Town of Bedford, NH
Hillsborough County
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[Added 3-10-1987]

§ 275-30 Authority and purpose.

A. 
This article is adopted pursuant to the provisions of RSA 674:21, Innovative Land Use Controls.
B. 
The cluster residential development (CRD) option is intended to enable and encourage greater flexibility in the design of residential subdivisions than would otherwise be possible following conventional subdivision practice. By allowing reduced lot sizes, housing can be developed in such a manner as to promote the most appropriate use of land; to facilitate the economical and efficient provision of public services; to promote open space conservation; to protect the natural and scenic attributes of the land; and to expand opportunities for the development of affordable housing in the Town of Bedford, all in accordance with the goals and objectives of the adopted Master Plan.
[Amended 3-14-2000]

§ 275-31 Districts where applicable.

The cluster residential development option shall be available only within the General Residential and the Residential Agricultural Districts.

§ 275-32 General provisions.

A. 
Minimum tract area. The minimum tract area for a cluster residential development shall contain at least 15 acres.
B. 
Permitted use. Cluster residential developments shall be restricted to the following uses:
[Amended 3-14-2000]
(1) 
Single detached dwellings;
(2) 
Single attached dwellings used exclusively as elderly housing;
(3) 
One- to four-unit attached dwellings used exclusively for workforce ownership housing;
[Added 3-10-2009]
(4) 
Structures that are accessory to the above-listed principal residential uses; and
(5) 
The following accessory uses, which are permitted as common facilities for the use or benefit of residents of the CRD:
(a) 
Outdoor recreational facilities, including tennis courts, golf courses, swimming pool, basketball courts, playgrounds, beaches, docks, and trails;
(b) 
Indoor recreational facilities, including a swimming pool, clubhouse, cabana, spa, and tennis courts;
(c) 
Storage facilities for CRD maintenance equipment; and
(d) 
Community gardens, agricultural and horticultural operations, and timber management.
C. 
Prohibited uses. The following uses are prohibited in the CRD District:
[Added 3-11-2003; amended 7-13-2011]
(1) 
Helipads on any lot or open space within a cluster development; and
(2) 
The keeping or raising of livestock and poultry on the premises of any lot or open space within a cluster development. Livestock and poultry shall include but not be limited to cattle, goats, sheep, swine, horses, buffalo, bison, llamas, alpacas, emus, ostriches, yaks, elk, deer, chickens, turkeys, or guinea fowl.
D. 
Bedroom limitation. In the absence of municipal sewer system to service the cluster development, the number of bedrooms per unit shall be determined by the Soils and Steep Slope Regulation within the Bedford Subdivision Regulations.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Former Subsection (c), Home occupation prohibition, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 3-9-1999.
E. 
Water and sewerage service.
(1) 
Water system. All dwelling units shall be served by a municipal water system if access to such system is available within 1,000 feet of the tract, except where preempted by state law; otherwise, all units shall be served by a single or community water system or individual wells.
[Amended 3-11-2014]
(2) 
Sewerage system. All dwelling units shall also be served by the municipal sewerage system if access to such system is available within 1,000 feet of the tract; otherwise, all units shall be served by a single or community sewerage system.
[Added 3-8-1988]
F. 
Construction inspection. The developer shall be responsible for paying the costs of providing additional construction inspection services in situations where the magnitude of the development is such that it would overburden the Building Code Official.
G. 
Compliance with local regulations. All cluster residential development proposals shall comply with all applicable provisions of this chapter; the Subdivision and Nonresidential Site Plan Review Regulations; and other pertinent ordinances, regulations, and policies of the Town of Bedford.
H. 
Private roads. Private roads will be acceptable within the development, provided that they are designed and constructed in accordance with Town road standards, except that the Planning Board may approve reductions in the required right-of-way width and modifications in block design standards.
I. 
Water and sewerage facilities. Water and sewerage facilities shall be designed and installed in accordance with local and state standards. Municipal or community systems shall be located within the rights-of-way of the internal street system. The design and layout of such facilities must have prior written approval of appropriate local and state authorities. Such facilities shall be installed at the expense of the developer.
J. 
Common open space area. The common open space area, as herein defined, shall constitute at least 25% of the total tract area and shall be comprised of environmentally sensitive areas as well as land suitable for parks, recreation, conservation, or agricultural purposes. Of the minimum common open space area, no more than 25% shall be comprised of environmentally sensitive areas including surface water bodies, land defined as the Wetland Conservation District, and in the absence of municipal sewerage facilities or municipal water facilities, soil types classified as "N/A" (Not Allowed) in the Soils and Steep Slopes Regulations contained in the Subdivision Regulations of the Town of Bedford.
[Amended 3-14-2000]
K. 
Wetland Conservation District. The Wetland Conservation District shall be as defined in Article IV of this chapter.
L. 
Net developable area. Net developable area is that portion of the tract which remains after deducting the following from the total tract area:
[Added 3-14-1989]
(1) 
Actual public/private right-of-way area(s) for streets and utilities;
(2) 
All surface water bodies;
[Added 3-12-1996]
(3) 
One-hundred percent of all Hydric A soils and 75% of Hydric B soils; and
[Amended 3-11-1997]
(4) 
In the absence of municipal sewerage facilities or municipal water facilities, all soil types classified as "N/A" (Not Allowed) in the Soils and Steep Slope Regulations contained in the Subdivision Regulations of the Town of Bedford.
[Amended 3-12-1996]

