Councilor Raises Concerns About Town Growth, Traffic

During the March 4 Town Council meeting, the Town Council heard a presentation from Town Councilor, Jim Butler, about his concerns about growth in the town.
Butler at first talked about the issues with housing availability in the state of NH.
“Housing has become problematic for the state of NH,” Butler said, explaining that people are “aging in place” and that they are struggling to have enough affordable housing for everyone.
He said several years ago, the Southern NH Planning Commission developed a report for cities and towns in Rockingham County, and recommended what they needed and what the shortfall was.
“Since then I think Londonderry has done a really good job at providing the housing sources we need,” Butler said.
“With that said”, he said “my position is going to go in the other direction.”
Butler explained that over the past several months, they have had severe car accidents, and as they get more housing units built, the call reports “from the police and fire department has started to increase.”
He also stated that he has spent time at troublesome intersections, and the traffic situation “is becoming extreme.”
“As far as I’m concerned, I think we need to stop the housing,” Butler said, pointing to condos and apartments. “We need to stop it,” he said.
He also noted that around them, there is a lot of growth, but it’s ultimately out of their control.
“We can’t control the growth around us,” Butler said.
Butler provided some examples of where he feels there are problems with different intersections and where he has seen a lot of traffic backed up, specifically during rush hour.
“It’s my opinion that within the next four or five years we’re going to be stuck with a real traffic problem,” Butler said.
While he thinks that there are parts of town that would be good for development, he thinks the Town Council should consider limiting the amount of growth in town.
He pointed to some parts of town like near the airport and at Woodmont for examples, but he is concerned with the pace of development happening in other parts of town, naming a number of recently completed projects, or projects under review.
“I really think it’s time that we take a look at a growth management ordinance and I would like the Town Council to instruct the Planning Board to look into a growth management ordinance,” Butler said.
With the amount of development in town, in addition to things like traffic, Butler also noted that it puts more pressure on the town departments, like the DPW, police, and fire.
Butler noted that he wasn’t looking to impact any projects that were underway or were in the review process, but said they should consider the town’s growth when looking at future projects.
“I really think it’s time we take a look at it,” Butler said.
Butler also noted that they had a growth management ordinance before, but it sunsetted in 2015, and based on records he found, an effort to revive it in 2017, by the Planning Department didn’t go anywhere.
Town Council Chair, John Farrell, said it’s a legislative issue, and they would need to have the Planning Board develop “what they’re looking for and then we need our state legislators to carry it through because it has to comply with state law.”
“I think we need to develop a committee or have the Planning Board to start to look at this because if not, we’re all going to be sitting in traffic and it’s only going to get worse,” Butler said.”During the March 4 Town Council meeting, the Town Council heard a presentation from Town Councilor, Jim Butler, about his concerns about growth in the town.
Butler at first talked about the issues with housing availability in the state of NH.
“Housing has become problematic for the state of NH,” Butler said, explaining that people are “aging in place” and that they are struggling to have enough affordable housing for everyone.
He said several years ago, the Southern NH Planning Commission developed a report for cities and towns in Rockingham County, and recommended what they needed and what the shortfall was.
“Since then I think Londonderry has done a really good job at providing the housing sources we need,” Butler said.
With that said, he said “my position is going to go in the other direction.”
Butler explained that over the past several months, they have had severe car accidents, and as they get more housing units built, the call reports “from the police and fire department has started to increase.”
He also stated that he has spent time at troublesome intersections, and the traffic situation “is becoming extreme.”
“As far as I’m concerned, I think we need to stop the housing,” Butler said, pointing to condos and apartments. “We need to stop it,” he said.
He also noted that around them, there is a lot of growth, but it’s ultimately out of their control.
“We can’t control the growth around us,” Butler said.
Butler provided some examples of where he feels there are problems with different intersections and where he has seen a lot of traffic backed up, specifically during rush hour.
“It’s my opinion that within the next four or five years we’re going to be stuck with a real traffic problem,” Butler said.
While he thinks that there are parts of town that would be good for development, he thinks the Town Council should consider limiting the amount of growth in town.
He pointed to some parts of town like near the airport and at Woodmont for examples, but he is concerned with the pace of development happening in other parts of town, naming a number of recently completed projects, or projects under review.
“I really think it’s time that we take a look at a growth management ordinance and I would like the Town Council to instruct the Planning Board to look into a growth management ordinance,” Butler said.
With the amount of development in town, in addition to things like traffic, Butler also noted that it puts more pressure on the town departments, like the DPW, police, and fire.
Butler noted that he wasn’t looking to impact any projects that were underway or were in the review process, but said they should consider the town’s growth when looking at future projects.
“I really think it’s time we take a look at it,” Butler said.
Butler also noted that they had a growth management ordinance before, but it sunsetted in 2015, and based on records he found, an effort to revive it in 2017, by the Planning Department didn’t go anywhere.
Town Council Chair, John Farrell, said it’s a legislative issue, and they would need to have the Planning Board develop “what they’re looking for and then we need our state legislators to carry it through because it has to comply with state law.”
“I think we need to develop a committee or have the Planning Board to start to look at this because if not, we’re all going to be sitting in traffic and it’s only going to get worse,” Butler said.

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