Cross Farm Provides Update on Phase Two of Development Plan

Representatives of the Cross Farm 55+ development came to the April 24 Conservation Commission to provide an update on phase 2 of their project.  This was their second time coming before the Conservation Commission for phase 2.  Their presentation preceded the formal submission of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) seeking approval to modify wetland areas of the development that are in the Conservation Overlay District.

In phase 2, six-eight standalone houses are proposed, along with a clubhouse and other amenities such as bocce courts.  In addition, roadwork would be done to connect phase 1 and phase 2 sections and to provide access to the new houses.  Specifically, two roads partially completed in phase 1 would be completed, as would a new road and cu-de-sac to be started and completed during phase 2.  Part of an additional road would also be built.

Jack Szemplinski of Benchmark Engineering updated the Commission on changes that had been made since their last meeting In February.  In response to earlier feedback from the Commission, all the ponds in phase 2 were reconfigured so that their embankments were no closer than 25 feet from the edge of wet of a wetland area.

On the subject of wetlands, Commission Mike Speltz asked if the developer was willing to configure the project to avoid having any wetland crossings According to Szemplinski this is not possible. He explained that in phase 2 there would be 4,050 square feet of wetland impacts, including three wetland crossings for roadways.

At one of the wetland crossings, a culvert would be installed to allow wildlife to travel under the road.  The plan was for a round culvert; however, Commissioners expressed a preference for a box-shaped culvert since it is wider, and animals prefer that. Szemplinski thought that switching to a box culvert would double the price but took the request under consideration for future revisions.

While not related to conservation issues, Szemplinski also shared that Route 102 would be widened to create a right turn only lane for entering Cross Farm.

Commissioner Mike Noone expressed the desire to make clear the boundary between any wetland buffers and the backyards of planned houses. He noted that a lack of clearly delineated boundaries has caused a lot of confusion at The Nevins development. He expressed a preference for not having any backyards extend into conservation buffers. Other Commissioners though that it would be sufficient to have the required signs placed at the edge of the buffer.

Commissioners asked for an update on discussions between Cross Farm and the New Hampshire Department of Environment Services (NHDES). As part of getting NHDES approval for the project, Cross Farm is required to leave 35 acres of sensitive wetland habitat undeveloped for Blanding turtles and rabbits. Rick Welch of Cross Farm LLC stated that they were going back to NHDES soon to review the entire plan with them.

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