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August 22, 2013

An end may be in sight for Woodmont review

LONDONDERRY — Planning Board members may be seeing an end in sight for the lengthy review of the Woodmont Commons development project.

That notion, some officials say, would be a final outcome to a very long, often frustrating process.

“There have been many frustrations back and forth and many frustrations with the public,” Planning Board Chairman Art Rugg said at a meeting Aug. 14. “It’s our first venture into this type of thing and it’s getting time to finish.”

Woodmont Commons is proposed by Michael Kettenbach and Pillsbury Realty Development.

Pillsbury purchased the Woodmont Orchards property two years ago for $7 million. The project, as proposed, would be completed in phases over 20 years.

Woodmont would create a new village concept, combining business, streetscapes, residences, hotels, gardens and open space.

The massive, 600-plus-acre, multi-use development plan has taken up Planning Board agendas for months.

Town officials received Woodmont’s official master plan document — 246 pages in length— only two weeks ago.

Project representatives have appeared before the board with PowerPoint presentations, documents, information, details and plans covering all aspects of the development, from utilities to open space, housing, walkways, parks, urban areas, economic development and how it could benefit the town’s taxpayers.

“We’ve been often and we’ve brought a lot,” Pillsbury representative Ari Pollack said.

He called the plan “a mass of information” based on town and public comment and feedback, all taken into consideration for a final document.

Now it’s time to start winding down, most agreed.

“It’s time to start a discussion on how we get to the finish,” Pollack said.

Public comment continued to spill into the conversation.

Resident Mary Tetreau sent a letter to the Planning Board, saying she was disappointed no Woodmont officials responded to her calls when she was planning the recent “Save Woodmont Apple Trees” rally, a mission by some residents trying to save 600 apple trees from being destroyed.

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