Manchester is embarking on a planning process to rethink its Limited Commercial District (the area north of Route 128) and to proactively plan for mixed-use, mixed-income development. This would advance two principal goals of the 2019 Master Plan: increase Town revenue through planned development in that area of town, and support a diversity of housing options throughout town.
To achieve these goals, the town is exploring a 40R Smart Growth Overlay District, which is a state program that encourages cities and towns to implement zoning that allows compact, mixed-income, by-right development in areas with existing or planned infrastructure and adequate access to services. A 40R district must be primarily residential, must allow a certain amount of housing density, and must include at least 20% affordable units; it can include comprehensive development and design standards to ensure that new development is consistent with the town’s vision for the area. As an incentive, the state makes payments directly to towns that have successfully adopted a 40R district, as well as additional payments after new housing is built in the area.