Derry Officials Evens Out Council’s Voting Districts

By Alex Malm

During the Nov.16 Derry Town Council meeting one of the agenda items discussed was in regards to changing the district boundaries for the Town Council.

It was explained by Derry Town Administrator Dave Caron that there is a statutory requirement that states in part “The Town Council shall, if necessary, adjust and establish new boundaries based upon decennial Census data. The Town may establish its own rules and procedures governing the conduct of redistricting.”

Caron explained that there are currently 34,317 people that live in Derry currently and there are four Town Council districts meaning that the target population per district is 8,579 people.

He explained that District 1 had the exact amount for the targeted population, District 2 had 48 more, District 3 had 354 people less and District 4 was over by 307 people.

Because of this the Town’s Administration had different recommendations in order to get each district closer to the targeted population.

For District 2 the recommendation was to move voters on the south side of Humphrey Road between South Main Street and Cemetery Road. The other recommendation was to move voters from the North side of Island Pond Road between South Main and Cemetery.

For District 4 the recommendation was to move a number of different streets to District 3. It includes the South side of Brewster and east side of Scobie Pond, north side of A Street to south side of Manchester Road, south side of Manchester Road by east side of Folsom Road by north side of Franklin Street Ext by west side of B street. Other recommendations include west side of B Street by south side of Franklin Street Ext by east side of Folsom Road by north side of Beaver Brook to the Londonderry Town line. It also includes moving the south side of Beaver Brook by east side of North High Street by north side of Ash Street extension to the Londonderry town line.

Planning Board member Mark Connors spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and said that the planning department is in the process of approving a large development that could possibly skew the population totals and asked if they would consider waiting to do the redistricting until they know how many people it would bring in if approved.

Derry Town Council Chairman James Morgan said that the issue is that they haven’t begun construction yet so they can’t base the numbers on how many people may live in town rather than how many they know do at this moment.

“Unfortunately the problem is there’s no shovels in the ground,” Morgan said. “The census doesn’t count dirt.”

Caron said that the only financial impact for the changes is $2,000 which is for the cost of the mailing to notify impacted residents.

The Council ultimately voted unanimously to approve the redistricting recommendations.