The group spearheading a rental workforce housing project planned for the subdivided Whittemore Estates met with the Conservation Commission at their May 28 meeting to outline the project. NeighborWorks, an nationwide non-profit organization that builds affordable housing units, is working on the Londonderry Town Homes project.
“We’ve been meeting with folks in Londonderry since 2006 or 2007 to identify a site where we might be able to develop workforce housing in the community,” said NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire Executive Director Robert Tourigny. “We’ve met with planning staff over the last few years and ultimately identified this site on Mammoth Road, which was previously approved as an age-restricted condo development and the developer never finished the project. A lender foreclosed on the property and we’ve been in negotiations with that lender to puchase this site and come up with a redevelopment plan.”
Tourigny said that there will be 78 units built in two phases comprising nine seven-unit buildings and three five-unit buildings for a total of 12 buildings. Senior Project Manager Earle Blatchford of Hayner/Swanson, Inc., a Nashua-based civil engineering and land surveying firm, said that the property was to be subdivided into two sections. The northern half will be rental workforce housing and the one to the south will be an existing six unit age restricted condo building called Whittemore Estates on Trail Haven Dr., which will have three more buildings added for an additional 11 units.
Blatchford said that there were areas of encroachment into the 100-foot buffer zone for an overall total of 6,840 square feet. One is a corner of a parking lot, another is where a storm water maintenance pond is located, and a third where the slope near a couple of buildings encroach on the buffer.
“The area of largest encroachment is where the stormwater management pond is located. The plan is to allow that area to return to natural vegetative state but there will be occasional maintenance of the pond to clear unwanted growth and silt that may accumulate over time,” Blatchford said.
He said that the buildings and roadway were located to be as far away from the buffer zone as possible. However, because there were encroachments, the developer was looking for a conditional use permit. “It’s very tight,” Blatchford said. Conservation Commission Chairman Deb Lievens asked what the management plans for inside the buffer would be.
Blatchford replied that the area would be fenced and that there would be periodic cleaning and maintenance done there. “On the woods side it will naturally revegetate over time and we’ve called for a wetland mix of grasses and shrubs for inside the basin. I really expect that this area will establish itself as jurisdictional wetland,” Blatchford said. Commissioner Eugene Harrington asked what would be involved with “periodic maintenance”?
Blatchford pointed out the areas would need to be periodically inspected for sediment and trash, which would need to be removed.
Harrington asked if anything would be done to “manage the vegetation in there.” Blatchford said that there would be monitoring to see how it establishes itself but otherwise there were no plans to manage it. Harrington said that the commission does not want to see lawn chemicals or mowing being done in the buffer. “Good, I don’t want to have to mow it,” Tourigny replied.
Harrington asked if chemicals would be used to maintain land around the fence that bordered the stormwater management pond. He was told by Blatchford nothing would be done about the vegetation other than cutting it back if it gets too dense. Lievens said that there must be a written management plan, and that there would be no herbicides being used and that it would be managed by manual pruning. Blatchford said that that was the plan. Harrington asked if there could be mitigation where a corner of the parking lot that encroached could be moved.
Blatchford said that the area could be shortened and parking spaces relocated. Blatchford said that the area of encroachment on the Whittemore Estates property was mainly where the proposed roadway, which has already been cleared by the previous developer, crosses the buffer to gain access to two of the new buildings that are being proposed. “Originally the Whittemore property had 5,000 square feet of wetland impact. It now has 2640 square feet of impact because of a slight delineation change,” Blatchford said.
He said that originally when there was going to be a proposed single family development planned for the property in 2001, there was about 10,000 square feet of impact, and then in the 2003 design, that figure had dropped to the 5,000. Now it is 2,640 square feet of impact. “In every new project, the wetland impacts have gone down,” Blatchford said. Harrington asked if the conservation deed had been signed over to the town yet, as there has been three incarnations of development.
Blatchford replied that it had. He also asked about signs identifying the area as a conservation buffer. Lievens said that it would be done if it had not been done already and that the signs would be put in by the developer. She suggested the signs should be located near where the residents would be most likely to see them.
Harrington made the motion to have the chair review language in the amended site plan application and to authorize her if it was acceptable, and to recommend to the Planning Board that the Commission favored approval. Commissioner Mike Considine seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Commissioner Harrington also made a motion that the Commission recommend that the Planning Board approve the conditional use permit for the ammended site plan for Whittemore Estates. Commissioner Truda Bloom seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Harrington made a motion to have the Chair work with town staff to determine the locations of the signs that are to be placed warning people of the buffer zone. Bloom seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. Commissioner Bloom made a motion to recommend to the wetlands bureau approval of the dredge and fill application. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Harrington and passed unanimously.