ZBA Denies Variance for Young Road Development

By Alex Malm

During the Wednesday, April 20, Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting the Board denied a case where a developer was looking to build 45, three-bedroom residential units at 22 Young Road. The developer had modified his variance request from earlier meetings and was hoping the board would grant him the ability to build 45 homes where only 20.66 are allowed by the town.
The case had been continued a number of times, once to allow abutters meet with the developer, and once because of too few board members attending the meeting.
John Cronin, a lawyer representing the developers, said that they originally asked for 55 homes to be built. He said that they were asked at the last meeting to meet with the abutters and address their concerns to see if there could be anything done about the density.
“It is believed that the abutters are satisfied with the conditions,” said Cronin.
It was pointed out by Associate Planner Laura Gandia that due to the soil type and size only 20.66 three-bedroom units are allowed.
“That is what is allowed,” said Gandia.
Cronin said that the state has different regulations and would allow 67. He said that the town has more stringent regulations.
“A project like this doesn’t work with 20 units,” said Cronin.
Aaron Orso, the developer for the proposed project said that if the variance was approved they would propose putting in a sidewalk from their development to the Copperfield Development, when they get to the Planning Board.
He said that he would also propose a right hand turn out of their development.
The size of the units would be 1,700 to 2,300 Orso said.
One question that was asked is if they would still have some affordable units like was originally proposed when they were going to build more units.
Orso said that they may consider that.
“We’re open to that,” said Orso.
Another question that was asked about the size of the lots.
“These are postage size lots,” said Jacqueline Benard, the Vice Chair of the Board. She said she was concerned about people wanting to come to the ZBA to have things like a pool.
Cronin said that it is made perfectly clear that it is common land and no one would be able to have things in the common area.
“No individual homeowner would have the right to expand past their footprint,” said Cronin.
Orso said that they are going to try to keep the prices to the mid to high $600,000 range but said it will heavily depend on things like inflation. He said for example the same house that cost him around $300,000 last year cost $450,000 this year.
Heidi Bennett the owner of 20 Young Road said that they always knew that the property would be developed and are happy to see changes made to the original proposal.
“We always knew that the property would get developed,” said Bennett.
Town Council liaison Deb Paul said she got two calls that day both who were thankful that the developer took the time to consider the concerns of the abutters.
“They’re happy that they got something done,” said Paul.
Paul said that they still have some concerns however about the number of houses being built and traffic.
“I do applaud the developer for working with the abutters,” said Paul.
She said that if they were able to reduce the number of houses by a couple that would help. She said that the turn onto 102 only would help but she doesn’t think it would be easy to enforce.
Longtime reident Steven Young spoke against the project, he said the road was named after his family and added that they have been on the land since the 1750s and own 20 acres around their home.
“I’m stunned by the impact of the development,” said Young.
Young said that it doesn’t fit with the character of Londonderry, which is supposed to have houses spread out.
“This is an urban development,” said Young. “It’s going to change a Londonderry that I have known and loved for a long time.”
Young said that large developments like the one being proposed are hurting the quality of life in Londonderry.
“I’m ashamed that we’re talking about the urbanization of a place that I love,” said Young.
Cronin said if they do a 20 lot subdivision they would have to cut down the trees and would get more million dollar houses.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment ultimately voted to deny the variance request.

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