Much has been said and written over many years, and surely in recent months, regarding adequate and affordable housing: aka workforce housing as defined under New Hampshire RSA 674.
In this region the conversation has centered largely on Keene. For the most part, and based on population and a host of other factors, much of the discussion should be focused on Keene, but that is only part of the matter at hand.
Many of the communities in Cheshire County and the greater Monadnock Region ignore the language pasted below. What’s worse, in my opinion, is that nobody seems to be enforcing said language. I’m left to wonder why we even have such a law if it’s going to be ignored.
NEW HAMPSHIRE’S WORKFORCE HOUSING LAW
RSA 674:58 through 61
THE LAW’S CORE MEANING
§ All municipalities must provide reasonable and realistic opportunities for the development of workforce housing, including rental and multi-family housing.
§ The collective impact of all local land use regulations adopted under RSA 674 shall be considered to determine if such opportunities exist (a facial test).
§ Workforce housing of some type must be allowed in a majority of land area where residential uses are permitted (but not necessarily multi-family in a majority of such areas).
§ Existing housing stock shall be accounted for to determine if a municipality is providing its “fair share” of current and reasonably foreseeable regional need for workforce housing.
§ Reasonable restrictions may be imposed for environmental protection, water supply, sanitary disposal, traffic safety, and fire and life safety protection.
It would be nice if our local state leaders took some action to see to it that providing affordable/workforce housing is not solely Keene’s burden. It has been pointed out to me that Keene also benefits from, and by, residents of the surrounding communities and all they do in Keene. No argument from me, there, but I also would like to point out that the towns around the county and region would, for the most part, not exist as they do if it were not for Keene.
Employment, ability to pay their town’s taxes, cultural, retail, commercial, athletic and on and on ... opportunities that exist, not exclusively, but largely in Keene.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all the towns of this region worked together to solve and resolve the workforce housing issue.
FREDERICK B. PARSELLS
11 McKinley St.