Meredith reinventing Business & Industry (zoning) District

MEREDITH — Among the four amendments to the zoning ordinance recommended by the Planning Board is one that would expand and define the uses permitted in the "Business and Industry District" while maintaining the character of district, particularly its place in the Lake Waukewan watershed.

The district was established in 1983 and consists of approximately 241 acres along Rte. 104 between Rte. 3 to the east and Pease Road and Winona Road to the west. Reservoir Brook meanders through the district before flowing into Lake Waukewan. Of the 63 parcels within the district, 47 are developed and 16 are vacant. The district is screened from the highway a natural or landscaped buffer 50 feet from the right-of-way.

The purpose of the district was to reserve space for industrial growth by prohibiting most commercial uses while providing land for large office buildings. The permitted industrial uses are confined to those without adverse environmental impacts. Currently some 55 firms operate in the district. These include industrial and construction businesses along with service contractors, like landscaping, street sweeping, vehicle repair and an ambulance service.

Recently the district has become home to the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, as well as a chiropractic office, martial arts studio, fitness center and visiting nurse association, all far from the industrial uses originally envisioned.

The amendment would tailor the general purpose of the district to capture the diversity of uses it has come to house over the past 30 years while distinguishing it from residential and retail zones. The district is described as "ideal for small to medium size businesses" that do not "depend on high visibility from the roadway."

The permitted uses include light manufacturing, commercial printing, warehousing, laboratories, storage, building materials, clinics, offices and firewood processing. Building trades, equipment rental and repair, vehicle service, child care, recreational and cultural facilities, schools and restaurants would be permitted by special exception. The uses are clearly defined by the proposed ordinance.