By Alex Malm
The Planning Board and Heritage Commission met recently for a joint meeting of both boards to discuss revising the town’s lookbook, which is a document that developers can use as a guide to know what the town is looking for when it comes to different designs.
Heritage Commission Ex-Officio, Jim Butler, said he thought they should scrap the book and have pictures put up of designs the town is looking for in the conference rooms used for potential developers to meet with staff.
“I think that we should discontinue and put pictures up on that meeting room that they meet in, ” Jim Butler said, noting he’s not sure how many developers look at the lookbook.
Town Manager, Mike Malaguti, said when there are questions from developers about what the town is looking for he directs them to the lookbook. He added that having the photos up in the conference room in addition to the book could be useful.
Heritage Commission Chair, Krystopher Kenney, and Planning Board Chair, Art Rugg, both agreed that developers want some type of document.
“I think it’s important to have a document to reference,” Kenney said.
Malaguti noted that the lookbook is valuable, not just for the pictures, but also for the descriptions and the characterizations of what the town finds appealing.
“I think that would be most beneficial,” Malaguti said.
Kenney said the developers ultimately want to have an idea of what designs may be approved before coming to meet with the boards and commissions.
“They want to come before us and have us approve their design, not kind of tear it apart,” Kenney said.
One thing pointed out by Planning Board member, Jake Butler, that stuck out to him were the photos in the current lookbook haven’t been updated in a number of years, something he thinks will be very important to update in the updated book.
“It’s a 10 year old document now,” Jake Butler said.
He also said it should be something that is a “living document” and they can re-update the photos every couple of years. He pointed to the Derry Medical Center as an example of something that should be in the lookbook.
“Really getting them changed to reflect what’s happened in Londonderry,” Jake Butler said.
Planning Board member, Lynn Wiles, said he thinks it would make sense to have photos of multi-family complexes in the lookbook, something that isn’t currently present.
Malaguti said he wants board approval from both boards before anything is handed out to the public.
He stated that at the staff level they would put together as much as they can and then would present it to both boards based on the feedback received and the pictures submitted by board members and commission members.
Malaguti explained that the town’s new administrative coordinator, Kirsten Hildonen, has a graphic design background and can help to make it look like a professional document.
Kenney noted that if they have everything in place before their next meeting later this month then they can make it an agenda item. The Planning Board would also review the updates to the lookbook and then approve it.
The next Heritage Commission meeting is slated to take place on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.