DERRY — A new zoning district in town continues to be popular with those hoping to bring major developments to the area.
The Planning Board recently got another early look at the proposed West Running Brook Village plan, a mixed-use development concept that, if approved, would be located on about 14 acres on Humphrey Road. The land is owned by Dr. Timothy Butterfield.
The plans, along with a proposed mixed-use Westbrook development on South Main Street and another event center plan on Rockingham Road, are among the first to fall under the town’s new West Running Brook zoning district, a zone that could mean growth for Derry and a chance for the town to combine multi-use retail and housing and other permitted uses in that area.
The zone includes West Running Brook Middle School, the historic Robert Frost Farm and areas stretching to portions of Rockingham Road, (South Main Street), Island Pond Road and Humphrey Road. The new district would encourage a mix of land uses, including residential, small-scale retail/commercial, recreation and conservation that could be built near each other.
Uses allowed in the district include banks, performing and fine arts schools and studios, conference centers, daycare centers, hotels, inn-style businesses, indoor commercial recreation, medical, manufacturing, movie/recording studios, restaurants and professional offices.
Allowed housing development would be multi-family residential, and a smaller-scale village-style development that could have interconnected paths and walkways, streetscapes and access for bicycles and pedestrians to use.
Attorney John Cronin represented the West Running Brook Village plan at a recent meeting, updating planning officials on the project and saying the development could bring a good mix of housing, retail, restaurants and walkability and trails to the property, all in keeping within the new zoning guidelines.
The development would be located on both the north and south side of Humphrey Road on Butterfield's property, offering a combination of residential and commercial space.
The property is also near the Don Ball Park off Humphrey Road, a popular spot for families with a playground, fields and many recreational programs.
Butterfield, a veterinarian, longstanding resident and community supporter, wants the project on his family's property to succeed, according to Cronin.
"He has lived in this community a long time," he said, "and he'd like it transformed into a high quality, mixed-use type of development."
After giving feedback on the plan, officials said they liked what they are seeing, stressing the design, colors, and "old world" feel to some of the buildings.
"This looks great," said Planning Board member Jim MacEachern. "This is my only comment at this point."
Planning Director George Sioras said the new West Running Brook district has guidelines built-in for development prospects that allow for a project's uniqueness and flexibility.