§ 275-33 Permitted density.

A. 
Definition. The permitted density is the number of dwelling units allowed in the development. This number shall not exceed the number which would be allowed using conventional subdivision requirements for the zoning district(s) in which the cluster residential development is proposed except for density bonuses permitted for workforce ownership housing developments provided for in Subsection B of this section.
[Amended 3-10-2009]
B. 
Computation of permitted density. The total number of dwelling units/lots that shall be permitted on a tract of land proposed for a cluster residential development shall be determined by the following steps:
(1) 
Computation of lot size
[Amended 3-12-1996]
(a) 
Where municipal sewerage facilities or municipal water facilities will serve the development, compute the minimum lot size using Table 1, Table of Dimensional Requirements, in § 275-22, Dimensional Regulations;
(b) 
Where community or individual septic systems and community or individual wells will serve the development, compute the minimum lot size using Table 1A of the soils and steep slope regulations of the Subdivision Regulations of the Town of Bedford.
(c) 
The computation is a weighted average of all usable soils.
(d) 
Usable soils are the soils of the tract minus surface water bodies, 100% of Hydric A soils and 75% of Hydric B soils, and soil types classified as "N/A" (Not Allowed) identified in Table 1A.
[Amended 3-11-1997]
(2) 
Compute the dwelling unit density by using the following formula:
(a) 
Divide the "net developable area" (see definition) by the minimum lots size as computed in Subsection B(1)(a) or (b).
[Amended 3-12-1996]
(b) 
One additional lot shall be permitted for each four acres of Hydric B.
[Amended 3-11-1997]
(3) 
Sites in more than one zone
[Added 3-14-1989]
(a) 
If the proposed cluster residential development is located in more than one zoning district, then the total number of dwelling units allowed within the tract shall be the sum of those allowed for the portion of land lying within each zoning district.
(b) 
Where the calculation results in a fraction of a unit, and the fraction is 1/2 or greater, the number of units may be rounded to the next larger whole number.
(4) 
Workforce ownership housing. Based on the final density computations listed in this section, any cluster residential development that seeks to include workforce ownership housing in the development shall be permitted to increase the number of allowable units by 1/3, provided that:
[Added 3-10-2009]
(a) 
All of the bonus units are made affordable based on the requirements for workforce ownership housing in § 275-6 of this chapter;
(b) 
The workforce ownership units must retain the development criteria and affordability standards herein for a minimum period of 30 years through a suitable deed restriction, easement or other instrument deemed acceptable to the Bedford Planning Board (the "affordability restriction") and as monitored through reports provided to the Bedford Planning Department prior to the time of unit sale or resale; and the thirty-year affordability restriction shall recommence upon the sale of workforce ownership property subject to the affordable restriction if the workforce ownership property is sold prior to the expiration of the current affordability restriction;
(c) 
Occupancy in the development is not restricted to any age group;
(d) 
The cluster development provides more than 50% of the units in the development with two or more bedrooms;
(e) 
Workforce housing units shall be similar in exterior appearance and otherwise visually indistinguishable from market-rate units and dispersed throughout the development;
(f) 
Workforce housing units must be constructed in proportional relationship to market-rate units in the development, and all workforce housing units must be completed and made available for sale before the final 10% of the market-rate units are approved for occupancy.

