Town Council Discusses Griffin Road Conservation Parcel

The Conservation Committee had approached the Town Council about possible purchasing a lot off Griffin Road for open space. In order to make an informed decision, the Town Council needed more information on the lot in question, and required a lot study to be done, determining how much of the land could be developed and how many residential lots the parcel could potentially yield.

The parcel is a 30-acre parcel that is adjacent to a lot that had recently come before the board for a subdivision review. The lot in question could potentially combine with the previous lot to offer more of a chance to develop. At the back of the lot is Long Swamp, and scattered throughout the parcel are multiple wetland areas.

The study done by the town looked for theoretical lot yield, meaning how many lots they can get out of the land due to number of wetlands/steep slopes. Because of the amount of wetlands, they did their “best guess scenario,” according to Town Planner Colleen Mailloux, and determined that the land could yield anywhere from nine to fifteen single-home residential lots.

“Are they ideal lots?” she asked. “That’s for the buyers to decide.”

Town Council Vice Chair John Farrell expressed that since no wetland scientists have looked at the lot and there are no septic plans, there could be less than six.

Mailloux agreed, saying that at this point the lots would fit comfortably, but the study did not take into account trying to fit in wells and septic among the wetland area.

Farrell, who had done some calculations on the price of building a road over that area to reach whatever subdivision they had allotted, said it would cost around $720,000 to build a roadway for six to nine houses.

“They [the developers] would have to build very big houses to make their money back,” he said.

Roberta Davis, a resident of the area, asked the board about the impact developing this land would have on wildlife, to which Town Council Chair Tom Dolan responded that the land is also being considered for open space in order to preserve the area as conservation land.

The reason they did this study, according to Dolan, was to see how much residential development would be stopped by preserving this land.

“It’s part of the analysis and decision-making process on whether we want to preserve this open space,” he said.

The town is in the information-gathering stage, which is why this study was conducted.

Angus Douglas, another resident of the area, echoed Davis concern.

“To develop on that land where so much wildlife exists would be detrimental to the character of Londonderry,” Douglas said.

School Board Member Leitha Reilly also approached the council to “give perspective about what you don’t see” when looking at maps of the area. She said that although a lot of the land is not shown as being particularly wet, it is.

Farrell pointed out that “the more information we have, the better stewards we are of the town’s money” and thanked the residents for coming forward with their information.

The council did not make a decision, and planned to review it again later, after more information had been gathered.