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Hearing set for Webster's Corner zoning change in Derry

Union Leader Correspondent

March 11. 2013 11:22PM

DERRY - For the better part of a year, the Planning Board has been holding periodic workshop meetings to redefine zoning in the Rockingham Road section of Webster's Corner.

Now, the board is ready to end the workshop phase and bring the proposed changes to a public hearing.

"In my opinion, I believe everything has been brought to the table," said Planning Board Chairman David Granese. "Everything going back to the last few meetings has been repetitive."

Granese successfully proposed moving the workshop item to administrative business and scheduling a public hearing for the zoning changes.

He said that hearing would be scheduled at the board's next meeting on March 20.

Initially last year, the Planning Board held several workshop meetings on a proposed change to an office/medical/business zone for the current general commercial zone in anticipation of public water and sewer coming to the area. Planning and town officials undertook the proposed changes as a way to enhance the development of the district.

That change in the zoning designation was scrapped, however, when many of the property owners objected to the proposed exclusion of gas stations and automobile sales and service businesses in the district.

In an effort to take the property owners' concerns into account, the board looked at keeping the area zoned general commercial but establishing a 1,000-foot buffer zone for service stations and automobile sales businesses.

Many residents and property owners in the district object to the change and the buffer zone, stating it would devalue their properties and limit how they could develop their land.

"A lot of my neighbors have come up and made their opinions known," said South Main Street resident Gerry Siragusa at a February workshop. "It's frustrating. I feel the board is not hearing what all the property owners are saying, and we're saying don't make any changes. Keep it general commercial and let the market dictate what we do."

Town Administrator John Anderson replied that he believes the Planning Board and town officials are listening to what people have to say.

"We've moved significantly from the beginning of this process," he said. "Just because we don't give you everything you want and you don't walk away 100 percent whole, it doesn't mean we didn't listen to you. Part of negotiations is a give and take where you settle on a middle ground."

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