Conservation Commission Discusses Outdoor Dining

By Alex Malm

During the May 25 Londonderry Conservation Commission meeting one of the agenda items that was discussed was in regards to a site plan amendment to permanently allow outdoor seating at the Apple Tree Mall.

Brian Jones, who was representing the owners of the mall said that last year Gov. Chris Sununu signed an executive order allowing businesses to have outdoor seating during the pandemic.

He said that some of the businesses at the mall found it to be very beneficial and the mall owner wants to make it a permanent opportunity for businesses to take advantage of.

“They got a taste of the outdoor dining with the Governor’s order,” Jones said. “We’re thinking ahead and it’s something they want to maintain on the property.”

One of the restaurants that has outdoor seating, he said, is Lucciano’s, an Italian restaurant.

Jones said that they built a deck for their outdoor seating.

“It’s probably the nicest of the outdoor seating at the mall,” he said.

The other outdoor restaurants that are looking to have outdoor seating permanently are Troy’s Kitchen, Coffeeberries, and the Game Changers Sports Bar.

He also said that one of the two vacancies that they have has the potential to be a new restaurant and may want to have outdoor seating there.

Jones explained that the other part of the application that they presented to the Planning Board has to do with the landscape island. He explained that there is a hydrant in the corner of it that gets hit when trucks make turning movements. He said that the property owners have had it on their mind since they took over the property and want to fix it.

Their plan is to enlarge the island and move the fire hydrant so it doesn’t get struck by trucks anymore.

One of the comments that the commission put onto the plan is that they need to add plantings to the Island, something that Jones agreed to.

Deborah Lievens, a member of the Conservation Commission, said that she is happy to see them being proactive to make outdoor dining a permanent thing.

“I’m happy to see the creativity involved in making this a better situation for our small businesses,” she said.

Also during the meeting Michael Malaguti, assistant Town Solicitor gave an update about a conversation he had with the new owner of Moose Hill Orchards, about some concerns that he had.

One of the issues that he brought up was in regards to dogs being on the property.

Malaguti said that the concern by the owner is that new USDA guidance frowns upon dogs being in agriculture areas and is concerned that they could get in trouble with the USDA if they do an inspection.

Another issue that he brought up was in regards to parking. 

He said that the issue that they are facing is that he feels that people tend to pull into wherever is convenient to park and access the orchards, even where people aren’t supposed to be parking.

On the issue of dogs, Conservation Chair Marge Badois, said that dogs aren’t supposed to be at any orchards.

“Their growing food. Dogs and food shouldn’t co mingle,” she said.

Badois, who was present for one of the meetings with the owner, said that while he is bringing concerns to different people, he said that his primary objective is safety and making sure they are observing all the safety rules for workers, and residents.

Malguti said that they are trying to create some structure for the orchard.

“I think he is really trying to bring a bit of structure; it sounds like that hasn’t been present to date,” he said.

Member Mike Byerly said, “If he wants to have these rules on the orchard he should stand up and say these are the rules on my orchard.”

Badois added that there are rules for all the orchards in town, and they should be supporting them.

“I think we share an interest with the owner of Moose Hill Orchard and all the orchards to see those businesses succeed,” she said.

It was also decided during the meeting that their next meeting which is slated for June 8, will be in person at Town Hall.

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