To The Daily Sun,
The Planning Board states in their recent editorial that the Town of Alton continues to work on implementing the recommendations outlined in the 2005 Alton Master Plan. Actually, it's the Planning Board not the citizens of the town that are doing this. The board talks glowingly about the grant received from New Hampshire Housing of money from HUD, a federal agency. This grant provided money for a consultant, a traveling road show to promote workforce housing and the appearance of an article on the 2014 ballot. The town administrator insisted (to me) that the grant was not a binding agreement when it obviously was if an article must appear on the ballot. And as for local control remaining in place, read the entire grant document and the fine print and you will see this is not the case.
The Planning Board editorial states that there was community participation. It's true that many citizens participated in public meetings about this issue but they were overwhelmingly against workforce housing when they did. This was reflected last year when several similar warrant articles were voted down. Results of the recent study showed that Alton already meets the requirements of the state law. We have a considerable number of single family homes and rental apartments well within the price range. Putting more multi-family dwellings or cluster housing in town or in our beautiful rural areas is not something the majority of Alton citizens feel will benefit our town. One needs only to take a look at how neighboring towns have been altered by these additions. As for addressing future needs if the economy improves, well this is not likely to happen anytime soon with the current crop of officials in Concord and Washington.
The bottom line is that this article was not drafted by Alton residents but by the Zoning Amendment Committee and the town planner with the help of the consultant from the firm Jeffrey H. Taylor and Associates. We believe that it is time for town officials to challenge the state and federal governments when bad, restrictive laws are forced down our throats. Re-wording the warrant articles does not alter the outcome of what they could do to our town. The Workforce Housing Law is a clear attack on our property rights and freedoms.
Please read all warrant articles on the upcoming ballot carefully to determine if they are good or bad for our town.
Phil & Chris Wittmann