Ch 9 - Land Use and Community Design Features

Ch 9 - Land Use and Community Design Features

1. Introduction

This chapter of the master plan examines land uses and community design features within the Town of Conway. Recent changes in New Hampshire statutes dealing with the preparation of master plans expanded the types of sections that could be included in a community’s master plan (2002). A key change was the addition of a community design section [RSA 674:2 III(k)]. Under this enabling statute a community design section may be used “…to identify positive physical attributes in a municipality and provide for design goals and policies for planning in specific ways to guide private and public development”.

This chapter is divided into three parts. The first part of the chapter provides an assessment of the use of land from the perspective of major land use types (including residential, commercial, institutional and undeveloped) that currently exist within Conway. The second part of the chapter presents a build-out analysis, relating to the future development of Conway, based on the town’s existing zoning regulations. The third part of the chapter contains an analysis of existing community design attributes and presents alternative design elements and options for various locations throughout Conway. These design features are based on numerous public discussions throughout the master plan update process including a one-day design charrette, entitled Designing Conway’s Future, which was conducted in June 2002.

The data used to conduct the land use analysis was derived primarily from information in the town’s computerized assessment database and geographic information system (GIS), combined with input from local officials and site reconnaissance of the community. The town’s property assessment database contains characteristics related to the use and assessed value of each land parcel within the town, including a detailed set of land use codes. By combining the town’s assessment data with the GIS parcel base map prepared for this master plan, an Existing Land Use Conditions Map was prepared that provides a current “snapshot” of land utilization within Conway. The data obtained from the assessment records, as well as the GIS base map, were updated through January, 2002.

- Footnotes

[1] This estimate is similar to the total land area estimate presented in a 2000 land use inventory report prepared by the Conway Planning Department.

[2] It should be noted that the MC district is an overlay zone and therefore overlaps a considerable portion of the neighboring RR district. As such, the acreage estimate within the MC district incorporates acres within both the MC and RR districts. Therefore, the aggregated acreage total for all of the town’s zoning districts is overstated as compared to Table 9-1 (Total Acres by Land Use Type).

[3] Qualified land is defined as land that is suitable for development based on an analysis of topography, slopes and soil suitability.

[4] Existing residence with a minimum of a three acre parcel of land.

[5] Due to severe topographical features, development restrictions and other constraints, the gross acreage estimates used for the RR and MC zoning districts represent acres that potentially could be developed and not the aggregate acreage for each zoning district.

[6] Additional information on Conway’s trails and bicycle routes is available in Chapter 6 (Recreation) and Chapter 7 (Transportation Assessment).