Town of Amherst NH

2014 Zoning Changes

The Planning Board was awarded a grant to revised the Water Resource related ordinances in 2013. As such they have worked with a consultant team and an advisory committee to revise all the water resources related ordinances. Please contact Sarah Marchant at or 673.6041 x 206 with any questions or comments.

A draft of the 2014 Ballot for the Zoning related warrant articles is available here.  The FULL TEXT of all proposed Zoning changes is available here.

Chapter A – Zoning Ordinance  and Chapter H – Building Code/Building Ordinance modifications: Posted for the 2014 Ballot at the 12/18/13 Public Hearing

Wetlands and Watershed Conservation District (WWCD) – this new ordinance is intended to replace both the current Wetlands Conservation District and the Watershed Conservation District

Aquifer Conservation and Wellhead Protection District (ACWPD) - this revised ordinance is intended to replace the current Aquifer Conservation District

Administrative Zoning Modifications – this document and appendix includes modifications to Section 1.1 Purpose and Authority; changes to the definition of structure height and clarify how height is to be measured; modifications Affordable Housing to align with updates to State law  and reduce the allowed density; and update the Building Code to align with State law in both Chapter A – Zoning Ordinance and Chapter H – Building Code/Building Ordinance

Petition Warrant Articles as submitted: Public Hearing held January 7th, 2014

Petition A: Public Hearing on 1/7/14

The undersigned legal voters of the Town request that the zoning ordinance of the Town be amended as follows:

Amend Article IV – Section 4.3.A.8 of the zoning ordinance to: delete the term “non-commercial sports and recreation uses” and replace with the term “sports and recreation uses”; to repeal Article IV – sub-section 4.3.A.8.F (i) through 4.3.A.8.F (vii) in their entirety, and to amend Article IV, Section 4.3.A.8.g to reduce the minimum required horizontal distance between site lighting fixtures and abutting lot lines from 500 to 250 feet. For full petition see here.

Petition B:Public Hearing on 1/7/14

The undersigned legal voters of the Town request that zoning be amended to include the following:

Are you in favor of the adoption of Amendment Number ___, as proposed by petition to change the zoning on Map 4 Lot 29, Map 4 Lot 30, Map 3 Lot 25 (Amherst Country Club), Map 4 Lot 65-1 (Acorn Playing Fields), Map 2 Lot 98-33 (Buck meadow) and create a new zone which would be called the “Commercial Sports/Recreation/Function zone” aka “CSRF” zone.

A. GENERAL: The purpose of establishing the CSRF zone is to allow for:

1. Commercial Sports/Recreation (e.g. Golf, Soccer, Lacrosse, Football, Baseball, Field Hockey), Functions (e.g. Meetings, Weddings, Family outings).

2. To recognize the existence of an area as the established Sports, Recreation and Function area of Amherst. (Which includes:Amherst Country Club, Buck Meadow and previously at Acorn Playing Fields).


1. Temporary or permanent sports structures and equipment such as, but not limited to, goals, backstops, dug outs, and sports specific netting, fencing, poles, score boards or announcers booth.

2. Temporary or permanent lighting provided it is 250′ or more from any abutting lot lines and not to be used from 9pm to 7am.

3. Structures/buildings which support sports, event, function and maintenance activities.

4. Residential homes as allowed within the Rural Residential Zone.

5. Event parking.

6. Farm, Agricultural, or Nursery uses, to include Farm Stand.

To amend Article 2, Section 2.1 to include this new “CSRF” zone.

To amend Article 2, Section 2.2 to show the new zone on the zoning map.

For full petition and explanation see here.

Petition C:Public Hearing on 1/7/14

The undersigned legal voters of the Town of Amherst request that the zoning ordinance of the Town of Amherst be amended as follows and, if both this article and Article [ZoningPetition_A_131125_delete] pass, this article shall be controlling and shall take precedence over Article [ZoningPetition_A_l31125_delete]:

Amend Article IV, Section 4.3.A (Residential Rural Zone) to delete Subsection 4.3.A.8 and replace it with a new Subsection 4.3.A.8 as follows:

“4.3.A.8 Sports and recreation uses that meet the conditions and provisions of this subsection.

The purpose and intent of this subsection is to permit privately owned land to be used for sports and recreation for children and adults in a manner that does not significantly harm the quiet enjoyment of nearby properties by their owners and/or residents. It is also the intent that this subsection will encourage sports uses to be distributed and accessible in multiple neighborhoods rather than overburden a particular neighborhood. The purpose of restrictions in this section on commercial activity, primary use, footprint, traffic, etc. is to limit the intensity and scale of sports and/or recreation uses to maintain compatibility with existing neighborhood uses in this residential zone.  It is the intent that these sports and recreation uses shall not be more objectionable to nearby properties by reason of noise, fumes, vibration, litter or lighting than a residential use of the property.


Non-commercial describes an activity that does not generate significant excess monies over direct expenses incurred by this use, and is not intended to generate excess monies, regardless of whether those excess monies are considered profits, or are intended to subsidize some other activity or compensate some key individual, either directly or indirectly.

Recreation is an activity that some people find enjoyable and which does not involve competition, either between teams, between individuals or of an individual or team against some record or achievement level set or reached by an individual or team at a different time.                                     ·

Sports is a physical activity that some people find enjoyable to participate in or to watch and which involves competition, either between teams, between individuals, or of an individual or team against some record or achievement level set or reached by an individual or team at a different time. Furthermore, sports activity includes preparation for competition as well as competition itself.


  1. Such use shall not be the primary use of the lot;
  2. Such use shall be non-commercial in nature where, for the purposes of this subsection, “non-commercial” refers to the nature of the use rather than the legal structure or tax status of the user, applicant or owner;
  3. Such use shall be compatible with existing neighborhood uses;
  4. Such use complies with the spirit and letter of Section 3.1, Nuisance Provision;
  5. No permanent buildings shall be permitted as part of such use, except for sheds to the extent necessary for storage of equipment for such use;
  6. Such use for sports shall be allowed, provided that the sports use footprint shall not exceed twenty percent (20%), which footprint percentage shall be calculated by dividing the total of all space pertaining to the sports use, including space pertaining to ancillary use and including, but not limited to, any playing fields, structures, parking facilities, and spectator areas (the “numerator”) by the area of the lot excluding all wetlands, ponds, rivers and slopes greater than 20% (the ”denominator”);
  7. Such use shall involve no more than 1000 vehicle arrivals in a week, nor more than 500 arrivals in a day, and for the purposes of these calculations, a specific vehicle that enters the lot twice in a time period is counted as two arrivals, a specific vehicle that enters the lot three times in a time period is counted as three arrivals, etc.;
  8. Such use shall not produce amplified sound;
  9. Such use is subject to a comprehensive Planning Board review and obtaining Planning Board site approval, which shall provide at minimum for all applicable setbacks, buffers, sanitary facilities, parking, mitigation of traffic impact,
  10. and adequate provision of emergency services; and which approval, if granted, shall set conditions to ensure the purposes and protections afforded by this article;
  11. Uses involving motor-driven objects producing sixty (60) or more decibels of sound at a range of ten feet as part of the sport or recreation are prohibited; and
  12. Night lighting primarily for uses permitted under this section may be allowed by the Planning Board when more than five hundred (500) feet from any abutting lot line, but not between 9:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m

For full petition and explanation see here.

PDF Editor    Send article as PDF