, Derry, New Hampshire

November 28, 2013

Town councilors make joint planning wish list

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — Town councilors and Planning Board members will hold a joint workshop on Dec. 3 to talk about goal-setting.

Many town councilors agreed that certain topics needed to top the list.

One of the top items is downtown blight and how to deal with landowners who don't take care of their properties. Other issues making the list include economic development, the future of Route 28 south, and the general health of the downtown and what can be done to revitalize it.

Town Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks also wants to put an emphasis on zoning when the two boards meet.

"To see if we have zoning in place to foster what we want," Fairbanks said.

That, he said, could generate discussion on what businesses the town would like to see in certain areas.

As to downtown blight, it's a dark splotch on several blocks, councilors agreed.

"People, they want their downtown back, they want their main street," Councilor Mark Osborne said.

Getting more rules on the books could help with code enforcement.

Osborne said that includes littering. Right now, the community could be cleaner, he said.

"Let's put some teeth into keeping the downtown clean," he said.

Town Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores gave a 100 percent push for blight discussions.

"If you drive any street in this town, you see litter all over the roads," she said.

Osborne said before any talk of new ordinances or rules begins, the town should consult legal counsel.

"There are a lot of issues with a blight ordinance," he said. "It's wise to get legal opinions."