Three Subdivisions Come Before Planning Board

Three subdivisions went before the Planning Board last week, with differing results.
Thomas J. and Christina L. Wolfinger requested a waiver at the July 10 Planning Board for their 35 Bartley Hill Road property of the ordinance that requires underground utilities and that states utilities must be shown on the improvement plan.

Town staff recommended the waiver as nearby utilities are above ground, and plan details regarding overhead utilities are not necessary for a simple subdivision such as this. The board granted the waiver unanimously.

Tim Ferwerda of Meridian Land Services said it was a subdivision of a 2.7 acre parcel with an existing house and driveway with an existing septic system and well. “Our proposal is to build one more building lot. The new lot will have just over 150 feet of frontage and the existing lot will have a little over 200 feet,” Ferwerda said.

He presented an additional waiver request to have the plan shown a 1 inch equals 50 feet scale, where there usually is a 1 inch equals 40 feet. The change would allow the plan to be on a single sheet.

Town staff agreed with the waiver and recommended granting it. Staff also stated the owner should sign the final plans, the drainage report should be updated noting the impacts to each abutter, the driveway sight distance is to be updated, and the applicant is to provide a drainage easement for maintenance by the town and is to arrange a meeting with Public Works to verify if any offsite improvements to Bartley Hill Road will be necessary.

Each lot will have its own septic system, and will be served by a common driveway. The waiver request regarding plan scale passed unanimously. Also passed unanimously was a motion for conditional approval of the plans.

Cistern Request Continued A second subdivision, Lorden Commons, sought cisterns instead of sprinkler systems in the previously approved phase one of the development. Jonathan Ring of Jones and Beach Engineers, Inc. and Paul Kerrigan of Lorden Commons said phase one of the development started in 2010 and was designed and signed this past winter.

“Phase one is 50 lots and was approved with a stipulation that each building would have a sprinkler system. As we started construction and looked at home costs and things that were going on, it was decided that it would be a little more affordable for the homes if we could go with the fire cistern. So we’re seeking to remove the sprinkler system requirement and go with the fire cistern,” Ring said.

Ring said the fire cistern would be located on lot 38-27 and would have a capacity of 35,000 gallons. “We have gone through all the technical comments with the fire marshal and public works. We have a paved turnout on the street for the cistern, we have the bollards, we’ve got the fill pipes and discharge pipes and so on,” Ring said.

Londonderry Fire Marshal Brian Johnson said as far as the fire department is concerned, it always prefers sprinkler systems over cisterns because sprinklers give a quicker response time. “The sprinklers are activated before we can get our trucks out of the bay,” Johnson said. But Johnson said as far as code is concerned, cisterns were an acceptable alternative.

Johnson said there are three cisterns in town and they were not designed to the quality Lorden Commons is designing. He said the existing cisterns were old, made of concrete and were leaking. The Lorden Commons design had a 30-year life span. “The question is who is going to fill and maintain the cistern,” Johnson said.

Board member Al Sypek said he agreed with Johnson and questioned who was responsible for the maintenance and filling of the cistern. “Will this fall on Public Works expense or are some other arrangements going to be made?” Sypek asked.

Board member Leitha Reilly asked the difference between a cistern and a fire hydrant, and Johnson said a hydrant was on pressurized water and had an unlimited supply, while a cistern was a holding tank. He said sprinklers were an alternative to putting fire hydrants in developments.
Board member Lynn Wiles asked how many houses had been built and Kerrigan said one was completed and a second was under construction.

Wiles said it appeared to be economics that was driving the request for a cistern and asked how much per house a sprinkler system would cost. “Approximately $5,000 to $6,000,” was Kerrigan’s answer. The plan calls for 133 houses.

Ring said the cost to build a cistern is $80,000. Johnson said at completion, the development would have three cisterns. Chairman Arthur Rugg said more thought was needed on the issue. A vote was taken to continue the hearing until Aug. 7. It passed unanimously.

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