§ 275-34 Design requirements.

A. 
Diversity and originality. Diversity and originality in lot layout and individual building design shall be encouraged to achieve the best possible relationship between development and the land.
B. 
Drainage. Natural surface drainage channels shall be either incorporated into the overall site design or shall be preserved as part of the required open space.
C. 
Architectural styles. Architectural styles which are compatible with the natural amenities and topography of the site will be encouraged.
D. 
Design priorities. Lots, buildings, streets, parking areas, and cluster units shall be designed and arranged to:
(1) 
Minimize alteration of the natural site features to be preserved;
(2) 
Relate to surrounding properties;
(3) 
Improve the view from and view of buildings;
(4) 
Lessen the area devoted to motor vehicle access; and
(5) 
Avoid the adverse effects of noise, shadows, lights, and traffic on the residents of the development.
E. 
Open space.
(1) 
That portion of the common open space area which is not comprised of environmentally sensitive areas, but which is comprised of land suitable for parks, recreation, conservation, or agricultural purposes, shall have a shape, dimensions, character, and location that will ensure its usability for those purposes by all residents of the CRD. Forty percent of the minimum common open space area, all of which is suitable for parks, recreation, conservation, or agricultural purposes, shall be retained in contiguity. The first acre of such common open space retained in contiguity shall have a minimum horizontal dimension, whether length or width, of 200 feet, and there shall be an additional 25 feet of minimum horizontal dimension for each additional acre of such common open space retained in contiguity.
[Amended 3-14-2000]
[Example #1. In the case of a minimum CRD tract area of 15 acres, 25% of the tract, or a total of 3.75 acres, is required for common open space. Forty percent of the common open space which amounts to 1.5 acres, is required to be contiguous and suitable for parks, recreation, conservation, or agricultural purposes, and have a minimum dimension of 200 feet. The acre and a half of usable open space which would be provided in this minimum size CRD is a reasonable area for a small neighborhood playground or passive park.]
[Example #2. A one-hundred-acre CRD would yield 25 acres of common space of which 10 acres would be required to be contiguous and suitable for parks, recreation, conservation, or agricultural purposes with a minimum dimension of 425 feet. Ten acres of usable open space represents an adequate area to support park facilities and playfields, or alternatively, is coincident with the current use standards for a range of open space uses including agriculture and forestry.]
(2) 
Open space areas shall be easily accessible to pedestrians. The Planning Board is empowered to require pedestrian walks which shall interconnect all dwelling units and open space area.
(3) 
The common open space may be used for the following park, recreation, conservation, or agricultural purposes:
[Amended 3-14-2000]
(a) 
Outdoor recreational facilities, provided that no more then 10% of the required common open space be devoted to outdoor recreational facilities with impervious surfaces such as tennis courts, swimming pools, and basketball courts;
(b) 
Community water supply wells;
(c) 
Community leaching systems of subsurface wastewater disposal systems;
(d) 
Community gardens, and agricultural and horticultural operations; and
(e) 
Timber management.
F. 
External boundaries of the tract.
(1) 
Minimum frontage. The minimum frontage on a state-or Town-maintained road of Class V designation, or better, shall be 100 feet in the aggregate which may consist of two fifty-foot rights-of-way serving as access to the development.
(2) 
Buffer zone.
(a) 
All single detached dwellings, together with any accessory buildings, structures, driveways, and other man-made improvements, shall be located a minimum of 50 feet from the external boundary of a cluster residential development. The fifty-foot perimeter buffer shall be comprised of existing vegetation and shall be included in the square footage of each lot area.
(b) 
