Woodmont Day 2, is that a Real Moose?

The early morning session brought a Moose close to the packing house, interested in the new habitat proposed or likely just enjoying all the apples that have not been cared for this year. The DPZ team was asking if it was real or not, as the news spread through the session and design area, bringing smiles to those that live in Londonderry.

Twenty attended Environment and Parks, and gathered around a table. Open space was a large part of the discussion; trying to get as much land as possible dedicated to open space. Those wishes were both by residents and DPZ to incorporate them into the designs.

Retail, reviled according to DPZ, that “people like shipping outside, especially in winter climates.” People don’t want chains; mostly neat little shops. Everyone feels malls are boring. This is different. The 40 that attended were told that “you need a couple of anchor stores to help the specialty shops. Market Basket is one of the anchors. The lot will support two other box store types when built out. That is just the area near Route 102.”

As we gathered information at the event for the series of stories, the DPZ designers were busy working away on drawings, even late into the night. Those items will be used in a “Pin-Up” session tonight at 7pm, open to the public. Be sure to stop in, we will do our best to get images and share those with you Friday.

Schools and recreation were also sparsely attended, about 40 were at the evening session. Some have not been happy with the day sessions since they were not able to get out of work. The opening night session had a estimated 350 attend, though some left early due to the length of the session and others, when the questioning got heated Tuesday night.

After five sessions of Andres indicating, “Young people never come to these sessions,” it was nice to have a half dozen Londonderry teens attend the session. Some of our emails through the day, included the free food to be found at the session, or they were spurred by Mrs. Mee from Londonderry High School to attend for the civics lesson. Though they were planning for future activities for teens that may follow, the young men were very engaged in the conversation. A paintball center appeared to top the list of recreational activities. Intelligent questions about the sports fields and who they would belong to and who would be responsible for maintaining them also were fielded.

At the second day sessions, many appeared to be those that lived near the project along with a few that just wanted to provide input.

Click for larger image

When you do stop in they have put up a “Wish List” Board; try to come up with an idea or a complaint and add it to the wall. While many feel and have even told us “the fix is in” you may be able to make a change or add a amenity that would fit your or a neighbors needs.

Media Alert!
We have delivered to the town of Londonderry a DVD of Tuesday nigh’ts session; it should be playing right now on CTV 20. Also if you would like to hear a podcast of the session we have added it to the Day 1 story. You can listen online or download the file for your MP3 player.

For other stories on Woodmont Commons read;

Note these stories include hundreds of comments from those that live in Londonderry. We would like to thank our readers for the thoughtful contributions.

Woodmont Design Session, Let’s Build a Community! (This story has the full schedule of meetings)

Woodmont Development Project, Explodes from 280 to 630 acres

What is this “New Urbanism” in Londonderry

The Dawn of Design, Day 1 Woodmont Commons Londonderry (Full Color Renderings of preliminary plans)

This audio file is of the 7pm session on Schools, the presenter did not use the audio system in the other sessions on day 2.

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  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Saur

    Thanks to the crew at londonderrynh.net, Kathy, Steve, et al who are investing the time and effort to keep us informed. I haven’t been able to attend any of the sessions due to work and other meetings, so it is nice to hear about what is happening.

    Is it safe to say there will be a wildlife corridor for the moose in future years?

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1lres

    Yah, that moose was concerned for his home!

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Wanted, pigeon cages

    I grew up in Auburn, NH, which is a small town with a bucolic scenery around every corner. Now I live in Londonderry, NH, and the only reason I didn’t move back to Auburn was because I felt it lacked character. To me, Londonderry has a lot of character; it has the apple orchards, pumpkin patches, open fields, and a community that takes pride in their town. However, now that I have lived here for a few years, I’m starting to see changes that are changing the landscape and character of this quaint town…and these changes are detrimental to the community. This new urban community that is being designed has sent me over the edge…I don’t want to live in a neighborhood full of apartment buildings and ticky tacky shops…all I want is a quiet and peaceful town. To me, if the developers are serious about our input during the design sessions, then they should be willing to incorporate one of our plan concepts for every building they construct…when a building is constructed, a ball field is established, when the next building goes up, the auditorium is constructed. If the developers can work that into the contract, then we have realistic plan. Without this plan, anything goes, so start saving your bread crumbs for the mass migration of pigeons into our neighborhood.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1John

    Would one of our elected town officials please comment on this project on this site. With the influx of development and the influx of tax revenue over the next 20 years, can someone please put my heart at ease and tell me that this will be GOOD for the current taxpayers in Londonderry!

