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August 04. 2014 9:21PM

New housing proposed near Souhegan River

MERRIMACK — Nearly 20 new, single-family homes could soon be constructed near the Souhegan River, if approved by town planners.

Conceptual plans have been filed with the town’s Community Development Department to create a 19-lot subdivision at Tomasian Drive off of Amherst Road.

Although an official application for the proposed development has not yet been submitted, a pre-submission hearing with the Merrimack Planning Board has been scheduled tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Merrimack Town Hall to review the project.

The cluster subdivision, if authorized, will convert nearly 50 acres of property into 19 lots ranging in size from about 1 acre to 1.6 acres. The proposed cul-de-sac would be accessed from Tomasian Drive, and each lot would be serviced by public water and individual septic systems, according to a staff memo from Assistant Planner Donna Pohli.

Tomasian Drive, LLC is the applicant for the project, and the owner of the property is the Stephanie Tomasian Revocable Trust of 2001, according to local assessing records.

Earlier this year, the Merrimack Zoning Board of Adjustment granted two variances to allow the proposed cluster subdivision on Tomasian Drive, pending approval from the Merrimack Planning Board.

The large lot is currently vacant, and abuts the Souhegan River, town-owned conservation land and other Tomasian family property. The developer hopes to keep the look of the development as rural as possible with the creation of wildlife corridors, according to the preliminary plans.

During a previous hearing on the proposed project, Ken Clinton of Meridian Land Services told planning officials that a cluster subdivision would help protect a nearby ephemeral stream, and separate the future homes from the Souhegan River, according to meeting minutes on file at town hall.

The cluster development will enable an “efficient and environmentally conscious use of the property, which benefits both the surrounding open space and the public,” says a letter of support from the Merrimack Conservation Commission, which is endorsing the cluster concept as opposed to a traditional subdivision.

“While the proposed cluster has a slightly larger wetland impact, we feel the overall benefit of protecting the Souhegan River watershed makes the cluster more desirable,” states the letter.

Preliminary plans indicate a new, paved road for the subdivision, along with internal sidewalks and upgrades to the existing Tomasian Drive.

khoughton@newstote.com


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