Published DateTo the editor,
Laconia Planning Director Shanna Saunders calls the $50,000 grant for the "storytelling" development "our storytelling grant" — A grant awarded to the city by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority to fund the development of architectural standards for downtown and The Weirs.
The stakeholders are the Ironwood Design Group,LLC of Exeter and Sheer McCrystal Paison Architecture Inc. of New London.
FBC, meaning Form Base Code, is a departure from conventional zoning. FBC zoning defines a one block parcel and is a method to REGULATE the development of buildings, floor areas, car free movement, garden city, new urbanism, settlement growth, smart growth, and transition towns.
At a minimum, a form base code, written to enable or preserve a specific urban form, consists of a building form, and public spaces, standards keyed to a REGULATORY plan. An urban design is the intention or goal; the form base code is the regulatory tool to achieve it. FBS is a tool to provide local government the regulatory means to achieve development objectives with greater certainty, bypassing local ZBA authority and the board of selectman and elected officials.
Ironwood Design Group is all about landscape architecture, urban design, and environmental plans for someone else's property. This group is affiliated with Plan NH — Granite State Future. Stakeholders like this company profit by using this FBC, whose focus is primarily on regulating (the word of worry) urban form and less on land use. This will infringe on our personal property rights and is unconstitutional, as stated in Art. 2 — Natural Rights, in the N.H. Bill of Rights! Regulate, my worry word means, "to control or direct by a rule, principle,or method, to adjust in accordance with some standard or requirement."
Form-based-codes include: architectural standards — these are regulations controlling external architectural materials and quality; landscaping standards — regulations controlling landscape design, and plant materials on private property as they impact public spaces; regulations about parking lot screening and shading, maintaining sight lines, ensuring unobstructed pedestrian movements; signage standards — regulations controlling allowable signage sizes, materials, illumination and placement; environmental resource standards — regulations controlling issues such as storm water drainage and infiltration,development on slopes, tree protection and solar access; annotation — text and illustrations explaining the intentions of specific code provisions.
Once you lose development rights, you have essentially lost control of your property, no matter what the people or the local government proclaim. Only you are responsible for the property taxes, and your land use is regulated!
Development rights to one's property are infringed by obeying shifting regulations and enhanced "best practices mandated by the new development rights' holder.
Please research form base code and refuse this grab by people who are out to make money and could care less about the individual. I love the Weirs and its antiquity and style, do not change the view or be regulated into this ruse to control your individual rights and behavior! The city of Dover and town of Strafford, have FBS and are unhappy with the regulations! They were duped by conversations with only the input of a minority of people, and without a majority of the voting public. Beware of these "listening sessions employed by Plan NH and NH Listens, using the Delphi Technique to obtain an already written agenda, while giving the public the illusion that they created the issues!
Does the Planning Director know about this devious and unethical method of stealing the residents right to regulate their own property? The residents of Laconia need to ask and obtain the knowledge about FBC and go to the Granite State Futures web site and learn about how the Lakes Region Planning Commission is involved in our everyday behaviors, and is planning to change us and our liberties as property owners and citizens. Another point of interest is that the nine regional planning commissions are unelected people, who are trying to change our great state of N.H.
We also need to be aware of grants associated with the HUD-1044 grant instrument, and the strings attached, and any other grant that gives the illusion of "storytelling". Research the Orton Family Foundation.