Age Friendly Neighborhoods Case Studies

Issues Addressed:
Housing Costs Housing Options Multigenerational

Chester, NH

Chester’s age-friendly subdivision law grew from a public outreach campaign that identified a lack of housing options for young people and downsizing seniors. These age-friendly neighborhoods are envisioned to consist of smaller, affordable, lowmaintenance homes for all people regardless of age, ability, or disability. The ordinance allows single-family and duplex developments on lots of at least 12 acres. Density is based on 1.75 acres per single-family home and 2.5 acres per duplex, with a maximum of 10 units in each subdivision. These rules are significantly more permissive and consume less land than Chester’s conventional subdivision rules. Housing must meet universal design standards for accessibility, and each unit can have no more than two bedrooms.

Stow, MA

Stow, Massachusetts’ zoning laws include provisions for an Active Adult Neighborhood Overlay District, which emphasizes design elements to promote aging in place, such as ADA accessibility, clustering of buildings, and the provision of community gathering spaces. Active Adult Neighborhoods are subdivisions on at least 25 acres of land, allowing single-family homes, cottages, duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes. At least 30% of units must be less than 1,800 square feet in size, and at least half of those must be detached single-family dwellings. The maximum density is three units per acre. At least 15% of units must be affordable to low-income households. Both the homes and public realm must be accessible to people with disabilities, and the development must include shared community spaces for residents.