DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

May 29, 2014

Town Common still on officials' minds

LONDONDERRY — What to do, if anything, with the town’s center is still sparking debate.

Town councilors once again talked about the Town Common at a meeting Mary 19.

The discussion continues now that the town has an updated Master Plan in place, listing information and potential development ideas for the green space at the intersection of Pillsbury and Mammoth Roads.

A bandstand, town forest and trails are now there.

Town Manager Kevin Smith said there are many strong opinions in town about how to move forward.

The Master Plan doesn’t have authority to makes things happen.

“It doesn’t force the town to make any changes,” Smith said. “Towns don’t have to follow their Master Plan.”

Since the Master Plan was updated, an implementation committee now meets regularly to talk about ways to put any of the plan’s goals and initiatives into play.

That includes what to do with the Town Common and nearby forest.

Smith said any changes there would have to be very well thought out and have strong support.

“This would not happen overnight,” he said.

Smith said the implementation group seeks direction from both the Town Council and Planning Board as to what the groups would support.

A petitioned warrant article in March, put forward by resident Kent Allen, asked voters to put the forest’s control into Smith’s hands so that a cleaning effort could start. Voters shot that request down.

The Master Plan suggests the Town Common is a possible focal point, with different levels of development taking place in the future, still keeping the community’s rural integrity but making the area more family friendly and walkable.

Town Council Chairman Tom Dolan asked his fellow councilors what direction they would like to take.

“Is this too hot to touch?” Dolan asked. “We’ll act as a body on this.”

Dolan said a lot of good energy went into the Master Plan work. He said what is proposed for the Town Common is something to consider.

“We could find a way to support it as a goal,” Dolan said, “and how we move forward with this initiative.”

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