July 9, 2010

Public hearing on rezoning postponed by Planning Board

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – A public hearing to change the zoning around the Robert Frost Farm has been postponed until September, after it was decided the language of the new General Commercial III zone needed some adjusting.
Planning Board members met Wednesday night to vote to put the proposed change onto the August agenda for a public hearing, but the process will require one more workshop, slated for July 21, said Planning Director George Sioras.
The issue of rezoning came up last summer after George Reynolds, who owns a welding business on Rockingham Road, sought the zoning change so that he could expand his business. That raised the question of how such a change would affect the historic integrity of the farm. The board spent nearly a full year exploring various options, settling finally on a new commercial zone that would restrict certain aspects of development.
In other business, board members discussed a proposed expansion of a parking lot at Overlook Medical Center, adding 24 spaces to the existing 350.
“This is about growing pains,” said Todd Connors, of Sublime Civil Consultants, who explained that parking during peak hours is tight at the busy medical office complex.
He is proposing the use of permeable asphalt, a relatively new process in paving that requires some regular maintenance to insure that the asphalt can drain.
Planning Board vice chair John O'Connor questioned who would be responsible for the maintenance. Connors told the board that there are currently no requirements to regulate permeable asphalt.
“As a lot of us in this field have noted, the DES missed the part about enforcement. Their regulations are short when it comes to enforcement. There is no requirement that we submit inspection logs,” Connors said.
He added that the town's Department of Public Works had also expressed concerns about the maintenance, but said drainage issues were built into the design and relocation of wetlands as part of the additional parking area.
Although the summer schedule does not require two July meetings of the Planning Board, a July 21 meeting will also include a presentation for the proposed Wal-Mart super store site plan.
The proposed super store will be built on Ashleigh Drive in the town's newly designated TIF District, replacing an existing Wal-Mart just off Manchester Road. In May, the discount department store chain announced it was reviving plans to build a super store in town. A similar plan was abandoned by the company a few years ago, citing economic reasons.

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