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Windham Planning Board OKs new homes, charter school

Union Leader Correspondent

August 20. 2018 10:12PM

WINDHAM — New residential homes and the conversion of an office building into a new charter school were among the projects approved at a recent planning board meeting.

The board approved on Aug. 15 four separate projects to build homes at 21-29 Third Street, each of which required a Cobbetts Pond and Canobie Lake Protection Ordinance land development permit because of its proximity to the pond, according to town planner Dick Gregory.

Joseph Maynard, a project manager at Benchmark Engineering, presented the plans. He said all four lots had been individually owned, with three of the four previously having homes on the properties.

The board also approved a final site plan to renovate the first floor of a former office building at 1 Industrial Drive where developers plan to construct a new charter school. The board moved the school item up on the agenda so they could address it immediately, given the time-sensitive nature of the project.

Trustees of the Windham Academy Public Charter School previously said they want to start the inaugural school year this fall. The Dubay Group represented the school at the meeting.

A variance was already granted to allow a school in the Limited Industrial District. Three modular classrooms will be used while the interior of the building is being renovated.

“We’re very happy with what we have today because they did everything we asked,” Gregory said at the meeting regarding the three portable classrooms at the charter school.

The board also approved a proposal to build a two-story, 7,900-square-foot building at 7 Rockingham Road.

The board decided not to hear a proposal for Old School Bar and Grill at 49 Range Road to receive retroactive approval for changes they made to their site plan because of a number of ongoing compliance issues, according to Gregory.

“There had been some compliance issues but … it got a little bit worse,” Gregory said. “When they bring that site into compliance then they can come back to the planning board.”

A letter to the company from the code enforcement administrator lists nine violations of town ordinances at the property, including seating that exceeds what’s been approved by the fire permit and what’s allowed based on the property’s septic configuration; live entertainment without a sprinkler system; temporary tents and canopies without approval; and using the electrical room for storage, among other things.

The company has also installed fencing and built a 350-square-foot patio without site plan approval, according to Gregory.

Also, the board voted to reschedule until its Sept. 5 meeting a hearing for proposal to build four new condominiums. The plan would build two duplexes under a single condo association ownership at 126 Rockingham Road.

Among the developers for the project is Vincent Bonanno, a Windham resident who, along with his wife, had been fined $40,000 by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for dredging wetlands, removing cattails and building a dock on Cobbetts Pond by his property at 27 Walkey Road.

DES denied Bonanno and his wife a permit beforehand. The dock has since been removed.

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