Woodmont Village Phases Clarified at Planning Board

The picture is becoming clearer. In the April 5 Planning Board meeting, the board and television audience received more information on how the Woodmont Village (formerly known as Woodmont Commons) mixed-use development will be phased in.

Ari Pollock, an attorney with Pillsbury Realty LLC, and engineer Jeff Merritt appeared before the board with an update to the plan.

Pollock said, “On Nov. 30 we presented Phase I and received conditional approval.” There was a “big list” of conditions to fulfill, appropriate for such a large project, and there were two conditions necessitating a return to the board: a phasing plan for Phase I and a financial impact statement.

Pollock said that the Phase I plan involves infrastructure for different areas of the project. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation has given approval to a traffic mitigation plan, he said.

“We need to refine our ideas so we’re not building something that can’t be serviced,” he said.

According to Merritt, the traffic plan includes improvements to Michels Way from the Market Basket area to Pillsbury Road, including utilities and the detention pond; extending water from Pillsbury Road to Gilcreast; installing the sewer system; and several buildings including the following:

A retail/small office building; Two buildings with 29 residential units each; and a brew pub and brewery to the rear of the Market Basket loading dock.

Pollock said Phase II will include offsite improvements to the intersections, including Route 102 and Garden Way/ Michels Way and Gilcreast/Pillsbury roads. In Phase III they will “work our way up Main Street,” the walkable downtown that is the heart of the community.

Town Planner Colleen Mailloux noted that construction on several freestanding pads in the Market Basket complex has been deferred in order that the brew pub be constructed without adding too much to the traffic.

Pollock said the development team is working with the state DOT on the intersection with 102, since it is a state road, and they are working with the town on the intersection with Pillsbury and Gilcreast roads.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Steve Barry, a business owner with an office in Londonderry Commons, expressed concern about the traffic that will be generated on Commons Drive. The street is already used as a cut -through by people going to the Market Basket or other shops in that plaza, he said. Pernow, who represented other owners of the business condos, said, “This needs to be addressed.”

“We haven’t been ducking that conversation,” Pollock responded. “We need to know what’s being asked of us.”

Commons Drive is a private road, Pollock pointed out.

Chairman Mary Wing Soares suggested that the Commons Drive owners work it out with Pillsbury.

“We are ready, willing and able to have a meeting,” Pollock said.

But Soares also pointed out that many people who take the shortcut don’t have an alternative and that Michels Way, when constructed, will provide one.

Resident Mike Speltz also expressed concern about traffic. “The Planning Board’s job is to look out for the town in general,” he said. He shared a photo of traffic on Gilcreast he had observed on a Thursday at rush hour.

“The conversation will continue,” Soares said. “But the scope of this conversation is about the phasing and the fiscal impact.”

“It is appropriate to discuss it,” Speltz countered. “And it should be done up-front.”

Pollock said a traffic plan for Phase I had been part of the site plan approval process and was available at the Town Office.

The fiscal impact statement was reviewed by a third party, RKG Associates, and deemed acceptable, Pollock said.

The board unanimously approved the phasing plan.

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