Mixed Use Development Proposed by Historic Londonderry Town Common

During the May 14, 2014 Londonderry Planning Board Meeting, resident and businessman Richard Flier presented a plan which would result in a mixed use development on the one acre lot located at 132 Pillsbury Road, between the historic Londonderry Presbyterian Church and the newly built Orchard Christian Fellowship. The development would allow the conversion of the historic residence on the property to an office and apartment, as well as the addition of three residential buildings on the property.

Flier proposed a mixed use development on a one-acre lot on Pillsbury Road between the Presbyterian Church and the Orchard Christian Fellowship. Click for a large image.

Being in the process of purchasing the land from the Presbyterian Church, Flier presented his idea for this lot to both the Presbyterian and the Orchard Christian Fellowship Church. Both churches gave Richard Flier the approval of the perception and a legal document will be proposed giving both churches the assurance that if any change in use was to occur, both churches would be notified before anything happened.

The existing historic residence on the property would be restored and used as living space on the second floor with a 600 square foot office on the first floor to be used by Flier. Behind that, on the eastern side of the lot, a small three bedroom house would be built for Flier’s daughter and her family (House ‘A’) that would be similar to the Morrison House at 140 Pillsbury Road.

Another house would be built further back in the middle of the lot for Flier (House ‘B’).  A garage and an apartment on the second floor would be built in the style of a barn along the back of the property line (House ‘C’). That apartment would be for his second daughter and her family. In total, the complex would feature twelve bedrooms.

Flier explained that with the view from Pillsbury Road, you would only see some of the house behind it to the east, while the rest of the buildings would not be visible. The purpose would be to remain in context with the other historical buildings along Pillsbury Road.

There was some question of approval as to whether the site plan could be conditioned on a property being rezoned, as well as other questions that were asked during this proposal.

Cynthia May, Londonderry Town Planner, stated that, from the Planning Development perspective, the proposed vision is in keeping with many of the objectives of the 2013 Comprehensive Master Plan and past Master Plans. The Master Plan is responding to the way the world is going, that people need affordable places to live, she said.

May also stated that the “property owner is going to do something that he can’t afford for us to catch up with him”  and that the development “brings an investment to the Town Center, promotes sustainability, offers affordable housing as well as a mix of residential and commercial uses, and promotes walkability.”

The Town Attorney will give input before making a recommendation on the rezoning to the Town Council, since the site plan would be the first significant change to the Town Center area.

Be sure to watch the Planning Board Meeting video below.

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Concerts on the Common 2014

Photo by Judy Hayes

This Monday night is the start of the Annual 2014 Concerts on the Common season in Londonderry. The concert series is normally held on Wednesday nights, but the tradition begins each year on a Monday. Concerts on the Common take place at the Londonderry Town Common. Guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs. Each concert begins at 7 PM and lasts until 8:30 PM. For inclement weather, the concerts will be moved to either the Londonderry High School cafeteria or the Matthew Thornton gymnasium.

Concerts on the Common always features some of Londonderry’s finest high school musicians. With that being said, on Monday, June 2, the first concert features the high school’s Jazz Lab, Rock Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble groups. This is the last concert the seniors will play, the evening is guaranteed to be fun for all.

More artists expected to perform include:

  • The Jandee Lee Porter Band on June 11th
  • Malabar on June 18th
  • Manchuka on June 25th
  • Evan Goodrow on July 9th
  • The Jon Abrams Band on July 16th
  • Blues Brothers Next Generation on July 23rd
  • and more!

For more information or a complete lineup of the bands for the summer, click here.

 

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Londonderry’s Proud Grand Army of the Republic

Standing in the middle of the town common surround by a black iron fence is a monument we see every day.  It is Soldiers Monument erected in 1884, and it lists the names of those who served from Londonderry during the Civil War.

The Monument strikingly resembles many other Civil War memorials you see throughout the State and the Country.  The company that produced the monument wanted to keep costs down so communities could afford to purchase a memorial.  Making an easy to manufacture monument would accomplish that.  The monuments were all manufactured exactly the same.  Only difference was depending where you were from.  Your town could purchase one with a union solider or one with a confederate solider.

This picture was taken on the Londonderry Common in front of Soldiers Monument. The Grand Army of the Republic

The Civil War started in 1861 and ended in 1865.  During the four years this war was fought; an estimated 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease.

This week one hundred and fifty years ago a horrific battle took place in the small town of Gettysburg, PA.   The fighting lasted for 3 days from July 1, through July 3rd.  Between 46,000 and 51,00o soldiers from both armies were casualties.  The retreat of the South took place on July 4th and the wagon train, heading to Virgina, carrying the wounded was 17 miles long.

New Hampshire sons played a vital role in the Civil War and many of our young men’s lives were lost.  The State of New Hampshire sent over 33,000 men to the Union Army.  Over 900 fought at Gettysburg, suffering 368 casualties. There are five monuments found on the soil of Gettysburg honoring New Hampshire units who fought in the battle. Three infantry regiments, an artillery battery, and three companies of sharpshooters.

