Woodmont Master Plan Approved by Planning Board

The more than 600-acre Woodmont Commons Planned Unit Development (PUD) Master Plan, under review for well over a year, has been approved by the Planning Board.
Much of Woodmont Commons encompasses the former Woodmont Orchards, an apple orchard that is no longer managed for agriculture.

The approval of the Master Plan was granted at the board’s Wednesday, Sept. 11 meeting, and that led to the approval of Woodmont’s development agreement as well. Earlier in the week, as previously reported by the Londonderry Times, the Town Council had approved Woodmont’s development agreement contingent on Master Plan approval. The Planning Board had recommended Council approval at its last meeting.
“The 65-day timeframe expires at midnight tonight so we have to make a decision. The decision can be yes, no or yes with conditions,” Planning Board chair Arthur Rugg said.
Board member Mary Wing Soares asked Woodmont planner Emilie Innes once again about the three rows of apple trees that are intended to serve as a buffer along the perimeter of the development along Gilcreast and Pillsbury roads.
“What we had talked about was giving us a specific,” Soares said. “I know we say there’s a 50-foot buffer but if three rows (of apple trees) goes beyond that 50 feet, where does that leave us?”
Woodmont developer Tom Goodwin said the distance from the road to three rows back of trees was not a constant measurement.
“We were going to put a dimension on that but we started looking at Gilcreast Road, and what three rows actually meant, it varies, so what we had said was the drip line at the third tree,” Goodwin said. The drip line of a tree is its outer edge; the circle of water that drops off a tree is its drip line.
He also noted that if three rows of trees occupied 100 feet or 75 feet, that would serve as the buffer as well.
Board member Leitha Reilly asked if speed bumps would be used to slow traffic and Goodwin said they would not, that instead, roads can be designed with curves to slow down traffic.
Resident Mike Brown asked the board for clarification on the public hearings the Town Council and Planning Board had listed on the town website, although no public hearing took place at the Town Council regarding the development agreement.
Rugg said he was in error and listing a hearing was a mistake.
Brown, however, said the document was a binding legal agreement of 20 years duration “and should have had a public hearing.”
When resident Martin Srugis also questioned the absence of a public hearing on the development agreement, he was told to discuss the matter with the Town Council.
Brown, a former town councilor, added that he was “heartened” to see the Growth Management Ordinance (GMO)) in the development agreement and that at least one council member is requesting that the Town Manager and staff take up the “reenactment process” so the GMO doesn’t expire.
Resident Mary Tetreau thanked the board for making “this a better Master Plan.” She said people in Londonderry love apple trees and that apple trees define Londonderry. She then read a poem she wrote called “I Love The Apple Trees in Winter” and said no one had thanked the citizens for working “so hard to make this a better master plan.”
Resident Ray Breslin took issue with the development agreement and was told the public hearing on the matter was past and the document had already been conditionally approved, contingent on the outcome of that night’s proceedings.
Assistant Public Works Director John Trottier and Town Planner Cynthia May took turns reading into the record the waivers and modifications to the Master Plan that staff recommended, and board members Laura El-Azem and Soares took turns making motions, with board member Rick Brideau seconding them.
Modifications and waivers include impact fees being site plan specific and calculated during site plan/subdivision reviews, waiver of residential phasing under section 1.3.3, and 36 more modifications.
All were approved unanimously except one regarding phasing, with John Laferriere the only “no” vote.
Soares made the motion to “conditionally approve the Woodmont Commons Planned Unit Development Master Plan as proposed by the applicant, Pillsbury Realty Development, LLC.”
With a second by Brideau, the board passed the motion unanimously.
The approval of the Master Plan, according to Jaye Trottier, allows the development to begin the process of more detailed site plans.
“They accepted the application as complete on Oct. 10 of last year and so here we are almost a year later and they conditionally approved the Master Plan,” Trottier said.
She explained that conditions must be met.
“Typically there are conditions that must be met for them to give final approval and sign the plans,” she said. “Usually it’s technical things.”
The document is recorded with the Registry of Deeds.
After the vote, congratulatory handshakes and smiles were passed between the developers, and Pillsbury Realty principal Mike Kettenbach thanked the board for its work.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.