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November 28. 2012 9:49PM

Two controversial easements accepted by Nashua officials

NASHUA - Two easements from North Concord Street Properties were approved by the board of aldermen this week following months of analysis and debate.

On Tuesday, the board voted, 11-1, to accept a 3-acre conservation easement deed for a portion of property around the water tank off Concord Street. It also adopted a separate, 3-acre recreational easement on the same parcel for an athletic field near Pennichuck Middle School.

The conservation easement is intended to preserve the area located west and north of the water tank and is not intended for public access or use.

"The land is to remain in its natural state except for certain drainage/water management installations and utilities," states the document, which is being granted to the City of Nashua by North Concord Street Properties.

And, several months after local resident Geoff Daly filed a civil suit against the city and two other entities arguing a recreational area behind Pennichuck Middle School is not easily accessible or available for public use, aldermen supported a recreational deed to address some of those issues.

"No use of the (recreational) easement area may be made prior to 8 a.m. nor later than 9 p.m.," states the document, referring to an athletic field adjacent to Pennichuck Middle School.

While improvements such as bleachers or lights may be made to the area under the easement, marching bands - both private and school-affiliated - are being prohibited from taking advantage of the easement, according to the paperwork.

A 33-acre piece of land on Concord Street - the last piece of undeveloped Pennichuck property in Nashua that is often referred to as Parcel F - was previously bought for $2.2 million by North Concord Street Properties, a land deal that was finalized just days before the city acquired the water company at the beginning of the year.

The large parcel - in which both of these easements sit - is now being developed into an 85-unit elderly housing complex known as Hayden Green. Some city officials opposed to the construction previously attempted to stall the project and potentially buy back the land, but to no avail. Development there is already moving forward.

"You don't have to be a hydrology engineer, as it's really obvious that all that property drains into the kettle bog," Alderman Daniel Moriarty, Ward 9, told the board on Tuesday. "Anyway, it is too late now."

Still, Moriarty said he was under the impression that the drainage from the new development would run opposite of the kettle bog. His fellow board member, Alderman-at-Large James Donchess, said the two easements seem to be the best way to remedy a bad situation.

One person on the board, Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly, disagreed with her colleagues.

"I believe that Parcel F should never have happened," said Pressly, explaining her opposition to both easements. "I am voting no just on principle."

The purpose of acquiring Pennichuck Corp. was to protect the water and the remaining undeveloped land in the city, said Pressly, maintaining Parcel F was never brought forward during negotiations. Pressly said she hopes a lesson will be learned from the oversight.

khoughton@newstote.com


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