Sunapee Planners To Layout 2010 Master Plan at Hearing Jan. 21

The Sunapee planning board has worked for nearly four years on updating the town’s Master Plan last published in 1998 and has now scheduled a public hearing on the proposed, new plan for Thursday, January 21 at the Town Offices meeting room at 7:15 p.m.

“I hope people come to the meeting, learn about the process we went through, and get to understand why we did what we did,” said Town Planner Michael Marquise last Thursday from Sunapee’s zoning and planning office.

A master plan lays out a vision and goals, which a community then can implement over time through the adoption of land use regulations, explained Marquise. “It can be a really good tool, if people want to use it.”

Marquise said major additions to 2010 plan relate to community design, natural resources, and specific land use areas in town.

The 110-page document has new sections: a Community Design chapter, Sunapee’s first Natural Resources Inventory (NRI), to be published as an appendix, and an implementation section, Marquise explained. The plan suggests two new land use definitions and some changes to existing land use areas.

Other chapters address: a vision statement, land use narrative, future and existing land use, natural resources, community facilities, transportation, utilities and public services, housing, economic, development, regional concerns, recreation, culture and history, recreation, and the school population.

The Community Design section looked at all of Main Street and Lower Main Street and a bit of Route 11, Marquise said.

“This is an exciting part of the plan” as it speaks to “integrating the village and bringing the community back together again” after Route 11 went through and split the town.

At the intersection of Route 11 and Main Street, it offers redesign possibilities that could help slow traffic, bring together Sunapee Harbor and Lower Main Street, and address traffic including “walking traffic,” Marquise added.

Marquise authored most of the chapters in the plan. The Lake Sunapee Upper Valley Regional Planning Commission did the mapping and Jeff Taylor, one of the state’s premiere planners, assisted with the Community Design section and facilitated the public visioning session. The town’s conservation commission assisted by Planning Commission wrote the Natural Resource chapter and created the NRI, Marquise said.

It was on a Thursday evening, January 19 in 2006, when the planning board held its first organizational meeting for updating the master plan. Since then, the board reviewed the 1998 plan, gathered input from the public at a visioning meeting and via a community survey, and met with town boards and departments.

The purpose of a town master plan is to guide land use ordinances toward “preserving and enhancing the unique quality of life and culture of New Hampshire,” according to the governing NH RSA. It also gives legal standing to the implementation of adopted land use regulations.

The proposed 2010 Sunapee Master Plan is available for viewing at the Town Offices or on-line on the town website, under the town planning department. Click here for a link to the plan.

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