    I understand that there are hundreds of issues surrounding this project but someone at town hall must have already sat down and looked at the projected tax revenue impact of 1200 residential units..plus..big box stores..plus every other commercial unit that will open VS what the town will spend in services. Please comment and thank you for your service to the community.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Brian Farmer

      How about a response from one ex elected town official?

      I myself am not yet for or against this project…but I am very skeptical of anyone making any sort of promise at this stage.

      Anyone…be they a town official, town employee, developer, or interested bystander….who promises you that this will be good for Londonderry’s current taxpayer’s must have access to a functioning crystal ball. No one can make such a prediction. Some can trot out studies that show this type of development to be good and some can trot out studies to show it to be bad. The proof will be in the pudding.

      All of these plans, etc. are nothing but paper. Only after the specific properties are built and assessed for tax purposes will any taxes be paid. The phasing of when things get built will determine the tax positive (good for us) vs. tax negative (bad for us) impacts on those taxpayers that are currently here. And no one can say with any degree of certainty what that phasing will be. Even the developer says this will take 20 years and the developer who starts it may never finish it.

      We have two examples in our recent past that we can look to:

      1) AES – Years ago Londonderry’s taxpayers were promised $5M a year from a single project; they sold it as an immediate annual windfall…it took year’s to get up to that amount. We made spending decisions based on that “promise”.

      2) Airport Industrial Park – A few years ago certain elected leaders were promising $20M in tax revenue from developing land around the airport. They used that number, again as if it were an immediate annual windfall, to leverage the argument to spend more for a host of projects. The taxpayers are paying for those projects without seeing any of that $20M.

      This project will create a demand for services unparalled in our experience as a Town and with that demand comes increased cost. No one can tell you what that demand will be or the cost of meeting that demand.

      So John, believe what you choose to believe…our own history or those with crystal balls.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Amy

        Mr. Farmer,

        Could please enlighten us on what project as the Manchester Airport that the citizens of Londonderry are funding. Shouldn’t Manchester be responsible or at least the federal government.

        If that is the case, we should demand our elected officials receive some compensation for funding a regional airport.

        1. Vote -1 Vote +1Brian Farmer

          Amy,
          The Airport Industrial Park is privately owned land in Londonderry that may eventually be developed. It sits next to the airport.

          Some folks might be more familiar with it from hearing about the Pettingill Road project long advocated by the Town. If and when the Pettingill project is completed (2012 or 2013) that land may start to be developed and the Town would then see increased tax revenues.

          1. Vote -1 Vote +1Kathy Wagner

            Amy,

            Former Councilor Farmer is wrong in his information regarding Pettengill Road. He stated the road may or may not be completed in 2013. That is impossible because funding has not been approved by the voters nor has funding been received from the State or Feds to assist in this extremely beneficial project. The State Access Road will be complete in the summer of 2012 which was paid for by the State and Stimulus money.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

        Brian,

        I have a question that you mat be able to answer for me. The orchards and other agricultural land in town is taxed at much lower rates than residential/commercial under the class of current use. Now that this particular agricultural property has been sold, rezoned and hasn’t been farmed for 2 years, does this mean it should now come out of current use and be taxed accordingly?

        1. Vote -1 Vote +1Brian Farmer

          Bill,
          I do not believe we are at the stage yet where these properties would be coming out of “current use” and taxed at the higher rate. While they have been sold, or are about to be in some cases, I don’t think they have been rezoned…at least not technically. I’m also not sure that the act of rezoning is the trigger for a property coming out of current use. That a good question for the Town’s Assessing Department.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Kelly

        Farmer’s follies. Remember this guy was on the TC for 6 years during all of the spending. He also voted for the PUD as a member of the TC last year. I heard the entire town coucil knew about this proposal for over 2 years. We all remember King Farmer saying many times last year. Woodmont; Woodmont, Woodmont, Crystal ball my eye.

        1. Vote -1 Vote +1Brian Farmer

          Ever the critic hey Kelly, if that’s your name! Your dislike of me is clearly evident. But more to the point … perhaps you would be so gracious as to refute what I have offered as my opinion with real points of your own instead of just throwing rocks.

