Discussions with municipal officials, housing experts, neighborhood representatives and college faculty indicated that rental housing in Keene, particularly for students, is perhaps the community's most pressing housing issue. As home ownership rates have changed in the community, the conversion of owner-occupied homes into commercial rental properties has been clearly documented. This has eroded the character of several neighborhoods, resulted in overcrowding in some cases, and raised concerns about how best to control and direct the strong demand for student rental housing. Housing that meets the needs of undergraduates and graduate students should be supported in order to address neighborhood quality-of-life issues as well as the provision of housing for Keene’s workforce.
Energy Efficient and Sustainable Housing
A high standard of environmentally sustainable design features for new, retrofitted and rehabilitated residential uses should be established. These standards should then be incorporated into the development review and building permit processes. City code should be reviewed to ensure that it supports the community’s energy efficiency goals. When federal, state or similar funding for housing is used, these standards should be applied.