ARTICLE IX-1 Retirement Community Overlay District
Town of Walpole, NH
Zoning Ordinance Amended March 2007
A. AUTHORITY: A Retirement Community Overlay District is hereby established in the Town of Walpole pursuant to RSA 674:21, Innovative Land Use Controls.
B. PURPOSE: The Retirement Community Overlay District shall serve the following purposes:
1. To provide for appropriate sites within the town for the development of housing and related facilities to serve the needs of people age sixty-two (62) years and older.
2. To regulate the intensity and mix of the different types of housing units required to meet the needs of these senior citizens so as to provide ample outdoor and livable space and to retain a sense of personal identity, intimacy and human scale within the development.
3. To provide ample-sized meeting rooms and recreational facilities for the comfort and convenience of the residents.
4. Through site plan review by the Planning Board, to provide for review of the bulk, height and spacing of buildings, architectural design of the buildings, and the circulation and parking pattern within the development to ensure that adequate light, air, privacy and open space for passive recreation and landscaped amenities are provided.
5. To provide such accommodation in a manner harmonious with the surrounding land uses while protecting the natural resources and open space.
6. To preserve the town’s residential character.
C. APPLICABILITY: The Retirement Community Overlay District shall only apply to the Residential B and Commercial Districts.
Building Height - The vertical distance from the mean finished grade of the ground adjoining the building to the highest point on the roof for flat or shed roofs, to the deck line for mansard roof, and to the mean height between eaves and ridges for gable, hip and gambrel roofs. Not included are spires, cupolas, TV antennae, or other part of structures which do not include potentially habitable floor space.
Common Area - Any land area, other than Open Space, set aside for common ownership as a result of a Retirement Community Development, including areas for common facilities. The following uses shall be allowed within the Common Area: active recreation such as tennis courts, swimming pools, etc.; and community water and sewer systems.
Common Facilities - Built facilities which are commonly owned by the property owners within a Retirement Community Development. Common facilities may be proposed but are not required. They may include streets, rights-of-way, common buildings, wells, water and waste treatment systems, and recreation facilities.
Homeowners Association - A private non-profit organization (corporation, association, or other legal entity) established by the developer to manage, maintain, support, and finance the common facilities and open space of a Retirement Community Development, and to enforce certain covenants and restrictions.
Open Space - Undeveloped land set aside for common or individual ownership as a result of a Retirement Community Development, with conservation easements and other deeded restrictions to ensure that the land will remain permanently open and undeveloped. A condition of approval under the Retirement Community Overlay District is that Open Space may not be further subdivided. Only the following uses shall be allowed within the Open Space: passive recreation, gardening, and horticulture.
Retirement Community Development - A form of residential development where the density of dwelling units is no greater than would be permitted in the district in which the Retirement Community Development is located, but where the lot size and other dimensional standards may be reduced in exchange for the preservation of permanently protected open space, recreational land, forests, and/or farmland.
E. PERMITTED USES: In this district land may be used and buildings may be erected, altered or used for:
1. Detached and/or attached single-family uses and accessory uses thereto with a maximum of three (3) bedrooms per dwelling unit.
2. Duplex dwelling units with a maximum of three (3) bedrooms per dwelling unit.
3. Recreation buildings and grounds for activities, games and sports not carried on for financial gain.
4. Accessory buildings for the storage, repair and maintenance of equipment and vehicles used in the operation of a retirement community.
5. Dining rooms, meeting facilities, and health care facilities necessary to provide services to residents of the development if appropriate.
F. OCCUPANCY ELIGIBILITY: Occupancy is restricted to persons age sixty-two (62) years or older, with the following exceptions:
1. A spouse under sixty-two (62) years old married to a resident over the age of sixty-two (62).
2. Adults between the age of eighteen (18) and sixty (62) only if their presence is required to minister to a resident over the age of sixty-two (62).
G. MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS shall be as follows:
1. TRACT SIZE: A proposed site shall consist of at least ten (10) acres of contiguous land in single or consolidated ownership and may include parcels separated by existing public roads, provided that such parcels abut. The development shall be non-subdividable. Multiple lots shall be consolidated prior to approval under this ordinance.
