2. Public Involvement in the Planning Process
- Issue Identification Sessions
A total of three issue identification sessions were held. Each session was held in different school facilities to encourage attendance by individuals within each of Conway’s villages. This also promoted the identification of issues at the village level. Sessions were held in early 2002 at Kennett High School (January 15), Pine Tree School (January 29), and John Fuller School (February 7). These sessions provided an opportunity for residents and other interested individuals to discuss important strengths and concerns within the community. Over one hundred residents and stakeholders attended these sessions. The issues identified by participants were grouped as follows: transportation, environment, economic, land use, government/administrative and other. Handouts outlining baseline economic, demographic and housing conditions were provided to participants in order to encourage discussion (a copy of this handout entitled Master Plan Update – Baseline Conditions Summary is contained in an Attachment to this master plan).
- Vision Forums
Three vision forums were held at different venues during late April and early May, 2002. Based on discussions conducted during the issue identification sessions, the vision forums provided participants with an opportunity to share their future vision of Conway. Participants were encouraged to suggest alternative approaches for dealing with issues confronting the town. They were also provided with an Issue Identification Summary Report handout that highlighted topics discussed during the issue identification sessions (a copy of this handout is contained in an Attachment to this master plan).
Each vision forum was divided into three parts. In the first part, a discussion was held with all participants relative to a long-term (ten to twenty years) vision for the town and/or specific areas of the community. Possible methods for achieving these different visions were also briefly discussed. In the second part, participants were divided into smaller groups and provided graphic materials such as maps and various colored markers. The groups were then asked to indicate on the maps where they would like to see various types of future development, open space or other activities in Conway. Once completed, a designated group member presented a summary of each group’s vision. The third and final part of the forum involved distributing disposable cameras to participants with the request to take photographs of places, buildings, open space, and other aspects of Conway that they liked or disliked. Participants were also asked to provide commentary about each photograph. A total of fourteen cameras were returned with comments.
- Charrette – Designing Conway’s Future
Building on the results of the issue identification sessions and the vision forums, a charrette entitled Designing Conway’s Future was held on Saturday, June 22 at the Fox Ridge Resort. The purpose of Designing Conway’s Future was to provide residents with an opportunity to discuss a clear and realistic vision of future development activities and generally provide input into the planning process. Specifically, residents were encouraged to work with community planners and landscape architects to designate development and land preservation sites as well as provide conceptual design ideas.
Residents were encouraged to drop-in between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to provide their input and work with the planning team. A Saturday was selected in order to provide residents who were unavailable during weekdays a chance to offer comments and suggestions. Following the drop-in session, the planning team presented graphic and text-based design elements and concepts that were discussed during Designing for Conway’s Future. The text-based elements and concepts were divided into affinity clusters as well as village-specific concepts. The clustered design elements and concepts included: Center Conway, North Conway, Conway Village, open space, aesthetics, transportation and other design issues.
- Planning Board Meetings
Beginning in January, 2002, the Conway Planning Board initiated regular monthly workshops to discuss procedures and issues relative to updating the master plan as well as reviewing and discussing various draft chapters of the master plan. In all, the Planning Board held over thirty public meetings, workshops and forums. At all of the meetings, no matter the purpose, people were encouraged to attend and offer suggestions and comments on the items discussed or material that had been presented at previous meetings.
- Posting of Master Plan Update Material
Draft materials, prepared for public meetings and draft chapters of the master plan update, were posted on the town’s website (www.conwaynh.org). The website also presented contact information so residents and stakeholders could provide feedback or obtain more information.
3. A Vision for Conway
Recognizing that our natural beauty is our greatest asset, our commitment is to balance growth with the needs of the environment and the community.
A. Housing Goal
- The town should encourage the development of affordable housing. Ideally, the town should participate in a regional housing initiative with other communities and agencies in the Mount Washington Valley to produce an equitable, coordinated approach to encourage affordable housing.
- Encourage the development of residential units above existing and new commercial business establishments within the villages.
