DERRY — Town councilors faced an agenda Jan. 28 that gave officials the opportunity to hear from other boards in town and progress being made, as well as tackling sports betting, milfoil in a nearby lake and also grant funding to support hazardous waste collection and wellness.
Councilors approved a measure to adopt a town ordinance allowing sports betting to be located within certain zones in the community.
Planning Director George Sioras told councilors the best zone options to allow this type of activity were General Commercial on Route 111 near the Derry/Atkinson line; Industrial IV in the north end of town from Folsom Road up along Manchester and Ashleigh roads, and General Commercial IV, Route 28 area running south toward Windham, known as the Ryan's Hill area.
Those zones were the best options that town officials recommended during various council and planning board meetings in past months.
Last July, Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill to legalize and regulate sports betting in New Hampshire. Ten licenses will be granted to interested communities. New Hampshire is the second state in New England, after Rhode Island, to legalize sports betting.
Licenses will be granted by the state to up to 10 sports book retail locations and five mobile sports wagering platforms throughout the state. Voters need to approve the measure in communities.
Some communities had sports betting on November ballots last fall and measures were approved, including in Manchester, while others like Derry could decide at the polls in March. Another public hearing will be held by council to potentially approve a measure to place this question on the March ballot.
In other council business:
— Councilors authorized Public Works to apply for grant money through the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to offset town expenditures for a Household Hazardous Waste Collection program. The town hosts a collection effort every year, offsetting locations with Londonderry.
—Councilors also approved the acceptance of a 2020 Wellness Grant offered by HealthTrust to support employee wellness programs.
This year, HealthTrust awarded a Coordinator Grant for $1,000 to be spent on programs that raise awareness of physical activities, social, and mental health efforts for employees and their families.
During 2019, grant money was used for programs including wellness bingo, yoga, and on water bottles and shirts for employees participating in the Take 5 for Balance and Couch to 5K programs.
— Councilors also heard more details on the efforts to control the weed milfoil at Beaver Lake. Councilors approved a measure to continue working with the Beaver Lake Improvement Association on efforts to eradicate the invasive weed including herbicide treatment, and diving efforts.
Fiscal year 2020 was the first year the Council voted to appropriate funds to help with the control and future eradication of milfoil. Previously, the Beaver Lake group assumed the responsibility with grant assistance from the state's Department of Environmental Services.
According to a staff report, the Beaver Lake Improvement Association spent more time in and around the water in 2019, removing more milfoil than the prior year, finding the weed in areas where it had not been seen before.
— Councilors also got updates from the chairmen of the Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Zoning Board, with officials giving goals for the new year and the past year's successes and challenges.