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April 3, 2014

Londonderry has rules for saving stone walls

Londonderry has rules on the books to protect walls

LONDONDERRY —They dot the landscape and are often the stone barriers between properties.

But when development moves in, aging stone walls can sometimes stand in the way of progress.

That’s when town officials pay particular care when hearing details of subdivisions and other projects when stone walls may be impacted.

Londonderry’s Heritage Commission heard details recently of a proposed six-lot subdivison at 115 Hovey Road. The plan included ways to protect stone walls on the existing property and offered solutions about what to do with other stones that may be moved to accommodate development.

“Most existing walls will remain,” engineer Bill Gregsak told officials at a meeting March 27.

He represents the Kestral Estates subdivision plan.

But some walls will be impacted.

“Some will go away, some sections will have to be moved for road construction and lot development,” Gregsak said.

Right now, this plan includes 2,310 feet of existing stone walls on the property. The impact is minimal here, Gregsak said, with only 190 feet of stone walls slated to be removed.

Stones removed would be used to build up other walls that will remain on site, he said.

Communities like Londonderry have rules on the books to protect stone walls, giving specific details on what can and cannot be altered, or how to move stones when development impacts the old walls.

For this project, stone walls relocated or moved will be shown on the actual site plans, according to town planner John Vogl.

Several years ago, the town updated a stone wall ordinance to give clear rules on what is allowed and what specifications must be followed if a wall needs to be altered or rebuilt during a development project.

The Heritage Commission hears preliminary details of plans that may affect stone walls around town and the Planning Board gets final approval.

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