, Derry, New Hampshire

July 25, 2013

No summer vacation for local planning officals

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — These town officials are always making summer plans.

In local planning departments, there is hardly ever a summer vacation when it comes to work load and what needs to be done to keep new businesses coming in.

Derry Planning Director George Sioras said there is hardly any down time.

“Our plans come in steady all year long,” he said. “It’s very rare that we have a break.”

The warmer months bring a big share of new building permits and other projects that residents take on during the summer like building decks, garages or adding swimming pools.

For new developments and business plans, it’s a steady stream.

Building action is seen all over Derry.

The final building in the new 49,000-square-foot Pinkerton Place retail/business complex is taking shape near the entrance to the new Wal-Mart on Ashleigh Drive, an area of town with new development and business potential, Sioras said.

That area is already home to a Goodwill store, Panera Bread and Woofmeow pet center.

That project’s developer, Boomer Wolf LLC, was an example of a major business plan that just walked in the Derry office one day to ask for information.

Planning assistant Elizabeth Robidoux said that plan turned into a major project.

“We dropped everything,” she said. “We worked on that for months.”

Sioras said Derry’s new business revenues are seeing growth due to the boom in some areas of town including that area near Wal-Mart.

Typically, town boards and committees slow down during the summer months and meet once a month.

The Derry board is meeting monthly through the summer.

“It’s tough to get people to go out on a hot, summer night,” Sioras said.

Summer can also be a good time for boards to catch up on some housekeeping that may take longer than expected and might not find it’s way on a regular meeting agenda.

In Derry’s case, planners were able to spend time on town zoning issues and are also working on an updated sign ordinance.

Sioras has seen many business booms in his 29 years on the job in Derry.

He said Wal-Mart is an anchor that attracts business — a good location and key for growth.

Robidoux said there is always something new and interesting, and there is never a lull in planning action.

“We always have a list of things to do,” she said.

Sioras said the business coming through his office is a good sign for the town.

“We are steady,” Sioras said. “We like it that way.”