The University of New Hampshire Master Plan Steering Committee has developed language to limit potential development along Main Street in the recommendations it will make to UNH President Mark Huddleston next fall.
The draft master plan will no longer show any planned development in the area north of Main Street bounded by Mast, Spinney and O’Kane roads and Route 4. The draft also will include language that limits any unanticipated changes in this area to those that sustain and when possible enhance the educational, agricultural, and aesthetic value of the land.
The area where the Leavitt Center and West Edge parking lot are currently located would be available for potential public-private partnerships developed in collaboration with Durham which adhere to local zoning. Durham's zoning ordinance would not allow a "big box" operation to exist in this location.
The revisions came after some 600 people who attended two public forums on updates to the master plan expressed objections to the possibility that UNH might at some future date lease land currently in use by its agricultural programs for commercial development.
President Mark Huddleston indicated following Tuesday's public forums that while a form of public-private venture may be appropriate for some UNH property, big boxstores do not belong on UNH agricultural land.
The committee also scheduled additional forums Tuesday, April 24, from 12:40-2 p.m. in the Granite State Room of the Memorial Union Building and an evening forum specifically intended for Durham residents at 7 p.m. in the Huddleston Hall ballroom.
The master plan is intended to set guidelines for the use of UNH lands over the long term in support of its missions of teaching, research, and service. Most of the steering committee’s work has focused on academic and co-curricular uses of the campus, such as the siting for a possible center for the arts, as well as graduate housing. The Master Plan Steering Committee is advisory to the president, who ultimately will present the plan to the trustees of the University System of New Hampshire.
While the master plan update was originally intended to be completed by June, the final draft will be made available for public comment in the fall before being presented to President Huddleston.
Particular items of interest for Durham residents beyond big box concerns on agricultural lands include:
• An overt desire of UNH to strengthen ties with Durham through effective collaborative planning.
• The location of a future center for the arts proximate to downtown Durham at C-Lot/Lower Quad location.
• Future graduate housing locations on campus.
• Anticipated locations for future undergraduate housing on campus.
• The willing of UNH to work with Durham in exploring possible public-public-private partnerships for the mutual benefit of the collective community.
• Designated future location for the Durham Fire Department on B-Lot along Mill Road.
• Identified future location of UNH Police Department along Garrison Avenue.
• Future plans to address long-standing campus recreational needs at the Snively Arena impacting the UNH Outdoor Pool along Edgewood Road (UNH, not Durham, owns the so-called "Durham" pool). The pool is an historic New Deal WPA-era project which has provided invaluable campus and town recreational and community building for generations.
• Possible structured parking on A and B Lots.
• Long-term Durham/UNH collaborative development possibilites for the Town-owned Depot Road parking lot (a Federally designated Brownfield site -- home of the former Craig Supply dry cleaning company) next to the Durham/UNH Train Station.
• Future ideas for the UNH-owned Store-24/Tedeschi Lot.
• Retail operations on campus.
For more information on the UNH Campus Master Plan, go to http://www.unh.edu/cmp/.