- Consider the development of a limited number of higher-density residential developments in close proximity to commercial business establishments along Route 16.
- Consider the development of housing for elderly residents due to the changing demographic patterns.
B. Economic Development Goal
- As Conway’s economy is focused across such a narrow group of sectors, the town should support economic development incentives which encourage diversification of the local employment and business establishment base.
- The town should work with the North Conway Water Precinct (NCWP) and the Conway Village Fire District (CVFD) to ensure that water and sewer infrastructure are in place within the Conway’s industrial zones in order to improve the potential for light industrial, distribution and/or office establishments.
C. Municipal Services and Infrastructure Goal
- The Conway School District should prepare a comprehensive capital improvements plan that addresses the town’s future educational infrastructure needs.
- The Conway School District should work with the town to identify potential sites for any new facilities, especially a high school. Facilities should be designed in a flexible fashion to serve as an educational facility and as a multi-purpose community center that can accommodate performing arts, cultural activities and public gatherings.
- The town should continue to support water and sewer interconnections between the Conway Village Fire District (CVFD) and the North Conway Water Precinct (NCWP). The Board of Selectmen should work with both the CVFD and the NCWP by informing residents and property owners in both service areas about the advantages of inter-connected water and wastewater systems in terms of resource protection and future economic opportunities; developing funding solutions that recognize the difference in tax bases and financing capabilities between the two service areas; and applying for state and federal financial support that is accessible only through the town (i.e. CDBG and CDAG grants).
- The Board of Selectmen should work with both the CVFD and NCWP to plan, coordinate and establish water and sewer improvements on a town-wide scale. Priorities for water and sewer improvements include improved treatment capacity for Conway Village and then line extensions to land designated for industrial use along East Conway Road.
- Explore opportunities for enhancing coordination and cooperation between Conway’s current fire and emergency service providers.
- Consider the changing demographic characteristics of the town’s population such as the shifts in age groups, decreasing household size, the reductions in the number of young singles and families, and the growing number of near seniors and seniors when broadening and/or altering municipal services and infrastructure.
D. Roadways and Transportation Goal
- The town should continue to work with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to reinvent Route 16. Modifications to Route 16 could include landscaped medians, consolidated driveway access points and shared parking.
- Consider revising the town’s parking standards to encourage a more flexible, usable and visually appealing parking system throughout Conway. Adopted measures should include the sizing of parking lots based on reasonable demand, shared parking facilities, encouraging landscaped parking facilities, and placing lots at the back or side of buildings to discourage the visual blight of endless parking lots.
- Incorporate traffic calming measures in various locations throughout Conway to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety and livability in high traffic neighborhoods. Specifically, center island treatments should be incorporated in Conway Village and North Conway Village to act as visual gateways and to slow the pace of traffic.
- Consider adopting new street cross-section plans in both Conway Village and North Conway Village.
- Consider adopting a policy that would permit a decrease in street width in certain locations for environmental and safety reasons.
- Design and incorporate measures to improve way-finding (directional signs) in Conway Village and North Conway Village. Measures may include improving signage, lighting and streetscapes.
E. Recreation Goal
- Support and work with the Conway Recreational Access Committee to create a network of multipurpose trails to connect Conway’s significant athletic, recreation, and open spaces, as well as its schools, libraries, and other public facilities
- Insist that all state road enhancement projects accommodate bicycle lanes.
- Prepare and adopt a bikeway plan that accommodates both roadside and off-road bikeways.
- Investigate the feasibility for developing a municipal skateboard park.
F. Sense of Community Goal
- Design and construct identifiable gateways that signify the entrance to Conway and each of its villages along major roadways.
- Recognize and address the issues and concerns of both year-round and seasonal residents.
- Examine the feasibility and potential for the development of a centralized community gathering area and/or facility to be used as the primary location for major public events by all members of the community.
