is important to note that it is not the project we object to, but the location of the project. The Tannery site is one of only a few larger parcels in Penacook that are zoned for commercial development. Concord (Penacook) residents who pay their property taxes to the Merrimack Valley School District have the fifth highest tax rate in the State even though MVSD costs per pupil is in the bottom ten statewide. Removing properties from potential commercial development for a residential only project will result in a continued disproportionate property tax burden for Penacook residents whose school portion of their property taxes support the MVSD.
Comparing the amount of commercial development between Concord’s two school districts, approximately 41% of the assessed value for those who are in the Concord School District is commercial, compared to approximately 24% for those in the MVSD.
Our concern is that the Caleb Development Group with all the experience they have in low income housing projects would make so many misstatements regarding their project. Our concern is that this project will add to the already high property taxes in Penacook. Our concern is that the project will not; “…achieve broad community development objectives, including “smart growth” and neighborhood revitalization” as stated in the NEW HAMPSHIRE 2018 QUALIFIED ALLOCATION PLAN FOR THE LOW INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT PROGRAM
A SENIOR PREFERENCE IS NOT PERMITTED
On the City of Concord’s website - http://www.concordnh.gov/documentcenter/view/9236 - on page 38 of their presentation, it states that there will be “Negligible impact on the MV School District because of “senior preference” & limited quantity of two bedroom units”.
NHHFA has noted to the applicant they can not have a preference for seniors in a non age restricted project.
After the Caleb Development Group was contacted by NHFA and the Concord City Council voted to remove all language pertaining to a senior preference for the project, in the November 26,2017 edition of the Concord Monitor, Caitlin Andrews reported that “Despite the change, Bernardin said the apartments will still be marketed toward senior citizens…”.
THE PROJECT IS NOT WORK FORCE HOUSING
It has been stated at public forums and meetings that the project would be for ‘work force housing’. NH RSA-674:58-IV defines workforce housing:
“…in which more than 50 percent of the dwelling units have fewer than two bedrooms, shall not constitute workforce housing for the purposes of this subdivision.”
Of the proposed projects 54 units 40 will be one bedroom.
DOES NOT ACHIEVE BROAD COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES
NEW HAMPSHIRE 2018 QUALIFIED ALLOCATION PLAN FOR THE LOW INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT PROGRAM July 10, 2017
States in part in HFA:109.02 PRIMARY ALLOCATION PRIORITIES:
“Projects that achieve broad community development objectives, including “smart growth” and neighborhood revitalization”
THE PROJECT DOES NOT HAVE BROAD COMMUNITY SUPPORT
When reviewing the Penacook Vision Plan http://www.concordnh.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8714 this is not the type of project that the community envisioned to bring economic vitality to Penacook. Additionally it does not enhance the historic character of the Village which becomes clear when reviewing the architectural design of the project.
At community meetings and at testimony before the City Council the Caleb Development Group stated that they would try and save the one potentially historic brick building on the site. However, their testimony at the Planning Board meeting for final approval they stated that they would be demolishing this building.
At that same Planning Board meeting it was noted the the building should try to better reflect the historic character of Penacook Village. Having seen their revised redesigns after the Planning Board meeting, the building still does not address the community’s concerns. Enclosed is a picture of the State of New Hampshire’s utility building that will house two steam boilers to heat the State House complex in downtown Concord on the corners of Green and School Streets. This picture is enclosed to compare the State’s willingness to respect the historic nature of our city and compare that to Caleb’s total disregard to any connection to the historic character of Penacook.
Shop Hopkinton's juried fine art and crafts fair featuring 29 local artisans!
Local Handmade Items
Special handcrafted items include holiday items, handbags, pottery, paintings, stained glass, folk art, beadwork, quilts, Shaker items, gifts for the home, wreaths & dried arrangements, dolls and children's toys, maple sugar products, hand blown & hand formed glass works, wooden items, jewelry, baskets, photography, hand woven, knitted & hand sewn clothing and women's accessories, felted items and much more.
Friday, December 1st: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 2nd: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Contoocook Artisan Show is part of "Starry, Starry Weekend", a group of more than 20 shops and organizations in Hopkinton & Contoocook celebrating the holidays during the first weekend in December.
The fair is held at St. Andrew's Parish Hall, 354 Main Street, Hopkinton (two doors down from the Hopkinton Town Hall).
Exit 4, I 89 North or Exit 5, I 89 South.
Saturday November 18, 2017 2:00-4:00 PM
All are invited to come see the newly renovated historic section of the PILLSBURY FREE LIBRARY at 18 East Main Street in Warner
~ The Fiction shelf area has been opened up and restored to its original vaulted ceiling, with stained glass revealed again and new energy-efficient lighting.
~Exterior improvements to correct damage and avoid future moisture issues included mortar and brick repairs, Copper gutters & downspouts, new storm drains, new heat trace and restored windows with new storm panes.
~The Meeting Room now has a level floor, and freshly painted walls and ceiling (final vinyl flooring awaiting funds)
~ Original granite steps were reset and railings refurbished
~AND the beautifully restored original Front Door!
Work has been made possible by a grant from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Improvement Project (LCHIP), support from the Town of Warner, and many generous donations.
~ Light refreshments will be provided ~
Nancy Ladd, Director
Pillsbury Free Library
PO Box 299 Warner NH 03278 603-456-2289 http://warner.lib.nh.us
Hours: Mon, Wed 1 - 5 PM Tu, Thu 9 -12, 1-8 PM Sat. 9 AM -2 PM