February 26. 2013 9:28PM

Derry Conservation Commission signs off on medical building

Union Leader Correspondent

DERRY - The Conservation Commission has approved the site plan for a new medical building at 14 Tsienneto Road, but only after some debate over the protection of native turtle species that could be on the property.

The 10,000-square-foot, two-story building will sit behind a three-story building owned by the same developers, Tsienneto Development 14, LLC.

During the initial hearing on the site plan earlier this month, commission members raised some concerns about the wetland impact of the project and the number of parking spaces for the two buildings.

Between the existing and the proposed building, there will be 152 parking spaces, although only 143 are necessary to meet town ordinances. Building owner representative Christopher Nickerson said the additional spaces were needed to handle the anticipated use of the two buildings.

Although the Conservation Commission was fine with the parking situation following the walk-through, commission chair Margaret Ives did raise questions about native wildlife on the property and the impact of the construction.

To answer questions about the possibility of native turtle species inhabiting the property, Luke Hurley of Grove Environmental Services prepared a report for the commission.

While Hurley said there is the potential that native turtles could be on the site or could cut through the site, he said he did not think the site has the makings of a major turtle habitat.

However, Hurley said the building developers were willing to put up silt fence around the entire site while construction was underway to keep any turtles from crossing the property.

"You've heard the testimony of what wildlife might be there, and if it is a matter of adding a little extra silt fence, we would be happy to do it," said Nickerson.

"That's not a little extra silt fence, that's a lot of extra silt fence," said commission member Rick Buzzanga. "I'd rather not see it there, but if you go in that direction, make sure it is taken out."

Buzzanga made a motion to approve the site plan for 14 Tsienneto Road as originally presented without the additional silt fence.

"I would prefer the plan to protect the turtles with the silt fence," said Ives.

Buzzanga said he was not against protecting the turtles, but said he did not believe the fence would be an effective deterrent and that it would be a waste of money for the developers.

The motion to approve the site plan without the silt fence passed by a 4-3 vote. Although commission member James Degnan voted for the plan without the silt fence, he praised the developers for making the extra effort to move the plan forward.

According to Nickerson, the new building at 14 Tsienneto will look similar to the existing three-story building on the front of the property. He said medical businesses from Londonderry and other surrounding towns have already expressed interest in moving to the new building.