Property May Be Going to the Dogs and Beer Brewery

A change of use application for a Londonderry property may bring two new, but vastly different, businesses to Londonderry.

The prospect of a dog day care and nano-brewery in vacant property at 298 and 302 Rockingham Road came before the Planning Board in its March 1 meeting. The plan received conditional approval.

Attorney Mike Hammer represented Remi Fortin, the owner and developer. Jane Keefe, manager of the property, was also in attendance.

The parcel is PID Map 17, Lot 24, and is zoned C-III.

Hammer told the board the commercial building has been vacant for a while and formerly housed a chiropractor and yoga studio and a recording studio. The property covers 18 acres, he said.

Hammer said the principals have spoken with the Department of Environmental Services, who told them there is enough water for a micro-brewery but that they need a new septic design. They are in correspondence with the Department of Transportation about a driveway permit, he said.

The parking lot was previously striped by a paving contractor, and Hammer said, “It does not necessarily conform to the town regulations and we are planning to restripe it.”

Board member Leitha Reilly asked for better definition of the term “nano-brewery.” Keefe said potential customers can come to the facility and sample the different brews in 2-ounce cups. “If they like it, they can take it home in a larger container,” she said.

It is a retail establishment, Keefe told Reilly, and will be open from 2 to 6 p.m.

Reilly questioned the amount of parking, saying it seemed like “an awful lot of parking” for the nature of these businesses.

John Trottier, assistant director of public works, agreed and said, “They maximized the amount. It is a lot of pavement.” Trottier suggested the developers eliminate six parking spaces.

Reilly also asked about the hours of the dog day care. “Will it be normal workers’ hours?”

Keefe said the facility will operate with “all kinds of hours.” It will house pets whose owners are away, so there is an overnight component, she told Reilly. There will not be a staff person on site overnight, but they will be on call, she said, adding, “We don’t want anything to happen to the dogs.”

Reilly asked about buffers for two reasons: the environment and the neighbors. “I’m thinking about barking dogs, and who’s on the other side,” she said.

Board members expressed concern about a graveled area to the rear of the complex and possible run-off.

Hammer said the owners are working off a 1980 site plan. ‘We can’t give you a ‘pre’ and ‘post’ analysis,” he said. “We have no idea what the conditions were in the 1980s.”

“I can’t certify there was no net change,” Hammer said in regards to the asphalt. “We have no idea what ‘pre’ was.”

But Trottier said, “We can go back to the approved site plan and compare 1980 with today. There is a difference in the run-off from gravel and from a forested area.”

Trottier also said he was willing to “hash it out” with Fortin’s engineer.

“I am comfortable you will be able to work it out,” Vice-Chair Mary Wing Soares, who conducted the meeting, said.

The board voted unanimously to give conditional approval to the project.

Reilly said, “It will be nice to see some life out there.”

In other business, the board voted unanimously to keep the same slate of officers, including Art Rugg, chair; Soares, vice-chair; Chris Davies as secretary; and Scott Benson as assistant secretary.

The board also approved the continuation of two public hearings and application reviews to April 5: a lot line change and subdivision application for Elwood Road and an 83-lot conservation subdivision, Lorden Commons, for 17 Old Derry Road.

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