The Units that served were the 5th New Hampshire under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Hapgood of Amherst.  The 5th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment suffered the most battle deaths of any Union regiment in the Civil War, with 295 men killed in action. The 12th New Hampshire was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Captain John F. Langley, a machinist from Manchester. The regiment had lost all its field officers in heavy fighting at Chancellorsville in May.  The New Hampshire Mountaineers fought for nearly three years in the Armies of the Potomac and the James.  Of its original number over 50 per cent had been lost in Chancellorsville and Cold Harbor.  The Unit marched to Gettysburg on the night of the July 1st, fought on the 2nd, and supported the center against Pickett’s Charge on the 3rd. Company E, 1st U.S. Sharpshooters and Companies F & G, 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters also were part of the battle in Gettysburg.  The 1st brought 371 men to the field and the 2nd brought 204.  During the fighting both units lost a total of 11 killed, 60 wounded and 21 missing.  The final Unit was the First New Hampshire Battery Light Artillery.  Captain Frederick M. Edgell of Manchester was in command and it entered the battle with 111 men.

This battle change the tide of the Civil War and brought and end to this bloody war when Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1985. Word of the surrender took time to reach all of the fighting units, and the last battle was fought at Palmito Ranch, Texas, on May 13, 1865.

Later President Lincoln would honor those that had fallen at Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln

November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

When the Civil War ended many soldiers returned to New Hampshire looking for jobs; most headed west.  The Grange, a fraternal organization which encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture was founded after the Civil War in 1867.  The oldest American agricultural advocacy group, Grange 44 stands across the road from the common today.

Londonderry has a proud and rich history of serving this great country in a time of War.  If you get a chance today, stop by the Town Common and read the names on all the monuments representing all those that served.

Read about Colonel William Pillsbury.  Who severed with honor representing the State of New Hampshire and Londonderry.

William Pillsbury:  The Man Who Made Broadway

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Town Common Clean Up for Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day Junior Girl Scout troop 12328 cleaned up the Londonderry Town Common as a community service activity in honor of Earth Day.  Members of the troop are made up of girls in 4th and 5th grade at Matthew Thornton.

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Honoring Veterans on Veterans Day.

Celebrated each Veterans Day by American Legion Post 27 the annual parade will take place on Saturday, Nov 10, at 10:00 am on the Londonderry Town Common.

Invited to march have been emergency personnel, Boy and Girl Scout Troops and the Lancer Marching Band will also participate in the Parade.

Each November 11, Americans take time to thank the brave men and women who have battled and sacrificed for our freedom and rights. Schools close, government buildings fly the American flag with pride, and foot soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen receive many thanks and praises. But the holiday wasn’t originally created to commemorate all soldiers of all wars.

Nearly 100 years ago, World War I, also known as “The Great War”, ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting had already ceased seven months prior to the treaty. An armistice, or a temporary cessation of hostilities, between Allied Nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This became the reason why November 11, 1918 became the end of the “war to end all wars.”

In November of 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day by speaking these words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

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Gathering in Londonderry Common Areas Today

Londonderry Hometown Online News requested an analysis of the pond vs. wetland as we reached 1000 participants in our self selecting survey.  Read “Ponds are for people, Wetlands are for people” by Conservation Commission member and open space task force chairman Mike Speltz he wrote up a thoughtful piece.

Jack read it and provided his own response.

Starting with the premise that what is proposed is the base line, is not a good place to begin. The owners have rights to propose. The residents have rights to counter propose. A more logical, greatly scales back density, would allow our ecology to survive in very close to its present form. Just because the wholesale apple business has fallen upon tough times is no reason to pave over farmland. Other farms in Londonderry have found new crops and new markets. Let’s begin at the beginning not in the middle of a proposed pond.

Woodmont Commons with proposed pond on the left, community Gardens on the right

The last time I drove by our current town common no one was there. I’ve never in forty years seen anyone sitting there. It is a great common place for events several times each year, but to assume that people will all of a sudden sit around an artificial lake and therefore hundreds of homes should be packed in around it to make it so, should be questioned.

The dredged pond in Century Village has benches around it. Although I’ve walked around it and biked around it hundreds of times I’ve never seen anyone sitting on those benches.

Residents sit by their pool and look out on their pond and there is nothing wrong with that. Pond hockey is big for a week or two every other year till deep snow ends the season. Woodmont has a great little skating pond right on Gilcreast right now. It gets some use each year. A larger pond would be needed for three thousand new residents.

Let’s not put the pond before the housing density.

“Jack Falvey Et al:” provides a hometown analysis of Woodmont Commons. Since attending the design charrette offered by the developers of the project Jack has been asking questions, you too have been asking questions, many to Jack himself. He has provided thoughtful analysis from his point of view and shared it back to the questioner and a growing list of Londonderry residents wanting of more information.

As they become available we will provide these questions to our readers and the search engines. We hope to provide a broader view of the project through the eyes of someone that came to town in the 1960′s. Jack raised a family here, volunteered in local government and founded his company “Making the Numbers” after a career at Gillette.  As a motivational speaker and a prolific writer with major media outlets his views on the project may take you by surprise

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