AMHERST — Conceptual plans have been developed to potentially bring 46 new homes to a large parcel of property off of Brook Road.

The project, dubbed Woodlands Development, is still in its preliminary stages. This week, the local conservation commission was presented with a conceptual layout for the 46 houses.

“The property consists of approximately 127 acres of land,” said Chad Branon of Fieldstone Land Consultants.

The new homes would occupy about 27 acres of the property, meaning about 100 remaining acres would be reserved for open space, according to Branon.

The project includes a new roadway throughout the development, with several smaller roads and cul-de-sacs branching off of the main drive.

Engineers are considering an oversized covered bridge to be constructed across the brook at the entrance to the development at 24 Brook Road.

“We think this would be a really nice architectural feature,” said Branon, adding the covered bridge would be large enough to accommodate emergency vehicles.

In total, about 3,900 linear feet of new roadway would be constructed on the property, he said.

Branon explained that there is an isolated piece of property in the center of the parcel that is owned by the town, as well as conservation land to the north of the parcel that is also town-owned.

“This is a property that has been of interest to the conservation commission for some time,” said conservation commission chairman Rob Clemens, noting the nearby, landlocked property.

The conceptual project is being proposed under the town’s integrated innovative housing ordinance; John Walsh is the new owner of the land.

“This project does have some very unique features that will touch on some public benefits,” he said, adding access will be provided to the isolated town-owned land, as well as parking for nearby trailhead areas.

With about 100 acres proposed for open space, Branon said the project is a step in the right direction.

A previous development project for the site included 39 units and more than 5,000 linear feet of roadway, although that plan never came to fruition.

“This would be a condo form of ownership, so there would be a homeowners association,” Branon told the board.

Neighbors are already expressing concerns about the proposal.

Ellen Dutile of 55 Brook Road said there is an existing house on the property that takes on a significant amount of water during floods.

“That concerns me quite a bit that anything would be done in that area,” she said.

Another resident at 33 Brook Road, Bob Choquette, said he worried about whether salt would be used on the newly proposed roadway, as contamination has been a problem in that area in the past.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020