Pelham voters opt to ban 55-and-older communities | New Hampshire
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Pelham voters opt to ban 55-and-older communities

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 24. 2017 11:33PM
Long Pond Woods is a partially completed 55-and-older community in Pelham. Voters decided Saturday to ban such communities. (GRETCHEN GROSKY/UNION LEADER)

PELHAM - For the second time in four months, Pelham voters approved a zoning change to outlaw 55-and-older communities.

The final outcome of Saturday's vote was 828 for the ordinance and 326 against.

Another 115 turned out to vote, but did not choose sides. Among those who cast ballots, 72 percent were for the ban.

The outcome was similar to how the town voted at March town meeting. This second vote was ordered after town officials agreed that planners had failed to notify before the vote the proper number of residents who would be affected by the zoning change.

"I'm gratified that more than 1,200 people showed up to vote on a quiet Saturday, the first one of the summer. And support for this was the same as it had been in March," said Charlene Takesian, a leader in the campaign for the ban.

This issue created a raging debate in the community between advocates who said the town was losing its character due to the proliferation of over-55 developments and opponents who maintained the town was closing off affordable living options for senior citizens.

"I guess the people of Pelham have spoken, and seniors had better start looking for another place to live," said Planning Board member Tim Doherty, who had opposed the change.

Proponents maintained the change was needed because these developments allow too much density in housing projects, where two people could literally hold hands from their windows in adjoining houses.

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