2. DENSITY: The maximum allowable density of the site shall be calculated based on the following:
TOTAL area of tract
MINUS area of all undevelopable lands which shall include all surface waters on the tract, all lands with slopes of 25 percent or greater, wetlands, and all lands located in the Floodplain District as defined in Article XVIII of the Zoning Ordinance
EQUALS total developable area
TOTAL developable area
MINUS area of all street and /or road rights-of-way within the development
DIVIDED by the minimum lot size for the district in which the project is located as specified in the Zoning Ordinance
MULTIPLIED by two (2)
EQUALS the maximum number of dwelling units permitted (rounded to the nearest whole number)
Applicants shall show that the site characteristics can accommodate the proposed density. Adequate and appropriate on-site space must be provided in each development for parking, buildings, water, sewage, utilities, and all other infrastructure and facilities, regardless of the maximum allowable densities.
3. BUILDING HEIGHT: No building erected in this district shall exceed thirty-five (35) feet in height.
4. FRONTAGE ON NEAREST PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY: One hundred and fifty (150) feet.
5. SITE PERIMETER BUFFER: Each development must be situated within a permanently protected undeveloped site perimeter buffer, identified on the site plan, not less then fifty (50) feet wide which, unless already wooded and satisfactory to the Planning Board, is planted and landscaped to provide a visual barrier between the development and all adjacent property. The Planning Board may require additional buffer width where unique circumstances of an abutting use or property warrant. The intent is to insure adequate screening where mixed uses abut. The Site Perimeter Buffer can be counted toward the 50% set aside of permanently protected Open Space.
6. SETBACKS: All structures shall be set back at least fifty (50) feet from all adjoining property lines. There shall be a minimum of twenty-five (25) feet between all buildings.
7. OPEN SPACE: The overall site must have a minimum of fifty percent (50%) common open space, of which no more than twenty-five percent (25%) may be wetlands, slopes over twenty-five percent (25%), or lands located in the Floodplain District as defined in Article XVIII of the Zoning Ordinance. This requirement does not apply to those slopes over twenty-five percent (25%) which have been created by prior human activity, which shall be re-graded to less than twenty-five percent (25%). Open space must be contiguous in a layout acceptable to the Planning Board. Rights-of-way, streets, driveways, and/or parking areas shall not be counted as Open Space.
8. UTILITIES: A proposed site shall be connected to either a community or municipal water and sewer system. The water system within the site shall be designed to provide the maximum flow practical for fire-fighting purposes as required by the State of NH Building Code (RSA 155-A). Each development shall conform to the regulations promulgated by the NH Department of Environmental Services with respect to water, sewerage, garbage, and other health measures. All utilities such as electric, telephone, and cable shall be required to be placed underground.
9. LIGHTING: Roads and main access ways to buildings shall include adequate lighting. The use of "full cut-off" type lighting shall be required for all public areas. A formal site-wide lighting plan shall be submitted, requiring Planning Board approval. Lighting of common and public areas shall be independently controlled from residential units and shall be minimized or turned off at an agreed upon "no later than" time at night. Light trespass, nuisance glare, and over-illumination due to excess wattage or inappropriate lighting type shall be prohibited. Adequate lighting for pedestrian safety shall be provided.
10. PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC: The use of interconnecting walkways, trails and natural walking paths shall be an integral part of the design of any development to facilitate access between common areas, groups of dwelling units and open space areas. Easements shall be requested where trails or potential trails on abutting lands may allow for a local connection. Appropriate timing and restrictions may apply. Primary walkways and sidewalks shall meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Trails and natural walking paths are exempt from this requirement, but the Board encourages maximizing accessibility to residents.
11. BUILDING DESIGN: Architectural renderings and/or elevations of all buildings and all accessory buildings shall be provided which the Planning Board will evaluate in accordance with the Site Plan Review Regulations to confirm that proposed development is an appropriate scale and arrangement in light of the underlying zoning district, the prominence of the site, viewsheds, adjacent uses and the surrounding neighborhood.
12. LANDSCAPE PLAN: A landscaping plan acceptable to the Planning Board shall be provided consistent with the Landscaping and Off Street Parking and Loading requirements in the Site Plan Review Regulations.
13. OFF-STREET PARKING: Parking for this district shall be provided in the following manner, and shall be in compliance with the appropriate subsections of off-street parking:
a. Two (2) spaces per dwelling unit.
b. Adequate visitor’s parking.
H. STREET REQUIREMENTS:
1. All streets and roads internal to the development shall be privately maintained unless the Board of Selectmen, upon recommendation of the Planning Board, presents a street to be a dedicated public roadway to the Town Meeting and the town accepts the roadway.
2. Where retained as private ways, streets shall be posted as such by standard street signs.
3. All streets shall be designed and constructed consistent with local requirements, unless the Planning Board determines that a modification of the width and/or construction standards of said streets will not be detrimental to the circulation or the safety of the development.
