To the editor;
At the NH Listens/Rochester Listens public community meeting last evening, I find it ironic that a basic planning requirement was ignored by the city administration.
Planning and how it is enacted in NH is clearly defined in RSA 674. The Master Plan, although not a legal document, needs to be in place before one can adopt a zoning ordinance. Part of this document's requirement is a mandatory requirement of two chapters.
They are VISION and Land Use. Currently, there is no VISION chapter, only one chapter has a brief mention, but it is NOT a VISION chapter. The land use chapter was last updated in 2002, 20 years ago. How can you write a powerful document, without having a Vision?
A master plan is a living breathing document of what our community might look like in the future, and it is recommended to be updated every 5-10 years. It is not an easy task, and it does not mean you take a side of growth/anti-growth or change/anti-change. It is suppose to be guided by public input, the ideas and work of us, we the people.
In 2019, then city planner, at the January meeting noted the Vision chapter needed to be done and did not know if this would be a statement or plan. In October of that same year, the city manager conducted an interview, which is located on the city website, where they go over what is a master plan. You can view and draw your own conclusions.
I have several questions. Why is our Master Plan not reasonably up to date? Why are they not held accountable. Why in the last six months, three yes 3 proposed zoning ordinance changes have been proposed originating from economic development? Cherry picking or creating fragmented zoning is not a wise way to plan for growth.
I was asked why I care about Gonic, as I do not live there. Simple, if they get this zoning change passed, it will happen over and over again and it will be in your neighborhood next. Remember, this is our city, not the administrations.
Step up city council. Show some leadership skills, some directive and set some goals. Put the horse in front of the cart, where it belongs. Who really is shaping Rochester?
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
- Susan Rice,