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May 15, 2014

Londonderry Town Common sparks debate

(Continued)

“People came out at meetings and many thought they wanted more activity in that area (of the Common),” Green said, “saying it could use other things to bring more family activity. Having this conversation amongst us is a good idea.”

The implementation committee has no authority to make final decisions, Smith added. Only recommendations would come before the Town Council.

The updated Master Plan lays out detailed scenarios about possible planning and development around the Town Common area, including updated trails, simple roads, a larger bandstand, skating pond, some potential shops and other village-style amenities.

Orchard land directly across from Matthew Thornton Elementary School is also in play as a potential site for future development, according to the Master Plan.

Citizens gave input all through the Master Plan process on what they would like to see or not see happen in town.

The updated plan states any development would help keep the integrity of the Town Common intact, but would offer some improvements. The report calls the Town Common “underutilized and difficult to access.”

It would also forge a good balance between any new plans or what residents hope to keep unchanged.

Town Councilor Tom Freda said the master plan also states “drastic” changes in zoning in town.

“It’s a very large leap,” Freda said. “People’s property rights will be severely affected. The number of people who decided this Master Plan were a small minority.”

Green said it’s just a different way of looking at things and not a one size fits all solution.

Councilor Jim Butler called the Master Plan and any Town Common development ideas strictly “a vision” and not the letter of the law when it comes to what might actually ever happen there.

Dolan said the Master Plan information is worthy of consideration.

“We spend a lot of money on this stuff,” he said. “We shouldn’t just stick it in the filing cabinet.”

The updated Master Plan is available on the town site at londonderrynh.org.

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