The Town Council scheduled a full agenda for their meeting on Monday, Sept.11: An update on Parlinet, five public hearings, one matter of old business, and three matters of news business. Despite the packed agenda, the meeting lasted under two hours, with the majority of the time being taken up by the public hearings.
The first public hearing was to accept a new ordinance related to the use and storage of travel trailers and recreational vehicles on residential property. Town Planner Colleen Mailloux explained the history of how this ordinance came into existence: There were a few cases earlier in the year where the town could not do anything about residents who had multiple recreational vehicles that posed a public nuisance. Because of this, there were multiple workshop sessions for the ordinance in May and June, and a public hearing about the topic in July. Now, the ordinance was up for approval.
The changes in the ordinance were of the language. Now, the ordinance states that at no time can a recreational vehicle be stored on a property that causes some sort of public nuisance, and at no time can a resident be allowed to live in a recreation vehicle on any property.
The ordinance leaves a “little bit of gray” on purpose, so that the zoning administrator can “use common sense” as to how many recreational vehicles should be allowed on a property.
Vice Chairman John Farrell expressed his belief that setting a number about how many recreational vehicles should be allowed per acre on a property:
“I think we open up problems when residents have to interpret,” he said.
Ultimately, the ordinance was adopted with the knowledge that should an amendment outlining the number of vehicles be required, the ordinance will have to be brought back in front of the Town Council.
The next item on the agenda was the discontinuance of Apple Tree Lane, which is an existing class-5 public road in Londonderry, entirely bordered by parcels as part of the Woodmont development. The property owner had requested to discontinue the road.
“This discontinuance will allow in future flexibility in the development of the parcel,” said Mailloux, who presented the topic.
The only comment from the public was an inquiry from Appletree Business Services owner Steve Feinberg, who wished to get the street sign for the road upon its discontinuance. Feinberg had named his business because of the road and the surrounding business of similar names.
“I’d love to get the sign,” he said.
Town Manager Kevin Smith told Feinberg to give Town Council Executive Assistant Kirby Wade his phone number and they would be in touch.
The discontinuance of the road was accepted, and “the sign has been donated,” according to Chair Tom Dolan.
The third item was the requirement of automated sprinkler systems in bars and businesses. Assistant Town Manager Lisa Drabik presented the ordinance, which required new bars with occupancies over 50, and existing bars with occupancies of over 100, to have automated sprinkler systems.
Division Chief of Fire Prevention Brian Johnson explained that the requirements depend on the primary use of the facility in question, and that no current establishments in town would be effected by this ordinance because every business either has under 100 occupancy, or is already up to code.
This ordinance will impact the upcoming business in town, like the ones proposed for the Woodmont projects, and if the new businesses have residences above the business they will also be required to have automated sprinklers.
Without comment from the public, the ordinance was accepted and adopted.
The last two items under public hearing were the only two that had any participation from the public.
The first was an ordinance restricting the removal of water from bodies of water in town for commercial use. The previous ordinance was a 60-day mandatory ban and has since expired; the ordinance up for discussion does not have a time frame, but would prohibit people from taking water while on town property.
Londonderry resident Deanna Mele approached the council and gave them a sheet of paper, on which read a quote from 2000 that was in Fortune magazine: “Water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations.”
Mele stated that since the first ordinance she hasn’t seen any disturbances of people trying to take water, but she does think that the fine for the third strike should be a heftier one than the ordinance suggests. She believes it should be $1,000, whereas under the new ordinance’s guidelines it is $500.
The Town Council accepted the ordinance as is.
The final item under public hearing was the acceptance of highway block grant money. Finance Director Doug Smith presented the topic for discussion: the town is able to receive $519,823.38 in additional funding – which is additional funding to the over $600,000 the town had put out for this fiscal year.
While the council had no questions, Ray Breslin, a member of the Master Plan Implementation Advisory Committee, approached the board about the money received earlier in the year from the state, over $500,000 to be put towards infrastructure in the town.
At a previous Town Council Meeting, Town Manager Kevin Smith had said that one option for the money was to be put toward the intersection at Stonehenge Road to speed along the process of getting it fixed. The money can only be used in addition to the money the town has already allocated for the fiscal year, and cannot supplement any funds, which is why Smith thought it would be a good idea to use it for that “failed intersection.”
Breslin said, “I think we really need to think about that, how we use that money.” Breslin believes the town should not pay for the intersection, which would technically be a state project. He believes it should be used on other things, such as sewer and water.
Dolan said that it has not been decided what the money would be spent on, but the intersection at Stonehenge Road is a contender. Since there were no questions about the grant on the agenda, the council passed the highway grant money resolution.