G. Land Use Goal
- Existing land use patterns in Conway have been created by a multitude of decisions by individuals and various governing bodies over the last two centuries. Changes concerning how land can be developed in the future should, to the extent possible, seek to balance community needs and impacts with the rights of private property owners, while protecting the environment and natural resources.
- Revise the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations and site plan review regulations to achieve the objectives outlined in the master plan. The revised land use regulations should consider environmental, social, fiscal and economic impacts in evaluating development proposals.
- Zoning districts for North Conway Village and Conway Village should contain a higher density mix of residential, commercial and institutional uses. Incentives should be provided for incorporating residential units above existing or proposed commercial establishments. Performance standards for these areas should be developed that define the limits of possible development related impacts such as noise and parking. These zoning areas should incorporate the main corridor through each village as well as the adjacent streets and neighborhood.
- Center Conway Village should be designated as a residential growth area. Although residential development would be the primary use, there should be opportunities for limited neighborhood commercial and institutional development.
- Areas to the south of Center Conway Village and Conway Village (Eaton Road area) and west of the Saco River (West Side Road area) should be designated for low density residential development. Cluster development should be encouraged.
- Water and sewer infrastructure should be extended to the industrial zone along East Conway Road. Performance standards that define the limits of possible development related impacts such as noise, traffic, air pollution, etc., should be incorporated as part of revised land use regulations.
- Development in the Green Hills area north of East Conway Road and east of the Route 16 should be limited to protect farmlands, woodlands, open space, wildlife habitat and scenic areas.
- Encourage the permanent protection of environmentally significant lands to avoid incremental deterioration of qualities which make Conway a desirable community.
- The Route 16 “Strip area” should contain commercial and retail uses based on development standards that address building size and design features that are comparable with the character of Conway. A limited number of high density residential developments should also be considered for this area.
- A local area plan should be prepared for the Route 113/302/16 bypass intersection prior to amending any development provisions affecting that area. This will help protect the area from inappropriate developments and commercial uses that may gravitate to the area.
- An area along Route 302, beginning on the east side of Route 16 and extending into Redstone, should be designated for large commercial, retail, automotive and complementary commercial and service uses.
- The Board of Selectmen should open a dialogue and establish a memorandum of understanding that involves the town, the CVFD and the NCWP in order to coordinate water and sewer infrastructure and municipal planning efforts among all parties.
- Develop a plan for the redevelopment and eventual reuse of the Kearsarge Metallurgical Brownfield site for passive recreational uses that provide connections to the surrounding neighborhoods.
- The town should encourage new commercial development to be constructed on existing sites (infill/redevelopment) rather than on raw undeveloped land.
- Review land use regulations to ensure that wetlands are appropriately protected. This may include a requirement for comprehensive wetland surveys of potential residential and non-residential sites over three acres in size as a part of development reviews.
- Review existing policies for aquifer protection and water conservation.
4. Future Land Use in Conway
- The high density mixed use category applies to North Conway Village and Conway Village. Development in these areas should complement the already established dense mixture of land uses and encourage additional residential and commercial opportunities. The mix should include residential units above existing or proposed commercial establishments, small commercial and business service operations, single and multi-family dwellings, and other compatible uses.
- The commercial and retail zone extends from the intersection of Route 302 and Route 16 and then north along Route 16 to the southern edge of the North Conway Village (“The Strip”). The recommended uses are essentially unchanged from the existing Conway Zoning Ordinance (Highway Commercial Zone). Under the Future Land Use Plan this area would continue to accommodate commercial, retail, service, and hospitality establishments. It should be emphasized that these types of land uses should be concentrated within this area (through infill, redevelopment of existing underutilized properties and finally through the development of vacant land) in order to reduce the potential homogenization of non-residential land uses elsewhere in Conway. In addition to nonresidential uses within the area, limited high-density multi-family residential land uses should also be encouraged.
- The large scale commercial area generally extends from the East side of Route 16 south along Route 302 into Redstone. This area includes the Mountain Valley Mall, Shaw’s, Wal*Mart and Crest Motors. The purpose of this area is to accommodate larger commercial, retail, automotive and service establishments.
