Valley News – Forum, May 6: Pump brakes on Hanover zoning proposal<br />

Published: 5/6/2022 5:01:34 AM

Modified: 5/6/2022 5:00:04 AM

Pump brakes on Hanover zoning proposal

On Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, May 10, Hanover voters will be asked to vote on an amendment to the Hanover Zoning Ordinance developed by a group of Dartmouth students, not by the Planning Board staff, to allow extensive residential housing to be built along West Wheelock Street from Ledyard Bridge up to the town center at the green. Unfortunately, the Planning Board agreed to recommend passage of this amendment by a slim majority vote of 3 to 2, with one abstention. 

A top Hanover priority is to increase the stock of affordable housing within a reasonable distance of our major employers and of the college campus. This is the stated purpose of the amendment. But examination of details shows that the proposal is a cave-in to developers who could use it unconstrained to ruin the Wheelock corridor. The amendment would allow the construction of multiple four-story apartment buildings 60 feet high with an additional 15 feet on the rooftop for elevator shafts and other building equipment. It contemplates the possibility of buildings that might be up to 450 feet in length. There is no effective regulation to rein in the grotesque. Goodness knows how the blank check given by the proposed amendment would be used by developers to maximize residential use of the corridor. 

I favor a significant increase in residential density along West Wheelock Street. But the plan for that increase should first be developed fully by our strong town planning staff and then be presented and vetted in a public hearing in which concerns of neighboring property owners are fairly weighed. It is certain that few residents were present at the Planning Board meeting in which the Main Wheelock District was considered.

Voters, please do not approve the Main Wheelock District as proposed in Amendment 10 to the Zoning Law, Article 11, on the Town Meeting ballot. Let the Planning Board and affected town residents engage in a full hearing on a Planning Board staff proposal so the needed density increase will occur in a well-planned and sensible way.

Arthur Gardiner


Expand space for solar in Hanover

At the 2017 Hanover Town Meeting, residents voted unanimously to transition our community to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Article 2 on this year’s warrant is a zoning amendment that will broaden our path to the 100% goal. This amendment will provide more Hanover residents the option of making their own clean renewable electricity by increasing the siting possibilities on their property. Sustainable Hanover strongly supports a yes vote on Article 2.

Current zoning requires a 50-foot side and rear setback for a ground-mounted solar system, while other “accessory use” structures, such as a garage, shed, swimming pool or patio have only a 10-foot requirement. Passage of Article 2 will treat solar in a manner consistent with other accessory uses. All structures will have a 10-foot side and rear setback. The front setback will remain at 50 feet for all. A height limitation of 18 feet will apply to solar.

While the proposed changes would apply to all districts, the impact will be greatest in our rural district, which has the highest potential for more ground-mounted solar. As an example of how Article 2 would affect, for instance, a three-acre square-shaped lot, the area available for solar systems could expand by a hefty 51%. If the lot is long and rectangular, it could gain up to 180% in square footage for solar.

Please support our community’s transition to 100% renewables. Vote YES on Article 2. Voting on this will be on the paper ballot from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 10 at the Hanover High School gym.  

Yolanda Baumgartner
and Marjorie Rogalski


The writers are co-chairs of Sustainable Hanover.

OUUSD Article 3 change explained

The original Oxbow Unified Union School District Articles of Agreement, mandated by the State of Vermont, included an Article 3, which prohibited the closing of Bradford Elementary, Newbury Elementary and Oxbow High School for the first two years of the “merged” district. Those two years expired June 30, 2021.

The new Article 3 requires 60% of the voters in each town to approve any restructuring. Without a new Article 3, the board could “restructure” (close) any of the three schools without a vote of the residents of Bradford and Newbury.

State law requires changes to the Articles of Agreement to be done by Australian ballot. In this case, only the Article 3 vote will occur by Australian ballot. Early voting is also available at the Town Clerk’s office or by absentee ballot from now until 7 p.m. on May 12.

In accordance with the bylaws of the district, the Annual Meeting of the District will be held at 6 p.m. on May 12 at Oxbow High School, with floor voting to elect board members and adopt a budget. There is NO Australian ballot at the Annual Meeting for election of directors or budget approval. It is important that voters of Bradford and Newbury vote on the Article 3 “restructuring” proposal AND attend the 6 p.m. May 12 Annual Meeting.

Bud Haas


Lebanon development proposal raises questions

On Monday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m., the Lebanon Planning Board will hear the presentation for the proposed development of three high-rise apartment buildings in historic downtown Lebanon. This site was recently purchased by Recreo LLC, of Franconia, for $2,000,000. Building 1 would be five stories, 48,000 square feet, with 72 units. Building 2 would be six stories, 56,800 square feet, with 80 units. Depending upon how the former Village Market would be developed, the whole project could result in over 200 units.

These apartments, it is expected, will be primarily efficiency units with a few single-bedroom units. As for parking, it was initially stated that 92 spaces would be provided since the developer’s expectation is that many residents would not have cars and would use Advance Transit for their transportation. How would the designation of parking spaces be decided … by lottery?

At the initial proposal, the architect stated that the project would not be able to re-create the style similar to that of historic downtown Lebanon. Does Lebanon need gigantic contemporary apartment buildings with inadequate parking and undesirable traffic?

The agenda for this Planning Board meeting was published Wednesday afternoon. Recreo is requesting numerous conditional use permits to allow a reduced minimum required rear yard, to allow an increase in the maximum permitted building height, and to allow parking spaces to be located within the front yard. The supporting documents for these requests are contained in 66 pages.

Additionally, Recreo is requesting a conditional use permit to allow off-lot parking at 2 Mascoma St., and 21 Water St. These supporting documents amount to 14 pages.

An important question that needs to be asked is: If the developer, Recreo, needs so many permits for this project, is this site not adequate? Maybe a more appropriate site should be investigated.

It is important that Lebanon residents attend this Planning Board Meeting on May 9 to learn the complete details. This is your opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Remember the financial interests of Recreo are not necessarily in the best interests of the city’s residents.

Mary Ann Mastro


Preserve Hanover building oversight

On Tuesday, May 10, Hanover residents will be called upon to vote at Hanover High School between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Although there are many important warrant articles, I am writing to express concern about Warrant Article 10, Amendment 9, which would eliminate some of the current checks and balances for institutional zones.

Institutional zones owned by Dartmouth College include Garipay Field, the north part of Occom Pond, part of Wheelock and some other downtown areas. Article 10, Amendment 9, would essentially give Dartmouth College the ability to build structures that are currently excluded, giving far less consideration to multiple interests such as how construction might affect abutting property owners or the community at large. The existing checks and balances encourage Dartmouth to work cooperatively with the town of Hanover and its residents. Removing these checks and balances would give Dartmouth College more opportunity to build structures against the community’s interest. The town Planning Board has voted to “disapprove” this amendment.

On Tuesday, May 10, I encourage Hanover residents to stop by the Hanover High School gymnasium and vote NO on Warrant Article 10, Amendment 9.

Aaron Osofsky


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Forum, May 6: Pump brakes on Hanover zoning proposal – Valley News

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