LEBANON — Proposed zoning amendments would require conceptual hearings for applicants bringing large scale projects to the zoning and planning boards and give the planning board flexibility when granting accessory units.
The three proposed zoning amendments will come before voters March 11.
“They are fairly minor for the most part,” said zoning administrator Carmela Hennessy on Friday.
Two proposed zoning amendments would require developers seeking approval for projects including medical and recreational facilities, townhouse apartment complexes and cluster subdivisions to come before the planning board for a conceptual review.
These types of reviews are currently only an option for developers, Hennessey said.
Requiring the conceptual reviews would streamline the application process by identifying potential issues ahead of a site plan application, Hennessey said, and would allow city planners to view conceptual plans with an eye on the city’s master plan at the same time.
The third proposed zoning amendment would allow planners more flexibility in granting the placement of accessory units.
Lebanon defines accesory units as a separate dwelling area within, attached or near a single-family home.
The city approved allowed accessory units in a vote last year, Hennessy said, but these units are only allowed behind the building line of the primary residence.
In implementing the new ordinance this past year, city planners found it didn’t make sense when granting accessory units on large properties where the primary residence is usually set back a great distance from the front of the property, Hennessey said.
In the downtown area where lots are smaller the current regulation makes sense, but in a rural area with a 100-acre farm property, an accessory unit built in the front of the property would not likely have an effect on the character of the neighborhood, Hennessy said.
In these rural situations city planners have granted variances to the ordinance. This proposed amendment would allow city planners to take the property as a whole into consideration and allow accessory units in front of the primary residence when it suits the property.