Chamber urges training for Manchester planning, zoning boards
This was one of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s top recommendations to improve the permitting process for businesses and building projects in the Queen City.
“I think these will go a long way to make Manchester a good place to do business and foster development and redevelopment,” Bob Duval, the president of TFMoran, the Bedford-based planning and civil engineering firm, told the committee.
The first recommendation is to extend the validity of planning board decision to two years. The change, which is already under consideration by the board, would match the two-year period for zoning board actions set by the Legislature.
“It really makes a difference to have a board that has a grasp of land development principles and planning and zoning laws,” Duval said. “So many times, it seems, meetings end up going on tangents that have no bearing in planning and zoning law.”
The chamber also recommends the city examine “performance zoning” in certain areas. The program, which has been successfully implemented in parts of Bedford and Dover, sets goals for development, rather than strict regulations governing, for example, setbacks and parking. “In my office, as soon as they hear you need a variance, or two or three, it doesn’t take a lot until they lose interest,” Duval said.
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