DERRY — After months of workshops, public hearings and revisions, proposed changes to the town’s general commercial district along Rockingham Road have been forwarded to the Town Council for a public hearing.
Last year, the Planning Board held several workshop meetings on a proposed change to an office/medical/business zone for the current general commercial zone in the Webster’s Corner section of town along Rockingham Road in anticipation of public water and sewer coming to the area. Planning and town officials undertook the proposed changes as a way to enhance the development of the district.
That change in the zoning designation was scrapped, however, when many of the property owners objected to the proposed exclusion of gas stations and automobile sales and service businesses in the district.
The revised changes introduced a 1,000-foot buffer zone between the automotive businesses in the zone. But even that change led many residents and business owners in the zone to speak up, claiming it would limit how they could develop their property.
After hearing from the public, the Planning Board further revised the changes and did away with the buffer zones altogether.
Several residents raised further concerns about single-family homes not being allowed in the general commercial zone. However, the Planning Board is scheduled to hold workshop meetings on mixed-use overlay districts, which could allow for residential building in conjunction with commercial development.
The change in the zoning does allow several additional uses in the general commercial zone, including office medical buildings and day care facilities.
“I want to thank everyone on the board who has worked on this and all the members of the public who have come out,” said Planning Board Chairman David Granese.
Although the Planning Board unanimously approved the revised zoning ordinance, board member Jim MacEachern advised residents that they would still have the opportunity to speak at the Town Council public hearing if they have any additional concerns.