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November 14. 2012 8:09PM

Derry planning board approves driving range

DERRY - A new driving range behind Pete's Scoops ice cream stand on Rockingham Road could be ready for duffers by the spring.

The planning board recently approved the plan for the 22-tee driving range after a lengthy discussion about the planned lighting and landscaping for the property.

Several abutters from Skylark Drive expressed concerns about lights on 30- and 50-foot poles on the edge of the property.

"I respect Mr. Kershaw's right to do with his land what he chooses, but to this point, it doesn't seem like consideration of the neighborhood has been a concern," said Sklyark Drive resident Mike Connor. "I'm very concerned about our property values."

When Connor moved into Skylark Drive, he said it was a quiet, wooded area. Now, he said, he can see many of the businesses along Rockingham Road from his property.

"It's made it a not very desirable neighborhood, and now you are talking about 30-foot and 50-foot lights," he said. "It seems incredibly intrusive."

Skylark Drive resident Leanne Buyck also said she would like to see more privacy and consideration for the neighborhood.

Project engineer Todd Connors of Long Beach Development noted that the lights would shine on the driving range and would be placed so that they were not illuminating neighboring yards.

The lighting poles will also form the backbone of a netting system to keep errant golf balls out of neighboring yards, Connors said.

"It's important that the lights be installed per the plan because there is a residential zone behind us," he said.

The plan also called for a six-foot stockade fence with shrubbery in front of it near the property line of the 8.9-acre parcel.

Several planning board members requested the shrubs be replaced by trees, to eventually create greater privacy for the abutters, a request that Connors agreed to.

The driving range will have 22 tees, 18 on concrete pads and four on grass behind an open pavilion behind the ice cream stand.

Connors said operating hours for the driving range are scheduled to be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. from March through September and from 6 a.m. to dusk during the off-season.

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Adam Swift may be reached at aswift@newstote.com.



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