, Derry, New Hampshire

September 5, 2013

Woodmont, town officials talk details

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — The Woodmont Commons review continues with lengthy discussions between planners and developers.

At the Planning Board meeting Aug. 28, Woodmont developers once again appeared before officials to continue talks about the proposed 600-acre development.

This meeting proved to be yet another long discussion, mostly conversations about how the project would impact some of the property’s apple trees.

Another hearing continuation was granted to the meeting Sept. 11.

Attorney Ari Pollack represents Woodmont developer Michael Kettenbach and Pillsbury Realty Development LLC.

Both sides agreed that more time was needed to come to a final agreement on the plan

In early August, the Woodmont team submitted its final master plan — all 246 pages — to the Planning Board.

Now, it’s time to get down to more specifics, officials said, when it comes to making sure everyone agrees on what will be allowed or not.

Planning Board member Mary Soares said she is concerned about the trees and other open space preservation.

Woodmont developers agreed earlier to keep three rows of apple trees along Gilcreast Road.

“I appreciate that you are willing to (to keep) this perimeter buffer,” she said. “I am hoping we can see more definition on that.”

Soares said she also has hopes of saving other areas with apple trees, including areas along Hovey and Pillsbury Roads.

She said there will be have to be a plan in place for how to maintain those areas.

Other town officials wondered who would prune the preserved trees and what would happen to the apples.

Other key topics included how building the Woodmont Commons infrastructure would affect the potential building of subdivisions and other units within the project.

Panning Board member Maria Newman also brought up playgrounds and asked if Woodmont would have any sites in place for a community play area.

“But I’m only one member here, so we’ll see what comes to the table,” she said.

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.

All agreed it’s a lot of information to digest and everyone wants to get it right.

“There is so much detail,” Planning Board Chairman Art Rugg said.

Board members submitted their final comments earlier. All updated paperwork must be in to the town by Sept. 6, according to Town Planner Cynthia May.

Woodmont will come back before the board Sept. 11.