Council, Planning Board to Meet Together Dec. 3

The Derry Town Council will have a list of ideas to work on when it holds a joint meeting with the Planning Board on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Council members discussed their concerns at the Nov. 19 meeting, and Chairman Michael Fairbanks read a list of concerns from Planning Board Chairman David Granese.
Granese and the Planning Board’s issues, according to a letter read by Fairbanks, include a vision for the downtown area, economic development, and a plan for the growing Route 28 South area.

Fairbanks also read a letter from Councilor Brad Benson, who could not be at last week’s meeting. Benson’s interests include proposed zoning changes, the sign ordinance and a blight ordinance.
Fairbanks started off the Council discussion, noting that his concerns include current and future development. “Is the zoning we have in place able to foster the development we want to see?” he asked.
Member Thomas Cardon wanted to see better economic development in the downtown area. He has been a strong advocate of developing a city park in the Abbott Court area, a parcel of town-owned land. Other than that, Cardon said, he agreed with Granese’s agenda items.
“These are things I want done,” he said of the Planning Board chair’s list.
Councilor Mark Osborne referred to a recent case, that of Dumpster Depot’s proposal to relocate on Ashleigh Drive. “As far as zoning is concerned, I don’t want to have businesses come in to town that we don’t want but that the zoning permits,” he said.
People “want their downtown back,” Osborne said, and are concerned about blight, especially empty storefronts and abandoned buildings.
Osborne also wondered if there were stronger anti-littering ordinances the Council could enact. “We need to put more teeth into our littering ordinance,” he said. “If we go to all the effort of developing the downtown, I don’t want to see it lined with cigarette butts and empty soda cans.”
Member Al Dimmock said that’s not the only ordinance that needs teeth. He said the Council needs to give Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey laws Mackey can enforce.
Dimmock also observed that, “Where property is concerned, I don’t think the town should be in the real estate business. We need to sell the town-owned property and get it back on the tax rolls.”
Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores believes in having a vision for Route 28 South. “I don’t want it to look like Salem,” she said. “But I believe that’s where we’re going to see our future business growth.”
The Council agreed to have Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau codify the agenda items, and to forward a copy of the agenda to the town’s attorneys. Osborne observed, “I don’t want to put any of this in place and find out, down the road, that the Supreme Court says, ‘You can’t do that.’”
The joint workshop with the Planning Board will be Tuesday, Dec. 3, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Council chambers.