Robert Lemos 0

Help Barrington, NH build a better town center

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**If you are not a resident of Barrington, NH, please do not sign this petition.** The Planning Board of the town of Barrington, NH, has been considering changes to the zoning regulations between Rt. 9 and Rt. 125. They are currently considering a proposal to create a Town Center District in the area around the Christmas Dove, Calef\'s, Irvings and the Citizen\'s Bank. Currently, a large area around the intersection of Rt. 9 and Rt. 125 has been designated the Village District, and the zoning rules have limited developers to building retail and commercial buildings no larger than 10,000 square feet and has a moratorium on gas stations. The Town Center Proposal would create a Town Center District in the heart of the Village District -- centered on Rt. 9 and Rt. 125 -- that would relax the building requirements for developers, allowing them to build retail and commercial spaces up to 20,000 square feet. In addition, the original proposal (presented on November 8) would allow the developer to build up to 50,000 square feet, if they put aside 1/3 of the developed land for open space or civic use. (Barrington currently requires any development to put aside 15 percent of the land for open space.) At the Nov. 8 meeting, however, the complaints of one developer and a small number of land owners who intend to sell their land convinced the Planning Board to amend the proposal to reduce the open-space requirement to 25 percent, while increasing the size of developed buildings to 70,000 square feet. (For comparison, the Hannford in Northwood is about 38,000 square feet.) The developer is looking to build an easy development in that section of town. The current proposal calls for box stores (Staples and TJ Maxx have been mentioned) and a gas station. So it\'s no surprise, then, that the revised proposal has also removed the limitation on gas stations as well. This is the last chance that regular residents will have to influence the planning board\'s concept for the Town Center in Barrington, before the zoning proposal turns into a ballot proposition that we will vote on in March. For that reason, I have created this petition. [For the purposes of full disclosure, I will point out that my father (a resident) and one of my brothers (not a resident) owns land on the edge of what will be designated the Town Center. Their ownership in no way benefits me, and they have no current plans to sell, as far as I know. (rlemos: see Note below)] NOTE (12/17, 11:12 am): I will present the petition at the meeting on Dec. 20, so it needs to be done by then. Also, if you sign the petition anonymously, please send a note to rob-at-lemosfamily-dot-net to let me know which number you are. NOTE (12/18, 4:20 pm): Apparently, an \"anonymous\" resident believes that \"on the edge\" is not a fitting description of the property owned by my brother and father. They own the outermost properties in the northwest quadrant of, but still within, the proposed Town Center District (and the existing Village District). The resident in question has a considerable financial stake in the proposed development for which the changes to the Town Center proposal were made. *** PETITION *** I, the undersigned resident of Barrington, NH, believe that the town needs a center that reflects the overall character of Barrington and gives the residents a place to gather and shop. Furthermore, because the tax rate in Barrington continues to place a burden on residents, I believe that any Town Center proposal should attract responsible developer interest to build commercial and retail businesses. I want the Town Center Proposal that appears on the ballot in March to reflect the needs of the town, so I can in good conscience vote for the proposal. I request that the Planning Board put the residents\' needs ahead of the wishes of a single developer. Specifically: 1) Buildings should be limited to 50,000 square feet, as in the original proposal. Not increased to 70,000 square feet to satisfy a single developer. Cookie-cutter box stores with massive parking lots should not be part of a town center. 2) Barrington does not need gas stations in the Town Center, when a developer can build one 500 yards further down on Rt. 125. The Town Center should be for safe and community-friendly development. 3) Open space and civic space is key to the Town Center district. The original zoning proposal that gave developers additional consideration, if they set aside 1/3 of the development for open and civic space, should be put back in the proposal. I, the undersigned resident of Barrington, pledge that, unless these issues are remedied, I will not vote for the Town Center Zoning proposal in March.


Rob Lemos is a resident of Barringon, NH, and holds no financial interest in the Town Center. I have started this petition because I want Barrington to foster the development of a more traditional town center and attract commercial interests to help alleviate taxes.

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