Victoria Laracy and Andy Dean Oct 8

Victoria Laracy and Andy Dean of the Mt. Washington Valley Housing Coalition present their proposed affordable housing ordinance at the Tuesday selectmen's meeting. (DAYMOND STEER PHOTO)

CONWAY — Following a presentation to selectmen from two members of the Mt. Washington Housing Coalition about a proposed ordinance that would allow more density to developers, a planning board member Tuesday expressed apprehension about the plan.

Coalition Executive Director Victoria Laracy and Chair Andy Dean had previously presented their draft ordinance Sept. 26 to the Conway Planning Board.

Laracy said people who wish to work in the valley are prevented from doing so because of the cost of housing.

The draft affordable housing ordinance is designed to allow developers more density for market rate projects if they set aside up to 25 percent for affordable housing.

The ordinance as proposed would apply to four residential districts in town as spelled out in the zoning ordinance: Residential/Agricultural District, Center Conway Village Residential District, Conway Village Residential District and North Conway Village Residential District. It would not affect the commercial districts.

As proposed, the ordinance’s purpose is to “provide a mechanism to encourage the development of affordable units for moderate and lower income households to meet the needs of the Town of Conway, foster stability within the larger community by providing opportunities for home ownership and long-term rental units, and provide for the sustainability of affordable units in the future through the use of deed restrictions and other legal mechanisms and to further the intent of the Town of Conway to meet the requirements described under New Hampshire RSA 674.”

Dean, 43, of Intervale is a real estate attorney for Cooper Cargill Chant.

He said deed restrictions would prevent the units from becoming short-term rentals for 20 years and they would have to be sold to a qualified buyer.

He said a housing authority, non-profit or the town could enforce the rules.

Following the presentation, Ray Shakir, who is a member of the Conway Planning Board, asked to make a comment.

Shakir said the coalition's goal is "very noble."

But, he added: "The other side of the argument might be that increased density and the affordability factor would create some adverse situations, not the least of which are increased requirements for public services, increased social services and increases in school services.

"Right now," he said, "the taxes, particularly the real estate taxes, are punishing."

Selectmen moved on to the next agenda item without responding.

Before Shakir spoke, Selectman John Colbath asked about the process of submitting the ordinance to voters.

Town Manager Tom Holmes said it has been submitted to the planning board and if the planning board doesn't propose it to voters, the coalition can organize a petitioned warrant article.

Conway residents vote in April. Selectmen next meet Oct. 29.

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