By-Laws must be revised to allow more suitable housing development


To the Editor,

As a downtown resident, I walk by the dilapidated Valentine movers building on Tappan Street almost every day. It is an eyesore. How providential that a creative realtor has the vision to convert this property into a much needed four-unit residence. But our outmoded planning regulations apparently prohibit this, although they have no sway against a massive project on the outskirts of town that has no relevance to the town and may prove a major burden.

At a macro level, the world needs more housing. A recent report in USA Today states that the US needs over 5 million more homes to satisfy demand for housing. At a micro level, Manchester is not fulfilling its housing demands. We need to provide at least 11 affordable units a year to meet safe harbor. The 40B project is allowed to proceed because of this shortfall, even though its value as affordable housing is questionable at best. While the reasons are understandable, how ironic is it that a small, well-designed, in-town housing project such as the Tappan/Sea Street condo development is apparently being denied, while a monstrous, ill-conceived and potentially dangerous development such as that being proposed at Shingle Hill, is being allowed to proceed. It is sad that in this age where we are trying to protect the environment, this project is able to get waivers for seven local By-Laws, potentially negatively affecting our town water supply and wildlife. The latest meeting between the ZBA and the developer centered on access. A long, one-lane, steep, winding driveway defies all common sense, and does not allow for human access. How will children walk to and from the school bus? People with wheelchairs or strollers? What happened to encouraging cycling and cutting carbon emissions? How will residents have access to public transportation? How will those 135 new families be able to integrate meaningfully with our town? There are SO many things wrong with this project, and yet it appears to be going ahead. We need to revise our By-Laws and our attitudes to permit more Tappan Street projects and no Shingle Hills.

Alison Anholt-White

Spy Rock Hill Road

alison anholt, manchester, by-law