All single attached dwellings, together with any accessory buildings, structures, and parking facilities, shall be located a minimum of 100 feet from the external boundary of a cluster residential development. The Planning Board may permit streets and utilities to cross through the one-hundred-foot buffer area, and may allow certain outdoor recreational facilities within this area, provided that such improvements are compatible with adjacent land uses. Existing vegetation, including significant large trees, shall be preserved in this area, and the Planning Board may require additional landscape materials to be integrated with the existing vegetation in order to provide effective screening on a year-round basis between the CRD and adjacent land uses.
(c) 
The buffer shall be located and flagged by a surveyor licensed by the State of New Hampshire, and permanent markers identifying the buffer and its no-disturbance requirement shall be placed along the contour of the buffer, generally not more than 75 feet apart. Where buffers intersect property lines, the marker shall also be placed on the property line.
[Added 3-12-2013]
G. 
Internal design requirements.
(1) 
The total number of dwelling units that will be allowed in a cluster residential development shall be determined as shown under § 275-33, Permitted density, of these provisions. There shall be no required minimum lot size for individual building lots within a CRD; however, lot sizes must comply with Env-Ws 1005.06 of the Subdivision and Individual Sewage Disposal System Design Rules of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
[Amended 3-14-2000]
(2) 
The road frontage for individual building lots within clusters shall be negotiated between the Planning Board and the developer in the interest of encouraging flexibility in site design.
(3) 
The following standards shall govern building setback:
(a) 
The depths of all front yards (measured from building to right-of-way) within individual clusters shall not be less than 30 feet; and
(b) 
The depth of side and rear yards (measured from building to property lines) shall not be less than 20 feet.
[Added 3-14-1989]
(4) 
Each new cluster residence that is served by an individual septic system and is less than 20,000 square feet in area may be required to submit a final grading plan to the Planning Board as part of the submission for Planning Board approval.
[Added 3-14-2000]
H. 
Lots abutting preexisting single dwelling residences. To ensure the protection of preexisting residences, the Planning Board has the option of requiring that proposed cluster lots abutting lots with an existing single residence will conform to the minimum area requirements of the abutting lots.
[Amended 3-12-1996]
I. 
Design standards for single detached dwellings. Single detached dwellings shall be located on individual lots. The structures may be placed on the lots in a zero lot line arrangement such that one side yard setback is eliminated. Where a zero lot line arrangement is proposed for single detached dwellings located on individual lots, the Planning Board may allow one of the side yard setbacks to be reduced or eliminated in a consistent pattern for all lots, provided that the side yard setbacks on adjacent lots shall not be eliminated in such a manner so as to result in the single detached dwellings located thereon sharing a party wall.
[Added 3-14-2000]
J. 
Design standards for single attached dwelling for elderly and workforce housing.
[Added 3-14-2000; amended 3-10-2009]
(1) 
There shall be a maximum of four single attached dwellings per building. There shall be a minimum of 50 feet of separation between all such buildings.
(2) 
Each single attached dwelling shall have available a private yard of at least 500 square feet adjacent to the building and dedicated to the exclusive use of the residents of said building. The private yard space may contain patios, decks, fences, landscaping, gardens, and other outdoor facilities.
[Amended 3-10-2009]
(3) 
The installation of residential sprinkler systems shall be required for buildings containing single attached dwellings. Where municipal water service is not available, on-site water storage facilities shall be designed and installed to provide fire protection and suppression capabilities for buildings containing single attached dwellings.
[Amended 3-11-2008]
(4) 
Workforce ownership housing units shall be designed to be similar in exterior appearance, scale and massing and be otherwise visually indistinguishable from market-rate units in the development. They shall also be geographically dispersed throughout the development.
[Added 3-10-2009]

§ 275-35 Management requirements.

