Choose Your Future, A Series to Save Newfound Lake
Part 5: Low-Impact Development — a Smarter Way to Accommodate Growth
by Boyd Smith, Newfound Lake Region Association Executive Director
This is your land and water – to protect what you love you have to take an active part. This fifth installment of the Newfound Lake Region Association’s (NLRA’s) Choose Your Future series discusses one of the critical tools to maintain environmental quality and economic health: low-impact development.
Whatever your opinion about development, growth in the Newfound region is occurring and will continue to do so. From 2000 to 2015, Newfound added housing at a rate of 1.6% per year vs. the State average of 1% per year, for a total of about 850 new homes. From 2010 to 2015, when growth slowed, Alexandria and Hebron continued to add new homes faster than the State average.
Roughly 38% of Newfound’s land is considered developable. Using historical growth patterns, existing road networks, and a 1% average growth rate, the watershed could see roughly 1,000 more houses by 2025. This does not include potential impacts from seasonal homes shifting to year-round use, or a new State law allowing the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs, or “in-law” apartments).
To accommodate growth while protecting our shared environment, the NLRA recommends low-impact development (LID), which works in harmony with the natural landscape. Taking a “good neighbor” approach to keep your impacts on your own property, LID economically and effectively controls runoff, noise, light, and appearance. LID methods include rain gardens and porous surfaces that return rain and snowmelt to your well; vegetated buffers that filter runoff and provide privacy; “dark sky” lighting so we can see the stars; and earth-tone exteriors that blend with the surrounding landscape.
Not only are LID methods increasingly common, they are natural, low-cost and low-maintenance ways to add value to your property and your community. The NLRA is currently providing free LID stormwater management services through our Newfound Youth Conservation Corps. We will also be working with watershed towns on model LID regulations in advance of March 2018 Town meetings. Ask your contractors about how LID can be applied to your property and future projects.
If you want to learn more about land conservation, natural resources and planning from some of the region’s most qualified and personable experts, come to one or more of the following meetings (all start at 7:00 pm):
- June 28, Groton (Town Office, North Groton Rd.)
- July 19, Alexandria (Town Office, Washburn Rd.)
- July 26, Bristol (Town Office, Lake St.)
Hebron and Bridgewater have held meetings, but similar information will be presented on the remaining dates.