By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- With a new website now up and running, citizens seeking the most current information on the pending, 630-acre town center project being constructed on the former Woodmont apple orchards need only log onto their home computers to do so.
Following the Dec. 8 public workshop for Woodmont Commons, Community Development Director Andre Garron said he hoped more members of the public would offer their insights on the project, which was initially presented to the community during a workshop last month.
“These are workshops where we’re hoping more residents would say what they like and don’t like about the project,” Garron said of the project, to be located off Pillsbury Road. “We will continue to work with the project advocates to this goal, to get more meat to the bones.”
With that in mind, Garron said he and other Londonderry planning officials vowed to work further to align the project with the town’s master plan.
Michael Kettenbach, owner of Pillsbury Realty Development LLC, said he was pleased with the workshop process thus far.
“A lot of questions were answered, and those that weren’t answered will be answered at future workshops,” Kettenbach said yesterday.
Since the initial Nov. 10 workshop, Kettenbach said he’s made much progress in reaching out to property abutters, noting that the project’s new website, which launched earlier this week, is playing a vital role.
“People can query it and follow it. We’re adding links each day,” Kettenbach said. “Residents can contact us and get their questions answered.”
Kettenbach noted most of the recent resident inquiries focused on provisions for open land and recreation opportunities, though he described those inquiries as being questions rather than concerns.
“I really didn’t hear a lot of objections or vocal oppositions in any way. What I did hear was people wanting the process to work,” Kettenbach said. “I think the project will ultimately be starting once that process is complete. The process is probably the most important part. I want to see the citizens satisfied and the board satisfied.”
He noted that further workshops would play a crucial role in that process, with an ultimate goal of breaking ground on the $1 billion project next spring.
According to the project’s new website, Woodmont Commons is being planned in multiple phases, resulting in a village-style destination complete with diverse housing development, local and national retailers, offices and hotels, as well as recreational and civic facilities.
The proposed master plan for Woodmont includes an estimated 650,000 square feet of retail, 1,200 new homes, three hotels and 700,000 square feet of commercial space, with the remaining 40 percent of the property reserved for open space and agricultural uses.
Development will occur over a 20-year period, with an estimated 60 housing units to be built annually, officials said.
Another Woodmont Commons public workshop is currently being planned for next month, during the Jan. 12 Planning Board meeting. For more information, visit the project’s website, www.woodmontcommons.com.