- Assuming water and sewer infrastructure are eventually made available to the industrial area along East Conway Road, the boundaries of this area would essentially remain unchanged from the existing Conway Zoning Ordinance. The existing industrial area along Hobbs Street (zoned Industrial 1 under the April 9, 2002 Zoning Ordinance) could be considered a performance based zoning overlay (which defines the limits of possible development related impacts such as noise, traffic, air pollution, etc.) and generally be targeted for assembly, warehousing and other non-noxious industrial uses. While development proposals in the industrial area along East Conway Road would be evaluated based on specific performance standards, a broad range of light manufacturing and industrial uses would be encouraged in contrast to just the assembly and warehousing uses in the Hobbs Street industrial area.
- The neighborhood residential category applies to Center Conway Village. Residential uses should be predominant in this area. Some limited commercial or institutional uses should be encouraged to serve the neighborhood. Limitations relative to water and sewer infrastructure dictate lower development densities than the high density mixed use areas.
- Medium density residential zones should be located to the north and south of Conway Village, as well as to the north of the North Conway Village. The medium density zone would be limited to residential uses.
- Map 1-1 future land use
- Residential planned unit development area applies to land parcels along West Side Road. This large land area would contain primarily single family residential dwellings. However, in order to preserve the scenic value of the area and to protect existing open space, there should be some options to permit residential clustered development. Incentives, such as density bonuses, could be established to encourage residential cluster developments. In order to provide oversight and guidance, it is recommended that any proposed cluster development plan be subject to a site plan review by the Conway Planning Board.
- The planned unit development category applies to two different locations. One area includes property within Intervale, east of Route 16. This area serves as Conway’s northern Gateway. The other area includes the triangular portion of land east of Route 16, west of Route 302 (in Redstone) and north of Route 113 (East Main Street). This triangular shaped area serves an important function in that it provides a scenic buffer between the commercial land uses in North Conway Village (along Route 16) and Conway Village, and the neighborhood residential land uses in Center Conway Village. There, however, are opportunities for limited planned unit development within nodes in this area. Site plan review of prospective developments by the Conway Planning Board should also be required for this type of development in this location in order to preserve the existing scenic and environmental integrity of the area.
- Low-density residential development generally involves areas south of Route 113, Center Conway Village and the proposed bypass.
- The final land use identified on the map is the limited development area which is generally located north of East Conway Road (and the industrial area) and east of Route 16 and North Conway Village. This area would limit, but not entirely restrict, development in order to protect farmlands, woodlands, open space, wildlife habitat and scenic areas. Rigorous performance standards should be established for these areas which would permit certain types of development that would not place undue strain on natural resources.
5. Recommended Changes in Parcel Sizes
- Residential Planned Unit Development (West Side)
In this area, along both sides of West Side Road, there are approximately 5,780 acres located on 1,349 parcels of land. It was determined that 701 of these parcels, under 5 acres, were classified for single family residential uses. These parcels contain about 665 acres. The average parcel size is 0.9 of an acre and the median parcel size is 0.8 of an acre. About 321 of the residential acres are considered undeveloped. As previously noted, it is recommended that this area primarily be devoted to single family residential land uses. It is also recommended that residential uses should be permitted at a density level of about one (1) acre per unit. However, this area could also include some options and/or requirements for cluster types of residential development (density bonuses) which could decrease lot sizes to between 0.5 acres and 0.8 acres per parcel.
- Neighborhood Residential (Center Conway)
This portion of the town, which includes Center Conway, currently contains about 283 acres of land that are located on 111 parcels. Approximately 70 acres have been developed as single-family houses with the average lot size being 1.1 acres and the median lot size being 0.7 of an acre. It is recommended that this area be primarily used for residential purposes with some limited neighborhood commercial uses. In order to retain and complement the existing residential village character of the area, lots should remain at least one acre in size.
