Ice Cream Shop Request Denied by Zoning Board

By Alex Malm

During the Wednesday, Sept. 15, Londonderry Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting one of the cases that they heard was in regards to a variance request to allow Melissa DiNoto, to operate an ice cream shop located at 104 Harvey Road. The zoning that is the Industrial II zone doesn’t allow restaurants.
It was explained by DiNoto, that the location would be near the Rail Trail and it is intended to be complementary to the area since it can be a place for people to rest and to get refreshment. She said that currently there isn’t anything like it in the zone.
She explained that currently she operates a mobile ice cream shop called Sweet Plane View, which is located at the Aviation Museum. Her goal she said would be to open her business in a building instead of having the mobile shop.
Because of its location that is right near the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport she said that her building would look like an airport hangar.
Through her business she said that she has been able to promote both the museum and the rail trail and would continue to do so in her new location if she was approved.
One question asked was if they would have any seating there.
DiNoto said that she would want to.
“Ideally I would enjoy having indoor seating,” she said.
Another question that was asked by the Board was whether or not it would be a seasonal business or if it would be open all year round.
She said that it would be a seasonal business only.
Deb Paul, who is the Town Council Liaison for the Board said that she thinks they need to have more information before they make a decision about it.
“I think this is a great idea, I’m just concerned about the size of the building and the traffic and the amount of growth and the fact that once you change it you change it forever, it stays with the property forever,” she said.
While she said that she wasn’t for or against it she said that the need to get more information.
Londonderry ZBA Chairman Neil Dunn said that he also agreed that they needed to get more information.
“I don’t feel we have enough information,” he said.
The Board received five letters in favor of allowing the variance.
One of them was from the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire.
“Having a concession offering ice cream and food in the vicinity would be a positive development for the aviation museum,” the letter stated.
Another letter came from the Londonderry Trailways.
“Londonderry Trailways believes that your business with its proximity to the rail would greatly benefit the community of Londonderry and firmly enhance the spirit of the rail trail,” said Bob Rymal, the president of the organization.
One of the abutters, Donald Mendzela , from Gerard Laflamme Inc., expressed their concerns in a letter. Some of the things they had questions about included what the hours of operation would be, and what the size of the building would be.
They said without answers to their questions they would be opposed to it.
“We also have concerns regarding a precedent being set allowing an industrial II zone change to allow a restaurant. If 104 Harvey Road is allowed now then why not 98 Harvey Road and 1 Plainview Drive which are larger properties,” the letter stated.
The board members ultimately denied the variance with a unanimous vote.

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