Published DatePLYMOUTH — Three zoning amendments aimed at placing tighter restrictions on development on the side of Tenney Mountain Highway facing the Baker River were soundly defeated Tuesday.
Supporters who petitioned to have amendments on the town ballot were disappointed in the outcome, while opponents saw the result as boost for economic development.
Of the three proposed amendments, the most crucial would have prohibited the placing or removing of earth from land up to 500 feet from the Baker River. It failed by a vote of 316 in favor to 498 against, according to Valerie Scarborough, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
Mary Crowley, who campaigned for the amendments characterized the outcome as "fairly definitive."
While the amendments, if passed, would have virtually barred development on 465 acres along the river between the Rumney town line and the Pemigewasset River, both Scarborough and Crowley said that vote reflected concerns that changing the ordinance might jeopardize plans for the 76 acre Riverside Landing project which is being eyed as the site for a Market Basket supermarket.
Work is already under way at Riverside Landing for the construction of branch of Bank of New Hampshire and McDonalds, and project developer Mike McGinley announced last week that Market Basket's top management had decided on the Riverside Landing location.
"The result was right for the town," said Scarborough, who said Market Basket would mean 300 new jobs in the town as well as an increase in the town's tax base. "That will help in a town that doesn't have a lake," she said, alluding to other communities in the Lakes Region which derive considerable tax revenue from lakefront property.
"I guess the voters wanted a Market Basket," Crowley said of the amendments' defeat.
The other two amendments — one of which would have subordinated the zoning ordinance to the town's Master Plan and the other to remove any restrictions involving the Environmentally Sensitive Zone to land on the side of Tenney Mountain Highway away from the Baker River — lost by virtually the same margin: 320-494 and 314-502 votes respectively.
Scarborough said that outcome reflected the voters' confidence in the Planning Board's recommendation that all three proposed amendment be defeated.