, Derry, New Hampshire

May 23, 2013

Adams Pond dam repairs still on town radar

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — Residents love to walk there, ski nearby on winter days and enjoy the scenery all year long.

Adams Pond and its surrounding trails on Mack’s Apples (Moose Hill Orchard) land is a popular recreational destination.

Now officials are wondering how to handle the repairs to the pond’s dam and who should pay.

The land where the pond and dam are located is owned by the Mack family. The town bought the development rights in the late 1990s.

In return, the Mack family agreed to allow their trails and land to be used by the town for recreational use all year long.

The state did a routine inspection of the dam and said there was a strong possibility of a serious dam overflow if a serious storm hit.

Now it’s up to the town to figure out how to move forward.

The cost to repair the dam could be upward of $20,000, according to acting Town Manager Bill Hart. He told town councilors Monday night that even though the Mack family technically owns the property, the town holds the easement and has a responsibility that could cover the dam repairs.

The dam discussion generated a broader discussion of the town’s open space and property ownership.

The Conservation Commission has the right to purchase, protect and manage the land acquired through open space initiatives. The town owns several properties and easements.

Town Councilor Tom Freda said it might be time to take an inventory of the town’s green space so officials can determine what is allowed or not allowed when it comes to doing work on an easement or on conservation land.

“We need to take a good look at our inventory and what our duties are,” he said, “a manual of what we are supposed to do.”

Officials said the town owns a great deal of valuable land and an inventory could be helpful. That would include analyzing easements, land purchases, gifts of land and other donations — an entire list of open space and all documentation involved.

Councilor Joe Green said it all comes down to being good land stewards.

“We have problems with stewardship, we’ve been hearing this for years,” Green said. “We buy easements on properties and they are just out there. We don’t do anything with them.”