          1. Vote -1 Vote +1Kelly

            You have my name correctly spelled, I don’t like or dislike you. You are the best entertainment on this board with all of your follies. Everything I wrote about you is a fact not a baseless opinion which is what you always seem to offer. Sticks & Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Everything I needed to learn in life I learned in Kindergarten, perhaps you skipped kindergarten because you seem to know everything.

        2. Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn Douglas

          You really think the entire Town Council knew about Woodmont Commons for two years? If they all knew about it and then voted on the PDU, seems like there are some ethical questions.

          There was at least one planing board member that was aware of Woodmont, why not go after them to. Throw ‘em all under the bus.

          Anonymous websites are great anyone can throw anything out there and see if it sticks.

          1. Vote -1 Vote +1jim loiselle

            You ought to know about that Glenn……who’s pulling your strings ?

          2. Vote -1 Vote +1Kathy Wagner

            Sorry Glenn,

            I recused myself. The vote was 4-0.

          3. Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn Douglas

            Kathy, I’m aware that recused yourself on the PUD vote. Did you attended the informational meeting with the Woodmont developer held prior to April? There was one Town Councilor in attendance.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1CMelcher

    I’d also like to hear from the town officials, but my guess is, since they will all be voting on designs, PUDs, and all that other jazz, that they are going to stay tight lipped so as to not disrupt the process.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1admin

      As far as the TC goes, they already voted on the PUD.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn Douglas

        Doesn’t the Town Council and Planning Board have to vote again to approve the final Woodmont Commons PUD?

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Diana

    Londonderry has the beginnings of an incredible cultural area with the Tupelo Music Hall, the White Birch Fine Arts Gallery, impressive athletic organizations and the internationally renowned Lancers band. It would be nice if this development expanded that by adding the performing arts center, a recreation complex (including a pool and indoor tennis courts), an exceptional senior citizen center, a bookstore, a park. That is something that I could get really excited about and would make Londonderry excel and attract newcomers. I worry about adding all that housing when there are so many houses and condos empty due to all the foreclosures. Do we need more housing? Is anybody buying these days?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

      Everything that you just mentioned will not make the developer one penny. Don’t hold your breath.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Property owner

      I totally agree with this Diana !

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

    Interesting. The best, greatest, most world renown “new urban” planner that is mapping out this project, doesn’t realize that there could possibly be a live moose within the confines of Londonderry. These are the people that we are asked to trust them to do right by the town. Could it be that new or old urbanizm creates an environment that drives out moose and other wildlife.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Saur

      We need to get one of those roaming goats over there on Saturday to show them what the town is really like!

      Gotta love the ironic little reminders nature sends our way.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Tina Fallon

    I guess if you don’t live near the proposed “twenty year” construction, this might seem amusing. Lions and moose and goats – oh my! Reality is that the developer will deliver many “walking distance” customers to a store that his family has a fiducial interest in. Reality is that people who bought homes here with the idea that Londonderry values “open space” will now be subjected to many years of construction for a plan that they will never have any input in.

    It’s always the same here. If you don’t like it, you’re classified as a grumpy, New Hampshire type. You know the ones that actually thought they were moving somewhere with open space. If you don’t like it, then you don’t want tax breaks, because you will always get tax breaks with this type of development.

    I’m still holding my “provervbial” breath for any tax break. Been there – done that. If I am grumpy – so be it.

    I guess the same person who is trying to build “elderly” – excuse me – “workforce” housing in my backyard , now has a much bigger fish to fry.

    It’s always the same – follow the money.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Wanted, pigeon cages

    I recently had to replace my septic system, which ended up costing me more than $18K, because the town wouldn’t allow me to move it farther back because it would disrupt the wetlands. Well, there is plenty of dry land back there now…and now I hear about this development that is going to “disrupt” over 600 acres of agricultural property. Am I missing something…this is insane. Once the new “city” is built and the pigeons fly over to Londonderry, I am sure they will find my septic hill as an ideal resting place.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Property owner

      You bring up a good point. Although I don’t know if it was intended. What sort of water supply will this area have? Private wells or public water supplies and will the town have to build a sewage plant or treatment facility for this new area? That may cost the town tax payers? Will It not?

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn Douglas

        The development will be municipal water supply. The developer says there is plenty of sewage capacity and they cannot have septic systems. I think the current sewage is paid for by customer fees and not the general tax fund.

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