LONDONDERRY — Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates’ review of Woodmont Commons asked many of the same questions that have been on the minds of Londonderry residents.
Like the review team, people want to know how the developers plan to supply water and sewer services to 1,300 new homes. And abutters are looking for more information about land use and buffer zones.
But so far, Pillsbury Realty Development has been short on detail. The preliminary plan calls for green spaces, parks and trails, but doesn’t say where they will be located and how much land will be used to create them. There’s also no explanation of who will maintain those open areas.
Pillsbury Realty pledges to use sustainable building practices, but never mentions which green construction methods are being considered.
Critics say some of the most troubling aspects of the Woodmont Commons plan may be the guidelines and regulations the developers have designed for themselves. The review team found several provisions it calls “unacceptable” and has advised the planning board to strike them from the application.
For example, Pillsbury Realty says Woodmont Commons will be exempt from existing land use regulations including zoning, subdivision and site plan, and that the project will be exempt from impact fees. Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates believes Woodmont Commons needs a comprehensive set of regulations for alterations, modifications and waivers from current land use regulations.
Pillsbury Realty also states in its application that Woodmont Commons won’t be required to conform to dimensional standards such as lot size, frontage and setbacks. Pillsbury also believes it should be spared from local excavation standards and local floodplain development ordinances.
According to the review team, dimensional standards are needed to make sure that Woodmont Commons is built according to the concept plan and goals of the project.
The application also states that Woodmont Commons will be exempt from any annual residential growth limits as long as the project is “revenue-positive.” The review team also advised the Planning Board not to accept that provision.