Upon learning they were not made privy to copies of a dredge and fill application for the construction of a road to access commercial properties located south of Pettengill Road, the Conservation Commission voted to request the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) grant members time to review the project and provide comments.
South Loop Road is to be an extension of the newly constructed Pettengill Road, which was permitted under a DES permit.
Construction of the 50-foot-wide, 1,800-foot road would result in 4,281 square feet of impact to the remnant wetlands located between the recently completed UPS and FedEx projects, according to the application to the DES.
Chris Danforth of engineering firm T.F. Moran said the larger of the two wetlands is fed from a detention basin from the FedEx property and flows under the existing access road through a culvert and ends in a short shrub wetland.
“It used to flow onto the Prologis site and dissipated into sandy soils on the property,” he said.
The smaller, isolated wetland is to be partially filled by construction of the road. The roadway was previously cleared and partially graded in anticipation of its eventual construction; however, the wetlands were not altered.
“The proposed project is necessary to provide public access to commercial and industrial land located on the south side of Pettengill Road in Londonderry. The road is part of an overall development plan for commercial and industrial land located on the south side of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport,” the wetlands permit application says.
Construction of the road through the wetland is unavoidable, but efforts will be made to minimize impacts.
The wetland is located between recently developed properties that included filling portions of the wetland, and the wetland does not contain or support rare or exemplary communities, nor does it support a fish population, according to the application to the DES.
The wetland to be impacted is less than an acre and has limited functional value.
Losses or impacts recently incurred have been mitigated by preservation of important habitat areas, funding the Aquatic Resource Mitigation fund program and supporting monitoring of critical habitats in the area. he primary functions of the wetlands include wildlife habitat, including threatened and endangered species habitat, according to Danforth.
“We had Fish and Game out on the site. We have cottontail, hognose snake and turtles out here,” he said. “They vetted the project for that and mitigation has been addressed. I believe some funds have been given to Fish and Game for a further monitoring project. This is part of the overall development scheme for the entire area.”
Danforth noted the developer is not required by statute to provide mitigation, but said “this whole conglomerate is donating towards the mitigation for the project as a whole.”
Commissioners said they have not seen the agreement between the Town and Fish and Game.
“It’s not that we’re opposed. What you’re asking is not unreasonable, but the process on our end is not real clear and we never had a chance to intervene because we never saw the application,” Commissioner Deb Lievens said.
“It seems to me you’ll suffer from our ability to get administration straight,” Commissioner Mike Speltz said.
“We really don’t even have a vote at this point,” Lievens said. “I’m not sure there are any issues, other than this logistical stuff and the fact we haven’t seen the mitigation agreement.”
Danforth noted the project is between Ballinger/Five N and the Town.
“It has nothing to do with F.W. Webb,” he said.
The Commission agreed to ask DES to allow for comment after their April 12 meeting.
“We’re not going to stop DES from issuing their permit, so I think it makes sense for us to ask for the additional time. If we can have useful input, great. If not, so be it,” Speltz said.