Hearing on Controversial Development Postponed

The Londonderry Planning Board has further deferred a decision on a controversial workforce housing project planned for land near the intersection of Stonehenge and Hardy roads.

In its Feb. 1 meeting the board heard from Planning Director Colleen Mailloux regarding the project. Mailloux said the developers were asking for the extension, and asking the town to waive the 65-day “window” from the first time the project comes before the board.

The board is required by statute to make a decision on a project within 65 days.

“You originally heard this plan in December and it is coming up on 65 days,” Mailloux told the board.

The public hearing and board approval of the project was first heard in December, continued to Jan. 4 and then continued to Feb. 1.

The board voted unanimously to continue the public hearing to March 8, Where a vote will take place.

The property is Tax Map 12, lots 120 and 131, at 30 Stonehenge Road and 113 Hardy Road. The land is zoned AR-1. The developers are First Londonderry Association LLC.

The plan is for 12 24-unit buildings comprising 288 rental units.

In prior public hearings, residents expressed concern about everything from traffic to aesthetics. Residents worried about traffic on the two-lane Stonehenge Road, a connector between Route 28 and Mammoth roads, and expressed particular doubts about what traffic generated by the new residents would do to the intersection of Stonehenge and 28, already deemed at-risk. Other residents criticized the view that homeowners on Faye Lane and in its vicinity would have once the complex was built.

Other residents, including former Conservation Chair Deborah Lievens, expressed concern about the project’s effect on Little Cohas Brook. Fire Lt. Bo Butler said he had responded to too many accidents at Stonehenge and 28. And parents of children at North Elementary School worried about the effect of the complex on both the school itself and the traffic.

Town Councilor Jim Butler, the Council representative to the Planning Board, spoke out against the project. And Council Chair John Farrell expressed his feelings in a letter read to his fellow Councilors and the television audience in the Dec. 19 Council meeting.

The Residences at MacGregor Cut are the proverbial square peg in a round hole, Farrell wrote. He wrote, “These areas and neighborhoods weren’t built for this situation, no matter what the traffic study says.”

At that time, he called on his four fellow Councilors to direct Town Manager Kevin Smith to work with Town Attorney Michael Ramsdell to analyze and review all possible legal remedies, including purchasing the land themselves.

The continued public hearing will be held Wednesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Council Chambers, Londonderry Town Offices.

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