Planning Board Approves Town’s Latest Capital Improvement Plan

Following last month’s workshop session, the Londonderry Planning Board voted unanimously on Wednesday, Sept. 11, in favor of the adoption of the 2019 (Fiscal Years 2021-2026) Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), as it was presented to the board. Now, the plan will go to the School Board, Town Council and Budget Committee for further reviews and votes.
In the workshop, the board members received a large file with information from the School District’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Curro, regarding the district’s requested projects which are part of the current Capital Improvement Plan. On Wednesday night, Curro told the board members that some of the projects, the new auditorium, new high school gym and the SAU space are needed, but are not priority for the School District in the first four years of the CIP and Curro, focused on the space needs for the elementary schools in town.

Curro, who had the Superintendent, Scott Laliberte, sitting next to him in front of the Planning Board, presented the board members with the enrollment numbers that were also in the packet given at the workshop. These enrollment numbers were done by the New Hampshire School Administration Association in 2015, and a newer enrollment projection was made in 2018. Curro said that the School District is going with the most recent data, which projects a rise in enrollment numbers in the upcoming years.
The School District is claiming that due to the current projections, there is a need for a solution, which will cost approximately $30 million. That solution could come in different forms, such as a new elementary school, a new building, an addition to Moose Hill or something else, but according to Curro, the elementary schools this school year are “full by rule”, meaning that they are at least at 90 percent capacity. Curro added that another option is to increase the number of kids in each class and/or send classes such as arts and music to temporary classrooms instead of them having their own classrooms, if that is something the town wished to do. The district also says that if there is no more construction, in fiscal year 2029 there will also be no outstanding long-term debt for the School District.
Prior to the CIP discussion, there was a lengthy Public Hearing, continued from Aug. 7, on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance, section 5.15.1 portable Storage Structures in the AR-1 District, 5.15.2 Portable Structures in Commercial Districts, and 5.15.3 Portable Structures in Industrial Districts as it relates to provisions concerning placement, length and permitted time of these structures.
Last month, when the discussion on storage container changes began, there were different opinions among the board members and on Wednesday, they heard and saw a presentation made by Bill Eaton, who works for a local storage company.
Eaton tried to explain the needs of storage container in a backyard and addressed Tony DeFrancesco’s claims from a previous meeting. Eaton said that DeFrancesco presented two photos; of a container and a neighborhood and through his presentation it looked as if the old container is in that neighborhood, while they are actually at North Elementary School.
Eaton said that he has been delivering containers for many years and that old looking containers are rarely left for long periods of time in a neighborhood or on someone’s backyard.
He also said that these storage containers, if they are brought into a neighborhood, are only used for renovations or moving in or out of the house. DeFrancesco answered that part of the board’s charge is “to protect the integrity of the residential neighborhoods and the quality of the community” and that the storage containers should not be allowed in a residential zone, except for cases of construction, fire damage or with a special exception of the Building Inspector or Building Department.

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