, Derry, New Hampshire

August 15, 2013

Woodmont Commons master plan now available

by Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY —Town officials are getting their first look at the Woodmont Commons master plan.

Proponents of the massive 600-acre multi-use development project delivered the document to the town last week.

Planning Board members said at a meeting Aug. 7 they hadn’t had a chance to look over the 246-page document yet. It details information about the massive proposal, including infrastructure, utilities, open space, traffic studies and other impacts Woodmont could bring to the community.

The information comes during a long process of hearing details about the Woodmont plan and its potential to bring new businesses, streetscapes, gardens, residential areas and parks to Londonderry.

Woodmont representatives have come before planning officials for the past several years.

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

Some officials have expressed frustration that some residents think the Woodmont process is taking way too long.

Other have said town officials aren’t getting information out to the public.

“I talked to some people,” board vice chairman Mary Soares said, “and they also brought up the transparency of this plan.”

Soares said she believes the planning process has been extremely clear and upfront with residents.

“Personally, I don’t think this board could be more transparent,” she said.

That includes keeping information on the town’s website and allowing the public to speak during meetings.

Town planner Cynthia May said the process is a long, arduous one and takes time.

“I don’t know what more we can do,” she said.

May said the board has done a good job understanding Woodmont and the fact that this is a huge project for Londonderry.

There would be significant impacts in many areas.

“It takes a long time to go through those studies,” May said. “There’s just a lot going on and it’s a whole lot of work.”

May also said the Woodmont team has been successful getting information to the Planning Board before meetings so officials have ample time to be prepared.

The Woodmont master plan is available on the town’s website. Copies are also available at the Planning and Economic Development office and at Leach Library.

Soares said she hopes people understand that planners are doing their best to sort out the Woodmont details and make sure the process is done right.

“I don’t know how much more transparent we (as a board) can be,” she said. “To hear that over and over again, that really frustrates me.”

The Woodmont Commons plan comes before the Planning Board again on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.