Community Growth Open House: What We Heard

Thank you to everyone who stopped by at the Community Growth Open House on September 14! At the event, we showcased the work of 4 former and current Hanover High School students who participated in the PhotoVoice project. Click here to learn more about the project and see the exhibition.

Attendees browsed through 3 stations that asked for feedback on Transportation, Housing, and Economic Development.

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On Transportation, we asked folks to identify on a map dangerous places in town (red dot) and places where there are opportunities for improvement (green dot). Unsurprisingly, the main concern was the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. Many comments indicated that the addition of sidewalks throughout town would improve safety for road users of all modes, abilities, and ages, as well as enhance connectivity between residential neighborhoods, schools, and parks.

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On Housing, we presented a series of scenarios on housing preferences and asked participants whether Hanover’s existing housing stock would be able to meet current and future demand. About 60% agree that seniors living alone could find smaller housing units in Hanover within easy access to nearby amenities. However, many think that empty-nesters in Hanover would be challenged to downsize from their larger single family homes and still be able to stay in town.

The feedback showed that the town’s perceived housing stock is very much geared towards young families: everyone agreed that this type of household, with or without children, would easily find a starter home in Hanover. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of participants think that single parents and millennials would not be able to find housing in Hanover that fits their preferences and needs.

The large majority of housing stock in Hanover consists of single family units. When asked what type of housing is most needed in Hanover, none of the participants think that the town needs more single family homes. According to them, the type of housing units that are most needed are smaller single family alternatives, such as town or row houses. Participants also think that local housing inventory can be further diversified to include more condos, apartments, and senior housing.

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Overall, a desire to diversify the town’s housing stock was observed in these responses. Some feel that barriers to housing diversity in Hanover include high cost of land and zoning limitations.

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Finally, on Economic Development, we showed how the Town of Hanover generally spends its tax dollars in comparison with its neighbors and towns of similar valuation. We asked participants to tell us how they would spend their taxes differently using $100 worth in poker chips.

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Feedback showed that participants would like to see spending increase significantly on culture & recreation, human services, and public works. In contrast, participants would like to see most reduction in spending on fixed costs and public safety (including police and fire).

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To finish up, we asked participants the simple question of what types of businesses would they like to see more or less of in Hanover. Several would like to see fewer auto dealerships, big-box stores, and fast food restaurants. Many agree that more small retail, neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops are needed in town.

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Missed the open house? Leave your comments below or email Christine Madore, Hanover 300 Project Manager, at cmadore@mapc.org.

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