PETERBOROUGH — An attorney representing 15 Peterborough residents requested a rehearing from the town Friday on petitions that brought down a controversial zoning amendment.
The development comes after Peterborough officials affirmed protest petitions that changed the vote requirement on the zoning amendment to a supermajority, causing it to fail despite accruing more than 50 percent of the vote.
No date had been set by this morning for the rehearing.
Zoning amendment 15, submitted by a group of 44 residents, sought to alter town ordinances on two areas that cover the downtown and some of its surroundings.
Both enacted within the past five years, the ordinances permit more densely placed housing in those areas, which some argue allows for more suitable housing options for younger families and millennials.
But advocates of the zoning amendment have argued the denser housing could lead to the demolition of historic buildings and change the character of the town. They want to dial back the maximum density to levels closer to places like Keene, Milford and Nashua, attorney Mark D. Fernald said in an email Thursday.
On May 6, the town received two petitions seeking to raise the voting threshold on this amendment from a simple majority to a two-thirds vote. Selectmen discussed the petitions at the end of their meeting the next day, and then signed the notice allowing them to go into effect.
At a selectboard meeting June 4, town officials affirmed the validity of the petitions.
In his letter requesting a rehearing, Fernald requested more detailed calculations from the town that allowed the petitions to be validated.
Of particular concern for Fernald, according to the letter, are whether the total acreage that would be affected by the zoning amendment exceeds one-third of the town’s total area, which would invalidate the petitions, per state law (RSA 675:5), and whether the signatories collectively own enough property to compose at least 20 percent of the territory affected by the zoning amendment.
Selectmen would not comment any further at the June 4 meeting, citing the potential for a rehearing that they would have to adjudicate.
This article has been updated to correct a description of the overlay zones' locations.