LONDONDERRY — It took less than 15 minutes for the Planning Board to unanimously reject the request for a site work extension by Nutfield Publishing Company at its meeting Wednesday night.
The company, owned by Chris and Deb Paul, has been operating out of a historic home at 2 Litchfield Road without a certificate of occupancy since November 2006. A site plan to make necessary changes to the building was approved in 2008 and extended twice since then.
"The board has been more than helpful and other businesses are saying why can't we be treated like that?" Planning Board Chairman Art Rugg said. "Our dilemma is that it is an illegal operation right now."
The house needs a new fire protection system and expanded parking lot to be up to code.
In a letter to Town Planner Tim Thompson, Chris Paul said it would be a financial hardship to meet those requirements. He said he was pursuing historic preservations grants.
"Obviously, if I can't get $55,000 at this point, we will have to pull our plans back until we have money," he said.
Prior to the public meeting, there was a non-meeting of board members with the town lawyer. Thompson said the Planning Department could not make a recommendation for an extension, based on advice from legal counsel.
Planning Board member Mary Wing Soares asked Paul if he could assure the board the site work would be completed if the extension were approved. Paul said he could not.
"This has been a four-year saga," Rugg said. "We have bent over backward."
Paul asked if the site plan could be extended 30 days from the June 10 deadline. Rugg said that would be up to the Town Council and directed liaison council member John Farrell to bring it up at the May 17 meeting.
Farrell asked Councilor Paul DiMarco to put a discussion of the 30-day extension on the meeting agenda.
"It's not unreasonable to give them 30 days after June 10 to relocate," Farrell said.
If the council does not approve the request and the building is not vacated on June 10, the issue will go to the code enforcement office.
Last week, Deb Paul said, "Our three newspapers will continue to be printed on schedule, every week, regardless of what happens to the building."
The company publishes the Londonderry Times, Nutfield News and Tri-Town News.