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June 6, 2012

PETITION IN RESPONSE TO DURHAM DRAFT ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS To the Durham Planning Board: We, the undersigned residents of Durham, New Hampshire, support the redevelopment and revitalization of our downtown, a downtown that presents many opportunities for improvement. Specifically, we envision buildings of size, mass, and scale that are appropriate to the available space and supportive of a livable, walkable community, with gathering spaces and the aesthetics of a New England town. In the spirit of aligning the proposed zoning amendments with the values we hold dear, we urge the Planning Board to incorporate into the proposed zoning amendments the thoughtful recommendations made at the public hearing on May 23, listed below: • Implement design standards (not guidelines) addressing architectural design -no proposed zoning changes!) • Amend definition of retail store to reduce square footage. The current proposal of 40,000 square feet, with 20,000 on each of two floors, would result in a retail establishment out of scale with the streetscape. • Retain the following current zoning language: “Any use that is not listed as a Permitted Use or a Conditional Use in the Table of Uses is prohibited.” • Maintain conditional use as tool appropriate for specific purposes. • Remove Coe’s Corner from the definition of Commercial Core. • Treat each commercial zone uniquely to preserve its distinct character and historic buildings. • Require greater building setbacks from the street to allow for wider sidewalks, public or other open spaces, and vegetated plantings. These features enhance a sense of community and better set off buildings visually. • Allow parking only to the rear of buildings; parking along the side of buildings should be allowed only when there is no alternative and only with an appropriate vegetative buffer. Make subject to the Conditional Use Permit process. In addition, we urge the Planning Board to provide additional opportunities for public input during this review process.


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