- Low-Density Residential (South Conway)
The portion of the town, identified as South Conway, contains approximately 11,435 acres on 756 parcels of land. About 7,726 acres are classified as undeveloped. Residential properties, smaller than five (5) acres, have an average parcel size of 1.5 acres and a median parcel size of 1.2 acres. The primary use of this portion of town, as outlined on Map 1-1, would remain single family residential (2+ acre minimums). There may be opportunities to incorporate cluster type development (similar to the West Side area) that could reduce lot sizes to between 0.5 to 0.8 of an acre. However, since a municipal sewer infrastructure is currently not available in this area, independent sewage disposal systems (ISDS) would typically be needed for a high density or cluster development.
- North Conway Village
This portion of Conway contains a mix of retail, business, recreation and residential land uses. It is estimated that there are 372 parcels in this portion of town on 236 acres. Approximately 78 acres are devoted for single family residential uses and 122 acres for single and multi-family uses. Average parcel size for single family use is about 0.4 of an acre and about 0.5 of an acre for single and multi-family use. As the amount of undeveloped land in North Conway Village is relatively low at 29.8 acres, and to preserve the dense village character of the area, future development density should remain high at 0.25 to 0.5 of an acre per parcel.
- Conway Village
This mixed use area of Conway contains about 326 acres over 371 parcels of land. In terms of residential land uses, about 117 acres are devoted to single family land uses that represent an average parcel size of 0.6 of an acre and median parcel size of 0.5 of an acre. When multi-family and mobile homes are included in residential land uses the amount of total land in residential use increases to 146 acres and the average lot size remains basically the same. Similar to North Conway Village, with the amount of undeveloped land at approximately 30 acres, future development density should remain high, at 0.25 to 0.5 of an acre per parcel, in order to preserve unique village characteristics.
- Large Scale Commercial
This area, which has been designated for large commercial, retail and automotive uses, represents about 134 acres. Currently only about 17 residential parcels, under 19 acres, are located in this area. Currently the average residential parcel size is about 1.1 acres which is primarily due to the lack of water and sewer infrastructure in the area. With future land uses in the area targeted for large commercial, retail and automotive establishments which typically require large parcels of land, future development density should remain relatively low at two (2) to five (5) acres per parcel. Furthermore, performance standards should be incorporated in the area to encourage consolidated driveway access points (thereby reduce the number of “curb cuts”) which helps to minimize traffic impacts on local roads.
|Table 1-1. Parcel Attributes for Specific Portions of Conway by Geographic Area or Zone|
|Town of Conway|
|N. Conway Village||Center Conway||Conway Village||South Conway **||West Conway **||Large Commercial||Total|
|Average Parcel Size||0.6||2.5||0.9||15.1||4.3||2.2||N/A|
|Median Parcel Size||0.4||0.9||0.5||1.6||0.8||1.1||N/A|
|Table 1-2. Single Family Residential Parcel Attributes by Geographic Area or Zone|
|Town of Conway|
|N. Conway Village||Center Conway||Conway Village||South Conway **||West Conway **||Large Commercial||Total|
|Average Parcel Size||.4||1.1||0.6||1.5||0.9||0.9||N/A|
|Median Parcel Size||.3||0.7||0.5||1.2||0.8||0.9||N/A|
|Table 1-3. Residential* Parcel Attributes by Geographic Area or Zone|
|Town of Conway|
|N. Conway Village||Center Conway||Conway Village||South Conway **||West Conway **||Large Commercial||Total|
|Average Parcel Size||0.5||1.2||0.6||1.5||0.9||1.1||N/A|
|Median Parcel Size||0.4||0.7||0.5||1.2||0.7||0.9||N/A|
Source: RKG Associates, Inc.
Note: Does not include road, water or condominium parcels.
*Note: Includes single family, multi-family and mobile home properties.
**Note: Excludes properties over five acres.
Prepared for Town of Conway Planning Board by RKG Associates, Inc.