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The Dartmouth
March 4, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Town Meeting votes to approve new zoning district on West Wheelock Street

The article, which was proposed by student body president-elect David Millman ’23 and Nicolas Macri ’24, will help to alleviate the College’s housing crisis.

griffin-town-hall

On Tuesday, Article 11 — a residential housing ordinance — was passed at the annual Hanover Town Meeting by a vote of 775 to 565, according to numbers from the Valley News. The warrant for the meeting states that the passage of Article 11 will establish a new zoning district along West Wheelock Street.

Student body president-elect David Millman ’23, one of the students who petitioned to get the article on the town meeting ballot, said  the passage of Article 11 is “the biggest change to housing availability in recent history in the town of Hanover.” Millman said that he has been pushing for the construction of on-campus housing — the lack of which has been an endemic issue on campus — since the College announced the return of a lottery system for fall housing.

Article 11 originated as a student-submitted petition, which reintroduced a similar amendment that failed in 2015. It will establish a new “Main Wheelock District” zoning district, allowing for high-density residential and commercial use along West Wheelock Street. 

Millman said Article 11 could “very realistically” add hundreds of beds to Dartmouth housing within a few years.

“I think it'll really be impactful to not only the housing crisis, but also to [prove] what students can do when we all put our energy behind a common cause,” Millman said.

In 2015, the same proposition failed in a vote of 719 to 453, according to the town meeting minutes. Since then, the amendment was revised to increase housing capacity by 20% by raising the proposed building height from 50 to 60 feet.

Millman said that this year’s successful vote was made possible by “hundreds of students” who went to the polls at the Hanover High School gymnasium.

“I think it’s really amazing — the changes that we can make and the impact we can have,” Millman said.

Also on Tuesday, Articles Two through Seven — all of which were recommended by the Hanover Planning Board — were passed by margins over 900 votes, according to the town meeting minutes. These amendments addressed issues like limits on solar energy systems, accessory dwelling units and retaining walls. 

At the meeting, Articles Eight through 10, which were also proposed by Dartmouth students, were rejected by margins of over 700 votes. These amendments would have addressed issues that relate to housing, such as amending the definition of “family” for defining residential occupancy limits and removing “student residences” from the list of land uses permitted only by special exception. 

Articles 13 through 26, which concerned various budget items ranging from changes to tax exemptions to appropriations of town funds for public infrastructure improvement, were all passed at the town business meeting.

Correction appended (May 11, 8:10 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to David Millman '23 as the student body president. He is the student body president-elect. The article has been updated.