The Londonderry School Board will file a letter of opposition to a proposed rezoning change for a parcel of land with frontage on Rockingham and Page roads, after hearing Superintendent Nathan Greenberg’s analysis on how rezoning would affect Londonderry’s public school population.
At its Aug. 2 meeting, the board heard a presentation from Greenberg on upcoming and projected student enrollment (see related story page 2).
The proposal for rezoning involves a parcel of 200 acres owned by Charles Evans at Tax Map 17, Lot 45. The parcel is split-zoned, with 180 acres Industrial II and 20 acres Residential III. The R-III parcel has frontage on Sanborn Road.
Evans applied to the Planning Board to rezone 47.3 acres of the I-II land to R-III. The rationale is that the natural land characteristics tend to direct access and the provision of utilities to this area through the current R-III area, and the area to be rezoned has more in common with the R-III than the I-II section,
The Planning Board reviewed the proposal, held a public hearing and recommended the change to the Town Council. The Council tabled the discussion, waiting on a review of possible development scenarios and their impact on town services.
Greenberg wrote in a memo to the board that the rezoning if approved would allow for multi-family housing at market rate or multi-family housing at workforce rate, which would generate 37 and 51 students respectively.
Greenberg’s position is that the rezoning if approved would send a number of new students to North School, push the enrollment past what is functional, and aggravate short-, medium-and long-term facilities issues.
He wrote, “At a minimum, redistricting would be in order, not only at North, but at all three elementary schools as a short-term solution.”
Greenberg added that with Woodmont Commons coming on board, the rezoning would generate an “even more urgent need” for a new school building.
Board vice-chair Leitha Reilly, who also serves on the Planning Board, recommended that the district also notify the Planning Board of its objection to the rezoning.
Member Steve Young said, “I personally feel that people should be able to use their land any way they wish.” But, he said, he is concerned about some “flawed assumptions” and “flawed analogies” in the impact study.
One of Young’s concerns was the impact assessment on town services. For the town, that impact is estimated at $162,000 to $221,000. The assessment to the school district is $108,000, and that seemed low to Young.
“The town always says we (the school district) are two-thirds of the expense. Why is that flipped?” he asked.
But Young also calculated out the impact of the projected 52 to 72 students coming from this development, and he said it comes out to a cost per student of $1,300.
The state sends $4,500 per student in adequate education funds, Young said, and the district adds another $3,000 to $4,000 to make it adequate. “If you add in the cost of buildings, teacher retirement and other costs, it’s $12,000 per child,” he said. “So how can the impact be $1,300?”
With at least one special education student among the projected new students, Young said that would result in another $20,000 to $200,000 that is not accounted for. And there may be more than one special education student, he added.
Young also questioned where the document stated that the impact of the children from the development would result in one new teacher and an aide. “Nate just told us with the uptick he expects, he needs two teachers,” Young said. “This document does not reflect the way our district does business.”
In addition, Young said, the uses of the parcel do not list manufacturing or manufacturing/development. He serves on the advisory board for Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and noted that many firms are coming into the airport area on a land-lease basis, which is not really favorable to them. “We don’t have land-lease with this parcel, so why aren’t we considering manufacturing/development?” he asked.
Reilly, serving as chair in the absence of Nancy Hendricks, requested that the document be reworked and the board agreed by consensus to have it sent to both the Planning Board and Town Council once the changes are made.
Deliberative Session Monday for Two Employee Town Contracts
Kathleen D. Bailey
Two contracts for town employees will be the subject of a deliberative session Monday night, Aug. 15 before going to voters in a special meeting Sept. 13.
The Deliberative Session is Monday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Conference Room at Town Hall. Voting will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Londonderry High School gym.
The two articles deal with contracts for two groups of town employees.
Town Manager Kevin Smith said that both unions’ contracts expired in July 2015. According to Smith, the proposed contracts would benefit the town because a new health plan would be part of the agreement, and that plan would save the town an estimated $71,000 and save the union members $96,000.
However, Smith said, the enrollment period for the health plan ends Jan. 1, 2017, and the Town Meeting vote is not until March, so the town petitioned the state to have a special meeting to vote on the contracts. They were approved under the “emergency” clause, Smith said.
There were no speakers in a public hearing July 21, and the Town Council unanimously approved moving the items to the warrant.
Article 1 asks to see if the Town will vote to approve the cost items included in the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Town of Londonderry and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 93 (LAEA – Unit B – Town Administrative Personnel), which calls for the following appropriations for salaries and benefits over what was raised under the current agreement and policies for the employees of the Union: First year, FY 17, $42,905, .01 on tax rate, average 1.5 percent increase.
The contract includes 12 “middle manager” administrative employees at Town Hall, according to Smith.
The contract has been approved by both the Town Council and Budget Committee.
Article 2 asks to see if the Town will vote to approve the cost items included in the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Town of Londonderry and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1801, which calls for the following appropriations for salaries and benefits over what was raised under the current agreement and policies for the employees of the Union: First year, FY 17, $51,114, $.01 on tax rate, 1.5 percent average increase.
This collective bargaining unit includes members of the Town Clerk’s staff and Public Works employees.
Both items were approved by both the Council and Budget Committee.
See Warrant page 15.