Request for Class VI Road Building Permit Goes to Legal Counsel

Last month, the Planning Board continued a request for a building permit on the historic Jack’s Bridge right-of-way, to enable the board to get further information on what would have to be done for a building permit to be issued.

At the board’s Wednesday, June 1 meeting, the matter returned.

The only access to the lot in question, owned by Susan and Peter Carl of Newbury, is via Page Road, a Class VI road. The issuance of a building permit can only be granted with the approval of Town Council after review and comment by the Planning Board.

At last week’s meeting of the Planning Board, Town staff, in consultation with emergency services personnel, identified and presented to the Planning Board several items for discussion. Londonderry Division Chief of Fire Prevention Brian Johnson was present to answers questions from the board. Member Giovanni Verani recused himself from the hearing because he lives in the area under discussion.

Johnson’s department recommended that the access to the lot would have to be constructed to meet NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1141 and NFPA 1 standards, which was also the recommendation of the other town officials weighing in on the building permit.

Johnson said the roadway would require a 24-foot width, with turnarounds installed every 1,200 feet that would handle the fire department trucks. The road would have to be constructed of a hard, all-weather surface sufficient to hold the weight of a fire truck; and, the maximum slope of the road should not exceed 6 percent.

Other concerns beyond the construction of the road between the Page Road and Jack’s Bridge junction to the property, which would have to be addressed before the building permit could be issued, included having a survey by a licensed land surveyor to field locate the existing road right-of-way and to ensure that all improvements take place within the right-of-way and where that is impossible, easements be procured from existing abutting property owners.

Wetlands must be delineated by a certified wetland scientist and appropriate permits obtained, as well, and designation of liability must be developed to make the property owner responsible for any damage to town-owned vehicles and equipment and added to present language of the waiver of municipal liability that is in place as proposed by Town Counsel. Appropriate storm water management and erosion controls must be designed and installed per Public Works and Engineering specification as well.

The proposed home would have a Page Road address and must have a residential sprinkler system.

The Planning Board added a concern about existing stone walls, asking if they are impacted, they must be repaired or replaced. And the board noted that maintenance of a newly constructed roadway is a different matter from construction of the roadway and would be the concern of the combined homeowners.

Peter Carl provided pictures of the area and expressed his concern that no one was concerned with his rights to develop property he has owned and paid taxes on for 16 years. He expressed fear that he would not be able to work harmoniously with the present area landowners, the Verani family.

Carl said he had expected to have to improve the road from the junction of Page Road and Jack’s Bridge to his property but is being asked to improve the portion of Page Road involved, something he does not consider fair.

It was later made clear by the board and Colleen Mailloux, Town Planner, that his responsibility would only be from the junction of Page Road and Jacks Bridge. Maintenance would have to be addressed with the Verani family, the board said.

Carl also questioned how the Verani family had been allowed to build in the area without having to meet the stringent requirements he is being asked to meet. The board agreed this was a question needing an answer.

The board acknowledged his concerns and added them to those being forwarded to Town Counsel. Johnson said a residential sprinkler system would not be required if the road was improved according to the standards put forward.

The concerns identified and reviewed by the Planning Board h will be passed on to Town legal counsel. A decision will be made by the Town Council.

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