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Planners enlist Londonderry in regional project

LONDONDERRY - The town will join forces with Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) as part of an ambitious, three-year project being led by the state's nine regional planning commissions. Officials hope the regional effort will ultimately spur economic growth by helping to advance development of Pettengill Road.

During Wednesday night's Londonderry Planning Board meeting, SNHPC President David Preece shared details of the regional planning project, made possible with the 2011 approval of a federal Sustainable Communities grant.

Londonderry planning officials will help represent SNHPC during the project, working with other planning officials from the North Country Council, Lakes Region, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee, Southwest Region, Central N.H., Nashua Regional, Rockingham and Strafford Regional planning commissions.

The end result, Preece said, will be a comprehensive, regional plan for the Southern New Hampshire region, as well as for other parts of the state.

'This will help not only communities, but will also help shape future New Hampshire development,' he stressed.

SNHPC will participate in program for next three years with the goal of expanding and updating the existing regional comprehensive plan, spanning nine regions and extending long-range planning for the Granite State well into 2030.

'Our goal is to work towards better coordination and greater integration among existing regional plans,' said Preece. 'We'll be updating our plan to reflect through 2030 and we'll be reintegrating six livability principals within the plan.'

Those principles include expanding transportation, providing for more affordable housing, enhancing economic competitiveness, supporting existing communities, coordinating policies, leveraging investment and sustaining communities and neighborhoods.

Preece said a major goal for Londonderry is creation of more affordable housing; a challenge, he admits, since such projects do best in areas with public water and sewer, and public transportation.

Another goal, he added, is to work towards attaining funding for the long-awaited Pettengill Road project.

In 1999, the town of Londonderry began working with state and Manchester-Boston Regional airport officials, as well as local property owners, to develop the design for the Pettengill Road project.

Based on a 2004 traffic study, it was found that there was a definite need for an intersection providing access to northern Londonderry and surrounding industrial land, to coincide with completion of the new Airport Access Road, which is slated for completion in July 2012. Project officials hope the Pettengill Road project will be completed around the same time, however funding has proven an ongoing challenge. At the same time, project proponents expect it to be a driving economic engine for the region, bringing thousands of jobs to the area.

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April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.


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