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Merrimack neighbors worry new development will cause their wells to run dry

Union Leader Correspondent

July 20. 2017 9:39PM

MERRIMACK — Neighbors are voicing concerns about a proposed development that could bring 13 new homes to Wilson Hill Road.

Brett Vaughn, owner of the property, told the Planning Board this week that he has met with neighbors several times to discuss their concerns, and has adjusted his plans to address some of their worries.

According to the plans on file at town hall, Vaughn is hoping to construct 13 homes on a 63-acre parcel at 123 Wilson Hill Road near his existing residence.

Neighbors told planning officials they are concerned about their wells running dry as a result of the newly proposed development.

According to Tony Cappuccio of 111 Wilson Hill Road, he already has problems with his well on a regular basis, as it either runs dry or the pump kicks out.

He said there are existing water yield problems in the neighborhood without the addition of 13 new houses, explaining he must ration water at times.

Beth Coviello of 103 Wilson Hill Road expressed similar well concerns, adding she also worries about the increased traffic.

“There is going to be a lot more traffic on this road,” said Coviello, stressing there is already a dangerous curve on the narrow street.

Vaughn said he has hired experts to study the groundwater issue in the vicinity, and was reassured there is plenty of water to accommodate 13 new residences. According to Vaughn, the proposed wells for the new homes are several hundred feet away from the existing homes in the neighborhood.

“I know it has been very voiced and very emotional,” Vaughn said of the process, emphasizing that engineers have already addressed the water issue.

Robert Best, chairman of the Planning Board, said he has no doubt from the submitted reports that water can be supplied to the new lots. The question, he said, is whether the installation of 13 new wells will impact the water supply to existing homes in the area. “That is a serious concern that everybody has to worry about,” said Best.

Vaughn said he has made several concessions to neighbors, including adjusting the design of the development, creating a larger buffer through a proposed conservation easement and agreeing not to blast during construction.

“These abutters aren’t going to see these homes,” added Vaughn.

Alastair Millns, Planning Board member, said he could not go to sleep comfortably knowing that the existing residents could wake up with little or no water at their homes because of the new development.

Another board member, Michael Redding, echoed those concerns, saying it is the Planning Board’s responsibility to consider these issues if there is evidence that wells in the area are already being challenged.

The board will reconsider the proposed development at its next meeting on August 15.

Environment Merrimack Local and County Government

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