DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

March 20, 2014

Londonderry planners get growth plan update

LONDONDERRY — As time runs out on the town’s growth management ordinance, Planning Board members got some good news about how the town has managed its growth.

At a meeting March 12, Stu Arnett and associate Roger Hawke of the Arnett group gave officials updates on the growth ordinance and how it has suited Londonderry’s needs during different growth spurts and waves through the years.

The town hired the Concord-based consultant to help analyze planning procedures and development strategies.

The town has had the ordinance on the books for more than 25 years. It is set to expire in January 2015.

The ordinance could be readopted by the town.

The ordinance comes into play when town growth hits a specific rate, and then may put restrictions on the amount of growth and building allowed during that time to allow the community’s infrastructure to catch up.

“The GMO was established by state law to give towns protection when they hadn’t done long-range planning,” Hawke said. “Communities were getting hit with a lot of development and schools weren’t often prepared.”

In Londonderry’s case, there were growth spurts over the years, and this ordinance helped the town make sure it had the proper infrastructure in place to handle any excessive tides in development.

The ordinance gives a town time to develop any of those service and infrastructure improvements and come up with a plan, Hawke said.

“It gives a community time to respond to those needs and get their ducks in order,” he said. “It was initiated to manage growth, not prevent it.”

The news for Londonderry’s growth ordinance work was promising, Hawke said, saying the town had worked hard to study its growth and make sure the community would be ready to absorb the population numbers.

“It helped you manage those years when you got clobbered with development,” he said.

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