Note: this version of the IGMR contains additions requested by planning board members at the June 3, 2003 meeting and is not the posted version of the regulation. These changes are shown to prepare citizens for additions likely to be made at the public hearing on July 15, 2003. (Additions are in red, and deletions are in gray.) This is a draft, subject to Planning Board review.


Interim Growth Management Regulation
Revisions requested at Planning Board meeting of June 3, 2003

  1. Authority: Pursuant to RSA 674:23 the Town of Farmington hereby enacts an Interim Growth Management Regulation.
  2. Statement of Need: Recent development proposals in the town raise questions about whether the existing Master Plan, zoning ordinance, subdivision and site review regulations adequately reflect the Planning Board's and the community's expectations for logical and desirable development in the town. Particularly, there are concerns about the following FINDINGS OF FACT:
    1. The Farmington Master Plan was last updated in 1998. Based on the deficiencies listed herein, and the recommendations for Master Plan updates in RSA 674:3 it is clear that there is a significant need for a comprehensive update to this critical planning document.
    2. That the future land use and housing sections of the Master Plan need re-examination to the extent that the existing housing mix in town may cause the board to re-evaluate the permitted density of housing development in all areas of town. There is particular concern that too much development at too great a density is occurring too quickly in the urban areas of town, and that such development is creating negative traffic, septic, water, drainage and wetland impacts, Also that development is occurring in the outlying areas in a manner resulting in sprawl, habitat and eco-system fragmentation. Reexamination of these issues and impacts will provide the Planning Board with an opportunity to alleviate these impacts and re-direct development in such a way that minimizes these impacts in the future;
    3. The Farmington Capital Improvement Program (CIP), the Farmington Master Plan, and the Farmington Zoning Ordinance do not adequately address public impact fees per RSA 674:21.
    4. The 2002 tax rate in Farmington increased by thirty-eight percent (38%) in a single year, a situation not helped by the low ratio of commercial land use to residential land use,
    5. That the Zoning Ordinance does not consider innovative land use controls in accordance with RSA 674:21 for, including but not limited to, cluster housing, timing incentives, transfer of development rights, impact fees, performance standards and planned unit development.
    6. There is a shortage of undeveloped land with access to water and sewer services. There may be rural areas of town to which the Selectmen may recommend the extension of water and sewer utility service and that such areas may not be currently zoned for more intensive type of land use in the present Master Plan;
    7. Based on anticipated changes in EPA standards for municipal wastewater plants a sewer plant upgrade is expected by the year 2005. This upgrade will may increase capacity to allow greater densities of development in areas now serviced and expansion into areas yet defined, although it is projected to increase water and sewer rates by 28%. Water and sewer rates increased by 26% in 2001,
    8. The current municipal landfill situation is being closely evaluated. Without improvements to the current landfill site, capacity is expected to be reached by the year 2007. Funding sources for landfill closures are limited and privatization options are being explored. Farmington will soon be faced with the task of determining where to dispose of its future municipal solid waste materials and the associated increased costs.
    9. For the years 1994-1997 the average annual building permits issued was twenty (20). For the years 1998-2001, the average annual building permits issued was fifty-two (52). This means that new homes were being added more than two-and-a-half times faster. In addition, between January 1, 2000 and June 1, 2003, there are were currently over two hundred (200) new housing units the approval of which are sought or were granted within the Town of Farmington, which represents a minimum increase of 8.6% in new housing units or new lots created for housing units.
    10. The current Aquifer Protection Ordinance does not adequately protect the primary aquifers as represented on the new NHDES/USGS mapping;
    11. That the Master Plan does not identify important assets such as farmlands, forestland, viewsheds and lands abutting waterways.
    12. Continued scattered growth is causing the fragmentation of wildlife habitats, and that the existing Master Plan does not inventory with sufficient detail, address and prioritize those remaining undeveloped areas of land based upon their environmental characteristics and sensitivity.
    13. The Town of Farmington is within commuting distance of the seventh least affordable housing market (Portsmouth, NH) in the entire country. Also, planning decisions in several towns south of Farmington do not adequately address their regional impact. These conditions are creating accelerated residential development in Farmington which the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance do not adequately address.
    14. That the Planning Board has been so burdened with the responsibilities of subdivision and site plan review that it has not had the time or resources to adequately take up and study these issues and concerns;
    15. That these planning issues are very complex, are often inseparably intertwined, and have not been amenable to satisfactory solution under the terms of the current Master Plan, Zoning Ordinance and Regulations; and
  3. These findings of fact constitute "unusual circumstances" requiring prompt attention. For the purpose of altering the Town's Master Plan, Subdivision and Site Review Regulations, and investigating the addition of growth management processes to the Zoning Ordinance per RSA 674:22, the Town of Farmington Planning Board recommends the adoption of an interim growth regulation per NH RSA 674:23 within the Town of Farmington to permit the Planning Board to study and examine these issues. The following activities shall not be permitted:
    1. New residential subdivisions
    2. New condominium development
    3. New multi-family development
  4. Exemption for certain types of subdivisions: Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, the following shall be exempt from this regulation:
    1. annexations and boundary line adjustments, wherein additional parcels or lots are not created,
    2. subdivision of one lot into two within the period of this ordinance,
    3. development proposed within existing structures.
  5. Expiration: This ordinance shall be in effect for a period of one year from the adoption of this ordinance.
  6. Separability: If any article, section, sub-section, sentence, clause of phrase of this section is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this section and/or other Town Regulations in effect at the time.