Pettengill Area Wildlife Survey Still in Play

Nothing new has happened with the 2009 wildlife survey planned for the Pettengill Road expansion area, but it’s likely to arise as the FedEx project seeks its alteration of terrain permit.

That’s the word from the Londonderry Conservation Commission, where commission member Paul Nickerson sought an update on the wildlife survey that was agreed to take place in the area of the planned but as yet unfunded Pettengill Road expansion project near the airport, as previously reported in the Londonderry Times.

“Is that going to get done?” Nickerson asked.

Commission Chairman Deb Lievens said the last she had heard of it was at a meeting where Kim Tuttle from New Hampshire Fish and Game asked her what had happened.

Lievens said the wildlife survey was expected to take place according to an agreement reached in 2009 but five years later, it has not been conducted. She said there was a lack of communication between the developer and New Hampshire Fish and Game, and meanwhile, the Pettengill Road expansion, while proposed, is unfunded.

“We’ll have to check with the Planning Department to see what their plans are,” Lievens said.

Commission member Mike Speltz said the Planning Department position is that the next step is for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to consider, in coordination with New Hampshire Fish and Game, whether to grant an alteration of terrain permit for the proposed site of a FedEx warehouse in the Pettengill area.

“I think the parties are moving toward a survey of just the area that FedEx is going into, and obviously it would have to be not for the same length (of time) that they had contemplated for a two-year survey (of the proposed road),” he said. “They can’t do that because they can’t hold up the (FedEx) project.”

Nickerson asked who would pay for the survey, and Speltz responded, “That’s a point of contention. Arguably the town is required to do it. But the town isn’t obligated to do the survey unless they build the road, and they haven’t built the road.”

“That’s the Pettengill Road part of it,” Lievens added.

“On the other hand, they are obligated to do the survey when they build the road, and would end up going back to New Hampshire Fish and Game and saying, ‘we can’t do a survey on this because there’s a 600-car parking lot and a 300,000-square-foot building on it,” said Speltz, referring to the FedEx warehouse proposal.

Speltz said he hoped the state agencies will go to FedEx and say, “look, there are concerns here, the way to resolve them is to do a survey,’ and have (FedEx) fund the survey. They may want to do that to keep the project moving.”

Nickerson asked whether the commission has a role in the survey issue, and Speltz said they could write a letter to Fish and Game.

“They are very aware of what’s going on, “Lievens added.

“They contacted us to let us know about this,” Speltz concluded.

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