Planning Board Hears Residents Concerns Over Blasting

On Aug. 8, the Planning Board unanimously conditionally approved phases two, three and four of the Lorden Commons conservation subdivision.  In total eighty-three lots, most roughly a half acre, will be created. The developer, Chinburg Properties, plans to build 3-bedroom single family homes starting in 2019.  Town regulations limit building to 25 houses per year, so it will take several years to fully build out the subdivision.

Chinburg originally sought approval in April 2017 with a plan got provide water via wells.  At the time, the Planning Board expressed strong concern about whether the aquifer could handle that many new wells.  They asked the developer to conduct a hydrology study.  Based on the study results, Chinburg decided to look at options for piping in water from a local water supplier.

During the Board meeting, Jason Lopez of Keach-Nordstrom Associates described a plan for Derry’s Water Division to service the subdivision.  The water line that runs along Old Derry Road in Derry would be extended into Londonderry up to the area of the three new phases of the subdivision.

Public water would not, however, be extended into phase 1 of Lorden Commons which was built in 2016 and 2017. An incidental benefit of the water line is that residents along that part of Old Derry Road could, at their expense, opt to connect to the water line.

Several area residents expressed concern about how blasting required for the new phases would impact their wells and house foundations.  Mike Boyle spoke passionately and at length about his concerns. He owns two properties on Old Derry Road. He believes that blasting during phase one caused cracks in his foundation.  He shared that he never had water in his basement before but started getting it after the blasting. He fears that additional blasting will make it worse

Boyle also worries that blasting could damage his well and impact water quality. While he acknowledged that the blasting contract is required to do before and after inspections of foundations and water quality, he asked that the town do an independent evaluation. He also asked that the developer be required to post a bond to cover any blasting damage.

Town planning officials replied that the town did not have the expertise to monitor the blasting and is not able to require a bond for an issue like this. Lopez shared that the blasting company would have insurance that would cover any damages to abutting properties.

Several other abutters shared concerns about water quality testing to determine what impact, if any, the blasting would have on their wells.  Town planning staff shared that state regulation requires before and after water quality testing of wells that fall within two thousand feet of the blasting areas.

The state mandates that testing cover nitrates and nitrites which as elements used in the blasting power.  Some residents asked about testing to things like radon and arsenic which could be released from the granite.  Eric Chinburg, President of CEO of Chinburg Properties, stated that his company would pay for a more extensive test for any resident within the two-thousand foot radius to cover those concerns.

Several residents said that when blasting for phase one occurred, they did not get notification despite the efforts of the developer to reach them.  Eric Chinburg suggested that e-mail would be a good way to communicate plans to abutters and asked people to e-mail him at to be added to the list or to ask any questions.

The subdivision will be built off Old Derry Road in the area of Calla Road. Phase two includes 18 house lots along a new constructed road, Clover Lane. Phase 3 includes 40 lots along Calla Road and Clover Lane with Calla Road being extended to intersect Clover Lane.  Phase 4 calls for the final 25 lots. Lopez stated that phases 2 and 3 are likely to be developed at the same time; however, they were split into two phases to give the developer the flexibility to hold off on phase 3 if economic conditions change.

Per town regulation, as a conservation subdivision, the developer is required to leave 40% of the land, or roughly 92 acres as open space.  Plans show that the development will exceed the requirement with 63% open space, or 144 acres.

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