With the ongoing dispute over the operation of Market Basket stores , a planned access road leading from Nashua Road (Route 102) to Pillsbury Road as part of the Woodmont Commons PUD (Planned Unit Development) languishes in limbo.
In his response, dated July 15, to a letter from the town regarding the delay in building the road, which Pillsbury Realty Development, LLC, principal Michael Kettenbach has said is holding back the Woodmont project, DeMoulas attorney Michael S. Sophocles suggested a meeting with the town.
“I am prepared to meet with you at your earliest convenience to address any remaining Town concerns and facilitate an early implementation of the Access Road,” he wrote, as previously reported by the Londonderry Times. “Furthermore, at the appropriate time, I suggest a meeting be held in your offices with the appropriate officials from the Town of Londonderry and representatives of both DSM (DeMoulas Super Market) and Pillsbury (Realty Development, LLC) to finalize arrangements for coordination of the parties’ respective plans, specifications, permitting and construction. To avoid any further misunderstandings and misinformation, our meeting should be scheduled as soon as possible.”
But Town Manager Kevin Smith said that as long as a dispute continues involving Market Basket, the suggested meeting would not be held.
“I think we would probably have gone in that direction (of the meeting), of trying to set something up, if things hadn’t been haywire with Market Basket,” Smith said. “The letter (from the town attorney) was sent and we received the response before all of the issues that are going on with Market Basket now started to happen.”
Smith said that at this point he is waiting to see where everything “shakes out” with Market Basket before he tries to set up any meeting.
“Everything is so fluid right now, you don’t know from one day to the next what is going to happen,” Smith said.
In a letter dated July 3, town attorney Michael Ramsdell wrote to DeMoulas’ co-Chief Executive Officers Felicia Thornton and James Gooch reminding them that when Market Basket wanted to build and relocate into a bigger store perpendicular to the smaller one on Garden Lane several years ago, site plan approval specified that DSM would work with Pillsbury to coordinate providing future access to the former Woodmont Orchard parcel and Pillsbury Road, “through an easement or other legal agreement to be worked out between the parties. The future access shall be stipulated in the agreement to allow for an eventual four-lane roadway connection, but can initially be designed as a two lane roadway.”
According to Ramsdell’s letter, the June 2, 2010 meeting minutes include a discussion in which the Planning Board determined that, in reliance on DSM’s commitment to design and construct a new access and bypass route with Pillsbury, it would not require DSM to undertake off-site traffic mitigation improvements.
After the Planning Board approved the site plan, the expansion and remodeling of the new supermarket site took place. On or about May 23, 2011, DSM filed with the Town a copy of its “Access Agreement,” in which DSM agreed with Pillsbury to develop and build the Access Road.
Sophocles advised the town that “the Development Agreement provides that active and substantial development activity need not commence for four years, and the Access Agreement contains no stated timeframe for DSM’s performance. While it is clearly not DSM’s intent to delay performance, DSM respectfully disagrees with your assertion that its performance under the Access Agreement is in any way overdue.”