Residents Grow Weary of Extensions at Planning Board

Another delay on a local construction project had some residents rather frustrated during the Planning Board’s latest meeting on Jan. 10 at Town Hall.

The applicants for the project, known only as Seven Litchfield Road, Realty Trust, LLC, are hoping to establish a subdivision of the lot on 7 Litchfield Road, converting it into two lots. From there, they plan on building a duplex, as well as a sixty-six unit elderly housing complex.

However, due to what was established as “outstanding engineering issues” by Town Planner Colleen Mailloux, the formal review for the application was delayed for the second time. The first delay occurring back at the Dec. 6 meeting.

While the board had little issue with granting this second extension, which would give the applicants another month to present their plan, several abutters to the property in attendance that night took issue with the matter. One of the more pressing issues, according to abutter Eric Kolifrath, was that due to the fact that because the property is currently located near wetlands, he and the other abutters are fearful of the potential of flooding that may be caused by this new project.

“All of our properties are already moisture rich,” Kolifrath noted.

On top of the issue of flooding, the abutters also wonder what kind of impact this project would have on local traffic, considering that the neighboring Stonehenge Road has already had its fair share of traffic issues, and simply grew frustrated with driving all the way to Town Hall to only find out that they would not get an answer to any of these questions and had wasted their time.

Unfortunately, according to Board Chair Arthur Rugg, most of the matter seems to be out of their hands, as not only do they not find out about these extension requests until the day of the meeting, but there does not appear to be any legal provision that would prevent a certain number of extensions on formal reviews.

“We operate by what the state of New Hampshire tells us to do”, Rugg noted.

In order to somewhat alleviate the problems for the time being, Rugg advised that the abutters try to call Town Hall the day of these meetings in order to see if extensions have been requested, as well as leave their emails with the board in order to get this information more quickly in the future.

Rugg and Mailloux also suggested that more research be done into the matter of application extensions and even considered pursuing legislation if this becomes an ongoing problem in the future.

Board Vice Chair Mary Wing Soares did voice concerns she had over whether or not the applicants would ask for another extension, but Mailloux felt that a third extension would most likely not happen, as she felt that none of the engineering issues brought up to her by the applicants would take more than thirty days to fix.

The application is now expected to be looked over during the Planning Board’s Feb. 14 meeting.

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