An integral part of the cluster residential development submission requires the preparation and presentation to the Planning Board, by the developer, of the proposed articles of association or incorporation which establishes the homeowners' association. Said document must be approved, in writing, by the Planning Board prior to the granting of development approval, but only after legal review by the Board's counsel. The cost of such legal review shall be borne by the developer. Any proposed changes in such articles of association or incorporation shall require the prior written approval of the Planning Board. The following shall apply to the provisions of the articles of association or incorporation:
A. 
Membership.
(1) 
Membership in the homeowners' association shall be mandatory for cluster subdivision property owners and made a required covenant in all deeds issued or passed.
(2) 
The association shall provide voting and use rights in the open space area(s) when applicable and may charge dues or levy assessments to cover expenses which may include tax liabilities of common areas and for the maintenance of such common areas, open space areas, improvements, rights-of-way, utilities, etc.
(3) 
Such organization shall be responsible for the perpetuation, maintenance, and function of all common lands, uses, and facilities.
B. 
Restrictive covenants.
(1) 
All lands and improvements shall be described and identified as to location, size, use, and control in a restrictive covenant.
(2) 
These restrictive covenants shall be written so as to run with the land and become a part of the deed of each lot or dwelling unit within the development.
C. 
Continuance of restrictive covenants and the association.
(1) 
Such restrictive covenants and the association shall continue in effect so as to control the availability of facilities for their intended function, and to protect the development from additional unplanned densities and use.
(2) 
Such association shall not be dissolved, nor shall such association dispose of any common, open space or natural land by sale or otherwise, except to an organization or association conceived and organized to own and maintain such areas, without prior written consent of the Planning Board.
D. 
Open space land.
(1) 
Except as may otherwise be allowed by the Planning Board in accordance with this article, any and all open space lands within a cluster residential development tract shall be held in common ownership by the dwelling unit owners.
[Amended 3-14-2000]
(2) 
All open space, however, has been set aside to lessen the environmental impact of subdivisions on the Town. Therefore, any change in the open space, other than to maintain it in reasonable order and condition in accordance with the approved final plan, requires prior written approval of the Planning Board.
E. 
Failure to maintain open space areas.
(1) 
Notification by Town. In the event that the organization established to own and maintain the open space areas, or any successor organization, or the owner or owners of the dwelling units located within the development who own said open space shall, for any reason, fail to maintain the open space in reasonable order and condition in accordance with the approved final plan, the Town Council shall serve written notice upon such organization, successor organization, or residents setting forth the deficiencies in the maintenance, order, and condition of the open space.
(2) 
Contents of notice. Such notice shall include a demand that said deficiencies be cured forthwith and that a statement of intent to comply and a date of compliance shall be filed with the Town Council within 14 days of said notice.
(3) 
Public hearing. If such maintenance shall not have been performed or said statement of intent shall not have been filed by the stated time, the Town Council shall hold a public hearing, with notice to the officers of the organization and notice as required by RSA 676:4(d). At the hearing, the organization or the residents of the development shall show cause why such maintenance has not been performed.
[Amended 3-11-2003]
(4) 
Court action. Following the hearing, the Town may initiate court action to remedy the violation, including the right to enter and perform the necessary maintenance, the right to recoup costs associated with such maintenance, the right to place liens on individual units, the right to levy fines, and the right to collect attorney's fees.
[Amended 3-11-2003]
(5) 
Compatibility with existing documents. Provisions of this section shall in no way be in derogation of, or supplant the rights of the Town as provided in any declaration or other documents related to a cluster which are recorded in the Registry of Deeds.
[Amended 3-11-2003]
F. 
Cost of such maintenance by the Town.
(1) 
The cost of such maintenance by the Town shall be assessed against the properties in the development in direct relation to their proportionate interest in the common area and shall become a tax lien on said properties.
(2) 
At the time of entering upon said common areas for the purpose of maintenance, notice of such lien shall be filed in the office of the Hillsborough County Register of Deeds.

