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The Dartmouth
May 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Zoning Board unanimously approves North End Housing project zoning exception

In an unanimous vote on Thursday night, the Hanover Boarding Zone of Adjustment approved a zoning exception that will allow the College to proceed with the housing complex on Lyme Road.

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Hanover town hall

Updated Feb. 17 at 5:20 p.m.

On Thursday evening, the Hanover Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to grant the College’s special exception request for the North End Housing project, a 397-bed student residence on Lyme Road. Before voting, the Board made several amendments to the permit request, which it discussed in a series of public hearings. 

Deliberations focused on student safety and preserving Hanover’s values, such as limiting light pollution and maintaining the integrity of neighborhoods. Notably, the Board voted to add a stipulation for “architecturally appropriate” lighting to the multi-use path on Lyme Road, proposed by board member Jeremy Eggleton, who cited safety concerns at night. The Board also voted to revise traffic requirements for the multi-use path; rather than separating pedestrians from vehicles entirely, the language of the proposal now stipulates “effectively managing” pedestrian traffic.

The North End Housing project has faced opposition from some students, faculty and Hanover residents, who have cited concerns about campus cultureand disruptions to the town community. The Garipay Neighborhood Association formed as a result of community concerns with the project and amassed more than 380 petition signatures by the end of December 2022, according to past reporting by The Dartmouth.

The Zoning Board addressed several of these issues during Thursday’s town hall, determining that the revised project follows special exception stipulations under the zoning ordinance — which requires the project to not adversely affect highways, sidewalks, town services and facilities or the “character of the area.” Notably, the Board found the Intertek noise evaluation to be “persuasive” and interactions between residents and students to be positive, according to board chair Bernie Waugh, Jr.’s recommendation.

“The Board is leery of finding the presence of students to be adverse, per se,” Waugh said. “On the contrary, many in Hanover feel that the occasional opportunity of town residents to interact with students and vice versa is one of the benefits of living in a college community.” 

The College was required to receive a special exception to build student residences on any site within the institutional zone of Hanover. Now that the exemption has been approved by the Zoning Board, the project will be further reviewed by the Hanover Planning Board.

As plans stand, the location will feature 397 beds, in-apartment kitchens, a cafe on the first floor and 25 parking spaces, according to past reporting by The Dartmouth. The location will be used to house undergraduate students while older residences are renovated, and will then transition to primarily graduate housing. That said, Waugh noted that these plans are “flexible” and “the College does not wish to be bound by them.”

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that the College is "pleased" with the decision of the Zoning Board. 

"We’ll be working with our design team in the coming weeks to prepare for the next stage of our application," Lawrence wrote. "We look forward to advancing this process and helping to address the critical housing issues facing Dartmouth and the Upper Valley."