, Derry, New Hampshire

August 30, 2012

Residents oppose inclusion on open space map

By James Niedzinski

---- — LONDONDERRY — Members of the Open Space Task Force and Conservation Commission appeared before the Town Council last week to discuss the Open Space map.

Giovanni Verani and his sister Margherita Verani formally asked to have their properties at 74 and 77 Page Road removed from the Open Space map.

The first version of the map was created by the task force at the request of the Town Council in 2006. It was updated and adopted by the town last summer.

The goal was to assess and score land throughout town. The land could then be compared if somebody wanted to sell or develop a property. The thinking was people would be less likely to build on a piece of land with a high conservation score.

Land with the most natural attributes and values, including fresh water and vegetation, have been labeled green infrastructures, said Mike Speltz, a Conservation Commission member and chairman of the task force.

”My understanding is that the map was created in order to prioritize land for protection and conservation,” said Bob Saur, a task force member and president of Londonderry Trailways.

The task force was instructed not to include commercial land on the map, Saur said.

”If commercial land is not included on the map, I want my listing removed as well,” Verani said. “I want my property treated the same as everyone else.”

According to the task force’s final report, adopted by the town last summer, 42.8 percent of the town’s land, or 11,552 acres, is considered green infrastructure.

Of that total, 3,647 acres are permanently protected and 2,801 acres are partially protected.

”I’ve lived in this town 25 years, and never once had an experience where my property is put on something where it didn’t have consequences down the road,” Margherita Verani said.

Speltz said having a property listed on the map could result in a higher price if you wanted to sell or develop your land, benefiting properties listed on the map.

”I guess I just don’t follow the chain of logic behind the map,” Giovanni Verani said.

He said he received a letter last month from the task force, informing him his property information was going to be included on the map.

So far, no other residents have come forward to voice concerns.

After some deliberation, Council Chairman John Farrell and other councilors concluded that the request was reasonable. In addition, anyone with property listed on the map should also have the opportunity to have their information removed.