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Loss of local control in Hampton, NH

Updated: 5 days ago

The recent planning board meetings in the Town of Hampton have raised alarms about the potential loss of local sovereignty due to proposed zoning changes intended to facilitate the construction of affordable and workforce housing.

Key concerns include:

  1. Meeting Rescheduling and Transparency: The meetings were moved to a random Monday, raising concerns about transparency and proper public notice.

  2. Loss of Taxpayer Control: Accepting federal HUD money for low-income housing leads to a loss of local control over how funds are used and who the beneficiaries are, diminishing taxpayer influence.

  3. Master Plan Updates Without a Vote: The Master Plan was updated to include these housing initiatives without a vote, bypassing local democratic processes. Consultants, heavily involved in town planning, are seen as pushing these changes without adequate local input.

  4. Rewriting Zoning Laws to Align with State Laws: Zoning laws are being rewritten to align with state laws, purportedly for easier understanding. However, this move is viewed as unnecessary and a threat to local autonomy.

  5. Unnecessary Government Grants: The town has already accepted a HOP grant, with more funding expected. Residents argue there is no obligation to accept these funds, which come with strings attached.

  6. External Influence and Agenda: Jennifer Rowden from the County Commissioner’s Office is perceived as imposing a state-driven agenda on Hampton. Her presentations, based on federal data, are seen as pushing a nationwide narrative that may not fit Hampton’s specific needs.

  7. Questionable Need for Housing: There is skepticism about the actual need for more affordable housing in Hampton. Residents question the relevance of building more housing when neighboring towns like Exeter and Portsmouth are already doing so.

  8. Negative Impact on Community: Concerns include increased taxes, reduced safety, environmental degradation, overcrowding, and a loss of the town’s character and beauty. There are also worries about insufficient non-seasonal jobs and an increased burden on local resources and infrastructure.

  9. Preference for Local Solutions: Some suggest supporting long-time homeowners with grant money and allowing private companies to work directly with the community to develop housing responsibly, avoiding government interference and maintaining local control over tenant selection.

In summary, the proposed zoning changes and acceptance of government funds for affordable housing are seen as a direct threat to Hampton’s local control, with significant potential downsides for the community’s quality of life and autonomy. Residents are encouraged to attend meetings, stay informed, and oppose these changes to protect Hampton’s local sovereignty and community character. There is a strong sentiment that the town can maintain its unique identity without succumbing to external pressures. Residents are urged to actively participate in the decision-making process to safeguard their town’s future.

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