UNH Master Plan, Land Use, and Open Forums

Two upcoming open forums at UNH will provide faculty, staff, students, and the community an opportunity to learn more about the UNH Campus Master Plan Update. They will both take place on Tuesday, April 17, 2012: 12:40-2:00 – New Hampshire Hall Rm 208 and 4:00-5:30 – MUB Theatre II.

The piece that is relevant to this readership and gaining attention from many quarters, is the consideration of Land Use and Public/Private Ventures. From the UNH website:

The campus lands along Main Street west of the railroad to Route 4 are a primary gateway to campus with open agricultural lands to the north and sports fields to the south.  These functions have been essential parts of the University’s heritage and our planning looks at ways to enhance these functions for the future.  At the same time development opportunities are appearing from outside entities interested in partnering with the University.  This concept has been discussed for many years in a limited fashion, but in this Campus Master Plan effort it is being considered more broadly to determine what University lands would be most suitable for public-private development of various types – research/incubator/entrepreneurial, hotel, workforce/family housing, retail, etc.

As we think about these possibilities internally at first, we will prepare to engage the Durham community and the regional community as our ideas come into focus.  Because these would be private developments they would be required to pay taxes and to comply with all local land use regulations that the University in general does not need to do.  So it is essential that we identify in this Campus Master Plan update process the potential lands that could be privately developed in partnership with the University, so that productive discussions about specific development concepts can occur in the future.

Our consideration and evaluation of Public-Private Venture opportunities is a work in progress. In response to comments and questions we are receiving, we want to clarify that:

  • The Fairchild Dairy Research complex will remain in its current location.
  • No programs are being eliminated.
  • No UNH land will be sold.
  • Since 1994 the Campus Master Plan has anticipated the equine center would be relocated to the vacinity of the existing outdoor dressage rings. Current planning retains that concept.

Many are concerned that this could introduce commercial development at the historic fields, barns and agricultural buildings that establish the iconic agricultural gateway to the campus and support UNH Ag programs. As of last night, a petition started by UNH students to stop this use had gathered more than 600 signatures. Visit the online petition.

Additional information via the UNH Equine Program
UNH has set up an email address to receive comments: cmp.ideas@unh.edu.

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