LONDONDERRY — An entrepreneurial dream to combine ice cream and aviation failed to land with zoning officials.
In a unanimous decision at a meeting Sept. 15, Zoning Board members denied Melissa DiNoto’s request for a variance to allow her to open a permanent ice cream and restaurant business on a .83-acre property at 104 Harvey Road.
DiNoto’s mobile ice cream truck, “Sweet Plane View,” has operated weekends at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire near the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport
Her plan, if it had been approved, was the next phase of her business quest to open an ice cream business on that property, currently zoned Industrial II where the use is prohibited.
DiNoto grew up in the area, graduating from Pinkerton Academy with the Class of 2003, and said she always loving parking along a road near the airport to watch the planes take off and land.
DiNoto said officials at the Aviation Museum have been supportive of her current and future business ventures.
She said her new location would offer a great spot for those who enjoy Londonderry’s trail system, with segments planned to run up to points near the airport.
DiNoto had plans to operate her new business for longer hours during the day, but it would remain only seasonally.
It’s also a location where people could enjoy the views of the airplanes flying in and out, as she did growing up, and still does to this day, she told officials.
DiNoto said many who visit the Aviation Museum offered much support for her wishes.
That included museum director Jeff Rapsis, submitting a letter to the Zoning Board in favor of DiNoto’s plan.
He wrote that having DiNoto’s mobile ice cream business at the museum has drawn great support, and an expanded business at the Harvey Road site would be a great asset.
Rapsis added there is a need for this type of business on that side of the airfield.
Others spoke in person, supporting the plan, including Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Director Ted Kitchens, saying that the Harvey Road property is a good location. Having DiNoto’s business on One Plane View would not be suitable due to its higher elevation.
The 104 Harvey Road property is owned by the Manchester Airport Authority.
But zoning officials cited traffic, safety issues and other concerns that would make this location an unsuitable one.
Board chairman Neil Dunn said he needed more information to get a better sense of the overall plan.
Others voiced concerns about industrial businesses nearby and the level of large trucking traffic in that area.
The plan was eventually denied because it was “contrary to public interest and the spirit of the ordinance would not be observed because the essential character of the neighborhood would be altered.”
The board went on, “having a restaurant in the IND-II zone changes the nature of the area by inviting families and children to the area and increases and intermingles family traffic with large industrial trailer trucks.”