Council Discusses Safety Issues and CART Program

Although issues surrounding water ordinances and residential use of water dominated the June 5 Town Council meeting, a large array of other topics still managed to be touched upon during the nearly two-hour-long meeting.

Chairman Tom Dolan started the night off by holding a moment of silence for those serving in the armed forces, as well as those affected by the recent terrorist attacks throughout England.  He also offered up a couple of public safety tips to the audience, starting with the appearance of hypodermic needles strewn around the ground in areas of Londonderry.  Bringing a few sample needles to the meeting, he displayed what they specifically looked like after being used and advised anyone who comes in contact with one to not directly touch it, but instead call the police or fire department and have them safely deal with the problem.

Furthermore, as the Fourth of July approaches, Dolan recommended that anyone shooting off fireworks during the holiday be sensitive to nearby veterans. Dolan noted that roughly one in five soldiers returning from combat suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that the possibility of these individuals being triggered by the explosions is relatively high. Thus, Dolan advised that residents should try to become aware of those in the area who may suffer from PTSD and warn them ahead of time before celebrating the holiday.

Public comment was then opened for anyone in the audience, but one comment that truly stood out came from resident Deb Paul, publisher of the Londonderry Times.  Paul was very curious about the progress the council was making towards beginning a series of growth management workshops that pertained to the amount of construction occurring in Londonderry, particularly when it comes to over growth in the town. She also said that Londonderry should think more about cut through roads (Grid Like) so that the main roads would get some relief and that they help take some cars off the major roads. She then asked how they should go about studying the congested roads to make them safer. Paul added that we must look into fixing these issues before they get any worse.

Dolan mentioned that the workshops will be occurring in the coming weeks. No date was set. Paul also suggested traffic planning be looked into in order to further alleviate the issue, such as creating a series of smaller road to help relieve pressure in high traffic areas.  Dolan appeared to agree with the idea, suggesting that the idea be addressed with both the workshops and the planning board.

With the end of the public comment, a public hearing was then held to discuss Ordinance 2017-03, which would permanently ban the removal of water from public bodies of water for commercial use. More information on the subject can be found on page 1.

Once the rather lengthy discussion had come to a close, Assistant Town Manager Lisa Drabik gave the council an update on the town’s senior transportation program.  Drabik mentioned that voters recently approved the use of $35,000 to help supplement the town’s Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART) system, but is currently in the process of figuring out how to use the program and the funds more efficiently.

Drabik primarily emphasized how more people were needed to make the supplementation viable, as only around 38 people used the program in the last fiscal year.  In order to further address the situation, Drabik noted that they need to “assess what the need is” for CART.

In terms of how to advertise the program more effectively to the public, it was suggested that the program also begin to work alongside the Green Cab company to offer assistance in CART’s efforts.  Although the board seemed to approve of the idea, Dolan did note that he wanted to avoid getting into a competition with the company over which program residents want to use, hoping to offer it simply as an alternative to CART.

Thus, in order to see how such an idea would work, a 90-day pilot period of cooperation between Green Cab and CART will be starting, as well as an evaluation of data pertaining to the test around the 60-day mark of the pilot.

Following that, a quick interview was given to resident Lynn Wiles for a position on the Solid Waste and Environment Committee. Wiles, who has lived in Londonderry for thirty years, had previous served on the Planning Board for a decade before retiring his position due to work obligations.  However, he still wanted an opportunity to serve the community and felt that a position with the Solid Waste and Environmental Committee would fit perfectly into his schedule.  The council was quick to approve of Wiles’ application for the board, as all of the councilors were very familiar with him and knew he has been a reliable asset to the town.

To cap off the night, the board unanimously approved the first reading of Ordinance 2017-04, which would provide looser restrictions on residential water use in case of any further drought situation.  Soon after, Town Manager Kevin Smith presented his report to the council, noting that he will be soon speaking with the Department of Transportation, alongside Councilor Chris Pappas, to discuss traffic issues on Stonehenge Road.

Smith also brought up that two public hearings are to be held in the coming weeks to address Cross Farm Development, LLC purchasing a small parcel of land from the town, which is in between a piece of land where they plan on producing a housing community and Route 102. All of this will be done so that Cross Farm can produce another intersection where the parcel is located in an effort to alleviate traffic in the area.

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