DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

February 13, 2013

Derry landowners still wary of zoning plan

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — DERRY — Many residents still don’t support a plan to make zoning changes along Rockingham Road, saying property values would plummet and any future plans to develop their land would stall.

Planning Board members watched again as a steady stream of landowners appeared last week during a public hearing.

Originally, officials hoped to rezone 23 parcels from general commercial to office medical business that would exclude certain businesses like gas stations, car sales and other repair facilities.

Changes would put restrictions on any property owners who may want to build homes or other structures on their land.

The plan was designed to help boost economic development in that area of town. The board has spent months working on the rezoning plan.

But after numerous meetings and signed petitions, proposed changes are still not sitting well with many residents.

Gerry and Beth Siragusa have followed the discussions for months. They own Circle of Friends day care at 49 South Main St.

“A lot of my neighbors have come up here with opinions and petitions presented,” Gerry Siragusa said. “So please don’t make the change, keep it as is.”

Siragusa said he’s talked to people outside town hall and he often gets the impression the board is listening to those opposed to the plan.

Now, he’s not so sure.

“It seems the board is not hearing what the landowner is saying,” he said.

Others said the change would limit any hopes of selling their property.

The Siragusas may want to divide their property one day and build a small house for their children. If the zoning changes go through, that won’t happen.

“We take pride in the job we do,” Beth Siragusa said. “We are all very frustrated. We couldn’t build a small house on our property for one of our six kids under this. We’ll be totally restricted.”

Veterinarian Timothy Butterfield opposes the zoning plan. He challenged each board member to state whether they have even read all the materials that concerned residents have submitted prior to meetings.

Town Administrator John Anderson took offense to Butterfield’s request.

“We get the material; we read it,” Anderson said. “It’s outrageous. You are saying ‘Do you do your job?’”

Planning officials will continue the zoning discussions at future meetings.