DERRY — The Town Council has approved a resident's request to rezone his land.
Councilors said yes, 5-1, to a zoning change for eight parcels on South Range Road, Berry Road, Willow Street and Frost Road, going from an office research development category to low medium density residential.
Property owner Arthur Caras approached the town months ago about the possible zoning change.
The Planning Board unanimously approved the plan before the council's final vote last week.
Caras owns three of the eight parcels affected by the change — about 160 acres of almost 300 acres in question.
The zoning change will allow for 2-acre lots for possible development of Caras' properties and others.
The current zoning came about in the 1990s, according to Planning Director George Sioras, and had allowed for smaller sized lots.
Sioras said the original zoning designation years back came about due to master plan work at the time, amid hopes of expanding that area of town into more non-residential districts.
With a lack of utilities and the amount of wetlands nearby, that didn't pan out.
"It was not an attractive area for office research development," Sioras said.
Landowners were notified of the potential changes, and workshops and public hearings for held. Some residents voiced concerns that the change would alter wildlife habitats if development started up.
Nancy Penney said she moved to that area years ago because of the green space and open land. She told planners she would hate to see a lot more homes built.
"I got out of the city because I like wildlife," Penney said. "It's like a little bit of Derry that's left."
Maureen Rose lives in the affected area and said she sees a lot of wildlife.
"I support the change, but would like to see an effort to keep land safe for wildlife," she said. "I would like to see us save some of that land."
Councilor Brian Chirichiello was the lone vote against the zoning change.
He said he was concerned about potential growth in that area of town and what it could mean for future school enrollment numbers.
"That scares me," he said.
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