4. The number of new access points to existing and proposed public streets and major through roads shall be limited to two (2) unless otherwise determined by the Planning Board.
I. OWNERSHIP OF OPEN SPACE AND COMMON AREAS:
1. The developer shall hold, manage and maintain Open Space, Common Land, and Common Facilities within a Retirement Community Development until completion of all improvements, whereupon the developer shall transfer the ownership and management and maintenance responsibilities as set forth in Subsections I.2 and 3 below.
2. Common Areas and Common Facilities within a Retirement Community Development shall be owned by and bound by a homeowner’s or condominium association or similar form of common ownership set by the developer. Membership in said association shall be mandatory for property owners and made a required covenant in any deed issued or passed. Articles of association or incorporation must be acceptable to the Planning Board and to Town Counsel.
3. Open Space shall be owned by one or a combination of the following:
a. A homeowner’s or condominium association or similar form of common ownership set forth by the developer;
b. A conservation trust or private nonprofit organization such as the Society for the Protection of NH Forests, The Audubon Society, or the Monadnock Conservancy, which has as its purpose the preservation of open space through ownership and control;
c. The Town of Walpole, subject to acceptance by the Town;
e. The State of New Hampshire for permanent open space uses;
d. A private landowner such as a farmer or forest manager that will manage it for uses consistent with the provisions of this ordinance.
J. PERMANENT PROTECTION OF OPEN SPACE: All Open Space in a Retirement Community Development, whether held privately or in common, shall be restricted in perpetuity as open space through the use of conservation easements that legally restrict the development rights to that property.
1. The easement may be so worded as to permit or restrict public access, to allow or disallow recreational development, and similar provisions.
2. The burden of the easement conveyed hereby shall run with the property and shall be enforceable against all future owners and tenants in perpetuity; the benefits of this easement shall not be appurtenant to any particular parcel of land but shall be in gross and assignable or transferable only to the State of New Hampshire, the US Government, or the Town of Walpole, consistent with Section 170(c)(1) of the US Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended or to any qualified organization within the meaning of Section 170(h)(3) of said Code, which organization has among its purposes the conservation and preservation of land and water areas and agrees to and is capable of enforcing the Purposes of this Easement. Any such assignee or transferee shall have like power of assignment or transfer.
K. SUBMISSION AND REVIEW PROCEDURE:
1. An application for development in this overlay district shall begin with a Conceptual Plan Review by the Planning Board. The Conceptual Plan shall contain a plan for phasing the proposed development. This phasing plan must indicate at which periods the various types of dwelling units will be constructed and contain an estimate of possible impacts on the Town of Walpole, and must also include a recreation plan indicating proposed indoor and outdoor facilities for use by all residents of the development.
2. The Planning board shall review and approve or disapprove site plans for all proposed retirement community housing developments. Subdivision approval shall also be required when a parcel of land is modified through division or consolidation. Any entity desiring to operate and maintain any site as housing for older persons, shall apply to the Planning Board for the establishment of a development and/or expansion of an existing development within the Town of Walpole under the procedure contained herein and further specified in the Site Plan Review Regulations, and if required, Subdivision Regulations, as may be amended from time to time. The review of any site proposed for retirement community housing shall take into account its proximity to those support services necessary to meet the needs of the elderly. Where support services are absent or remote, provisions for such services shall be provided by the developer.
3. A completed application for a Retirement Community Development shall contain at a minimum the following information:
a. A demonstrated need for additional Retirement housing;
b. If applicable, a Subdivision Plan showing all the information required in the Walpole Subdivision Regulations;
c. A Site Plan showing all the information required in the Walpole Site Plan Review Regulations;
d. Typical architectural renderings and/or building elevations and floor plans of all proposed buildings;
e. A Landscaping Plan indicating the existing vegetation to be retained and that to be removed as well as the type, size, and numbers of all proposed new plantings;
f. A Lighting Plan for the entire site;
g. Copies of all legal documents associated with the development including the Homeowners Association By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation, protective covenants and deed restrictions, etc.;
h. A timetable for completion of the Retirement Community Development.
L. ENFORCEMENT: The enforcement of this Article is vested with the Board of Selectmen. Upon any well-founded information that this Article is being violated, the Selectmen shall, within 14 days, undertake such steps as are legally available to them pursuant to RSA 676:15, 17, 17-a, 17-b.
M.SEVERABILITY: The invalidity of any provision of this Article shall not affect the validity of any other provision, nor any prior decisions made on the basis of the valid provisions of this Article.
N. EFFECTIVE DATE: This Article shall take effect upon its passage, and as amended.