DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

September 13, 2012

Woodmont Commons' hearing postponed again

Town, developer agree to delay

By James Niedzinskijniedzinski@derrynews.com
Derry News

---- — LONDONDERRY — Dozens of residents packed a Planning Board meeting last week for a scheduled public hearing about Woodmont Commons.

However, the hearing was postponed yet again. John Michels, the attorney for Pillsbury Realty Development, said the continuance was a mutual decision.

The Planning Board as well as other town officials, including town attorney Michael Ramsdell, held a nonpublic meeting from 7:15 to 8 p.m.

Another public hearing is tentatively set for Oct. 10. Pillsbury Realty Development must notify the Planning Board by Sept. 24 if another continuance is planned.

When they returned, Ramsdell addressed residents at the meeting, although some left during the 45-minute deliberation. He addressed concerns about the lengthy review process, stating “it would be unfair” to hold the developers or the board responsible for the postponed hearings.

Ramsdell accepted some of the blame for the numerous continuances and delays over the project.

“This process has taken longer than anyone would have liked,” he said. “Feel free to bring the tar and feathers for me if this continues past October.”

The goal is to get everyone involved in the project in one room to discuss any concerns and address any issues about the billion-dollar project. That includes developers, engineers, the third party reviewers hired by the town, town officials and town residents.

The open meeting in October will be about the acceptance of the application presented by the developers and their attorney. Michels described the project as incredibly complex and massive.

“Nothing like this has ever been done in town, or even in New England,” Michels said. “If we take a little longer, and get a better result, I think it would be best for everyone.”

The 630-acre property of Woodmont Commons was purchased by Pillsbury Realty Development in January 2010 for about $7 million.

If the development passes the application review process, it would take about 20 years to construct.