, Derry, New Hampshire


October 25, 2012

Town officials deadlock on dam ownership

DERRY — A dam deal may not be dead in the water if residents can get the issue back on the Town Council agenda.

Councilors were deadlocked last week over whether to take ownership of the Adams Pond dam, a highly charged issue that brought people out on both sides of the issue.

The 3-3 tie vote ultimately defeated a proposal to accept a deed transfer from Londonderry developer Jean Gagnon, the dam’s owner.

Councilors Phyllis Katsakiores, Neil Wetherbee and Brad Benson all voted to accept the dam plan. But Councilors Michael Fairbanks, David Milz and Joel Olbricht said no.

Councilor Brian Chirichiello, a real estate agent, stepped down from the vote, citing potential dealings with Gagnon.

The state cited the dam as deficient last year.

The state also gave the owner a timetable on how long he had to make repairs or remove the dam completely.

Gagnon and the town had agreed on the plan that would transfer ownership of the dam and surrounding embankment to the town at no cost.

The town would then consider several options on how to deal with the dam’s future and what it would cost.

For the past year, officials have listened to people on both sides of the dam issue, some wanting to save the dam and pond, but others saying the town shouldn’t spend money to help bail Gagnon out of his dam dilemma.

Councilors were torn over what to do.

Olbricht said the town should not make this type of deal a priority.

“It’s just not a goal of ours,” he said.

Wetherbee said he would be willing to make the dam plan work.

“I’m willing to make the leap of faith,” he said. “Let’s see what can be explored. We can’t get to that point unless we take ownership of the dam.”

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