§ 275-36 CRD options involving two noncontiguous tracts

[Added 3-14-2000]
The Planning Board is authorized to administer and grant conditional use permits to allow a CRD to include two noncontiguous tracts: one tract for development on which all dwelling units will be developed and a second tract which will provide for the minimum common open space. Options available through the conditional use permit process include the retention of the open space tract by the homeowners' association or the conveyance of the open space tract, for permanent protection purposes, to a governmental entity or to a private land trust. Where the proposed open space tract includes developable land and is of an area that exceeds the requirements for common open space, the tract, or a portion thereof, may be transferred to the tract that is to be developed for dwelling units as part of the CRD.
A. 
Retention of the open space tract by a homeowners' association. Where the tract to be retained as open space is located within 1/4 mile of the tract that will be developed such that the residents of the CRD will have ready access, an unobstructed view, or other benefit from the open space tract, the Planning Board may allow the CRD to occur on two tracts, provided that the open space tract is encumbered by covenants and restrictions that permanently protect its status as open space, and that the open space tract is linked by deed or other appropriate legal instrument to the dwelling units on the development tract. The distance between tracts shall be measured in a straight line, from property boundary to property boundary.
B. 
Conveyance of the open space tract. Where the tract to be retained as open space is deemed important to the Town of Bedford in accordance with the Town's officially adopted open space plans and policies, the Planning Board may allow the CRD to occur on two tracts, provided that the open space tract is conveyed, subject to covenants, restrictions, or agreement, to a governmental entity or to a private land trust. In granting a conditional use permit under these circumstances, the Planning Board shall make a finding that the open space benefits to the community from the cluster residential development occurring on two lots exceed any benefits to be derived from the protection of common open space that would otherwise occur in a standard cluster residential development on a single tract. The Planning Board shall also approve the deed of conveyance including all covenants and restrictions, and any maintenance agreements concerning the open space.
C. 
Transfer of the right to develop dwelling units. In any application for a conditional use permit for a CRD including two noncontiguous tracts, where the size of the open space tract exceeds the area requirements for common open space in accordance with this article, and where the excess area of the open space tract meets the standards of net developable area in accordance with § 275-32L, Net developable area, of this chapter, the Planning Board may allow the transfer of the right to develop dwelling units that would otherwise be able to be built on that excess portion of the open space tract to the CRD development tract. The maximum number of units that can be transferred under these circumstances is equal to the number of dwelling units that could theoretically be developed on an area equivalent to 90% of the minimum required open space area in accordance with § 275-32J, Common open space, of this chapter, when subjected to an analysis of the net developable area and the permitted density standards of this article. In granting a conditional use permit under these circumstances, the Planning Board shall make a finding that the water supply and subsurface wastewater disposal facilities available to the development tract are capable of accommodating the additional dwelling units to be transferred from the open space tract.
D. 
Open space requirement for the development tract. In a CRD which includes two noncontiguous tracts, the tract on which all dwelling units will be developed shall retain a minimum of 10% of the minimum open space as required pursuant to § 275-32J, Common open space, of this chapter. No more than a 1/4 of said common open space shall be comprised of environmentally sensitive areas, and the location and arrangement of said common open space shall comply with the standards of § 275-34E, Open space, of this chapter.
E. 
A quarter of a mile limitation on the separation between noncontiguous tracts is imposed upon those CRDs where the association would retain ownership of the open space. A minimum requirement is set forth for open space to be retained within the development tract. A total of 10% of the required open space must be retained with the development tract. Therefore, 90% of the required open space on the development tract is available for the transfer of dwelling units from the noncontiguous open space tract.
[Amended 3-14-2000[1]]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).