Over the next two weeks, the town of Dalton will be having a Public Hearing and a Special Town Meeting concerning the adoption of the Emergency Temporary Zoning Ordinance outlined in state law. This hearing and the vote on the ordinance are a chance for townspeople to guide future development as they wish, making sure that business and industrial developments respect the character and beauty of our rural NH village.
Here are two key points to know about the zoning ordinance.
1) The emergency zoning is temporary.
If we vote YES at the Special Town Meeting on July 30th, the Emergency Temporary Zoning Ordinance will only be in effect until the 2021 Town Meeting. Dalton voters could craft a permanent zoning ordinance before then, but have no obligation to do so. If there is no further action on a zoning ordinance by the 2021 Town Meeting, the emergency zoning simply expires – in less than two years.
2) The emergency zoning lets Dalton decide how to grow.
All current homeowners, businesses, and land uses would be allowed to continue as they operate now – they would be “grandfathered in”. The Emergency Temporary Zoning Ordinance only applies to new land uses.
Restrictions on land uses listed in RSA 674:25-27 include the following:
“No business, commercial or industrial venture or use shall be permitted which could cause any undue hazard to health, safety, or property values or which is offensive to the public because of noise, vibration, excessive traffic, unsanitary conditions, noxious odor, smoke or other similar reason”RSA 674:27, I (bolding added for emphasis)
Enacting the Emergency Temporary Zoning Ordinance would give the Dalton voters a chance to carefully consider whether a landfill fits with the landscape and lifestyle of the town. It puts the choice in the hands of Dalton voters instead of the decision being made primarily by developers Casella.
Make Your Voice Heard
There are two important dates coming up:
- July 23rd. This is the Public Hearing. Anyone can give brief (roughly 3 minute) comments about the Emergency Temporary Zoning Ordinance. This is your chance to stand up and voice your concerns as a member of town.
- July 30th. This is the Special Town Meeting. Only registered Dalton voters will be able to participate. If you are at all concerned about being able to control development in Dalton and being able to balance corporate interests with the town’s interests, please vote YES. Adopt the Emergency Temporary Zoning Ordinance so we can take the decision into our hands instead of having it forced on us.
The full text of RSA 674:24-29 is available here.