Aldermanic committees advance housing updates, banner ban during meetings

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City Hall on July 20, 2023. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Members of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) held three committee hearings on Monday with recommendations likely to be decided upon by the full BMA at their May 7 meeting. Here is an overview of what was discussed.

Land surplus requests recommended

A pair of requests to dispose of publicly owned lands were recommended by the BMA Committee on Lands and Buildings. The first was proposed by the Manchester Water Works was a 20-acre parcel just off Wellington Road.

The property was deemed surplus in June 2023 and there is a pending purchase and sale agreement in place to transform the property into single-family residential units. The Board of Water Commissioners voted to approve the agreement on March 21 and will ratify that decision at their April 25 meeting. This land was originally intended to be a future water tank site and has not paid property taxes to the city since it was acquired in 1940.

If confirmed, the selling price for the property is $2 million and proceeds from the sale would be used toward the costs of a future relocation of the Lincoln Street Administration Building and Garage.

The second set of requests included 26 lots on 18 sites (see map here) that Manchester Mayor Jay Ruais has determined to be not needed for public work following analysis from the departments of the Tax Collector, Assessors, Planning and Community Development, Public Works and Solicitor’s Office.

It is Ruais’ hope that these lots currently held by the city can be placed back onto the tax rolls. It’s also hoped the move can provide additional funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Special Revenue Account through their sales to private entities.

“This effort will not only enhance the utilization of city-owned resources but also foster tangible progress in addressing the affordable housing crisis in Manchester. I want to thank all of the departments for their work these last several months for bringing this effort to fruition, said Ruais.

Slightly different density increase ordinance gets OK

The proposed ordinance change that will allow four residential units by right in areas where three were before as well as allowing accessory dwelling units with a conditional use permit was recommended again after some slight modifications.

This proposal comes from the full BMA on March 19 after it received earlier reviews and minor changes from the BMA Committee on Bills on Second Reading in early March.

Mayor Ruais requested the ordinance change after asking the Department of Planning and Community Development what parts of their upcoming ordinance changes to create more housing could be fast-tracked.

No more obstructive banners or vulgar language during public comment

A recommendation changing Rule 3 of the BMA’s Rules was recommended by the BMA Committee on Administration and Information Systems.

The change would prohibit banners that obstruct the view of others in the Aldermanic chambers, pose a security risk or prevent others from entering or leaving the chamber. There was also additional language in the change prohibiting anyone speaking during public comment from using vulgar language, threats, fighting words or other disorderly conduct.

This proposal came after several instances where activists seeking a resolution demanding that the City of Manchester urge for a cease-fire in Gaza became disruptive as well as situations in recent weeks where individuals were removed from the chambers for yelling things at the Aldermen during meetings.


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About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.