The owners of a 13-acre lot in Keene want to divide up the land for the potential development of single-family homes.
Charles O. and Kathryn L. Kingsbury of Paxton, Mass., own land at the intersection of Old Walpole Road and Surry Road (Route 12A), about a half-mile northeast of Keene Middle School. The parcel is a mix of forest, wetland and open field, according to their application with the Keene Planning Board in October.
Their request to the board is to subdivide the land into nine lots, eight of which would range from 0.26 to 0.41 acres each for single-family residential use. Their intent is to sell them as building lots, the application says, so they aren’t proposing any development themselves.
Originally, the Kingsburys wanted to preserve the remaining 10.33 acres as open space, but that plan has changed, according to Jim Phippard of Brickstone Land Use Consultants in Keene, who represented the Kingsburys at the planning board’s Nov. 25 meeting.
Phippard said they don’t want the open space developed into multiple residences, but they do want to allow the construction of one single-family home. One of the Kingsburys’ sons wants to live on the land and raise his horses, Phippard explained. There would be a paddock, he said, and the woods would be protected under a forestry management program.
The last-minute change required a re-submission of the application, so the planning board didn’t act on the request. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall’s council chambers.
About three years ago, a local developer proposed a workforce housing project in that area. but later pulled it after strong opposition from abutters and challenges with the land’s zoning classification. Avanru Development Group CEO Jack Franks said he wanted to build 98 units, but that would’ve required changing the zoning from its low-density designation to high density. After so many neighbors opposed the project at a public workshop, though, the Walpole developer pulled the plans in early 2017.
Avanru is also the developer of the Abenaki Springs Residences in Walpole, an affordable housing complex, and recently completed the development’s second phase.