If you've seen these signs all over town and are wondering what they are for, I hope the information below will answer your questions.
Please refer to earlier posts on this page for additional details on the IIHO and density bonuses!
Vote Yes on Article #37
By voting yes on this article, you are voting to change the Planning Board from appointed to elected. Currently, the Planning Board is appointed by the Board of Selectmen. This is the only Development Board in town that is appointed. By having them as elected officials, the residents of Amherst will determine who serves in this un-paid volunteer position. Every resident, new or old, should have the ability to serve the town.
Vote Yes on Article #40
By voting yes on this article, you are voting to remove the IIHO ordinance (section 4.16) in it's entirety from Amherst's zoning laws. This means the town would revert to pre-IIHO ordinances and zoning, which has served the town well for many years.
Vote Yes on Article #41
By voting yes on this article, you are voting to limit the maximum allowable density bonus under the IIHO (section 4.16) to 35%. Right now there is no limit.
If I vote yes on both, do they cancel each other out?
Then the highest density on any developed property under IIHO is maxed-out at 35%. A limit is needed to prevent developments like the ones on Rt 122 from occurring on any property that comes up for sale in Amherst.
By getting rid of IIHO, will Amherst be out of compliance with State Laws on Affordable Housing?
Towns and cities in NH are required to support Workforce Housing initiatives by the State. Amherst currently has Section 4.14 Workforce Housing Ordinance to comply. This will not be impacted by removal of the IIHO or limiting density bonuses.
Furthermore, removing the IIHO will not take away the Planning Board's ability to offer building density for Workforce Housing. Section 4.14 grants the Planning Board the ability to determine density that makes sense for any Workforce Housing project. They do not need a table of bonuses to be granted to determine what the land, area and community can support, they just need common sense. Additionally, since 99% of Amherst relies on septic and not Town Sewer, there are NH State regulations that determine what the land can handle as far as septic design goes. That is determined by the number of bedrooms proposed, so whether it is five 4-bedroom houses or twenty 1-bedroom condos, the septic plan must be approved by the state and the land must accommodate the volume based on numerous factors such as soil type, grade, etc.