Residents Question Fate of Tax-Delinquent Properties

The first public hearing on the disposition of town-owned properties brought concerns from residents about at least three different parcels.

Tax Collector Dawn Enwright presented the 39 parcels, which will be subject to a second public hearing before the Town Council votes on their fate.

Enwright explained that all the properties have been taken by tax deed from owners delinquent on their taxes. “They need to be vetted by all town commissions and boards,” she said. “Once we get that feedback, we send the list to the Council and after the public hearing, the Council takes a vote.”

The properties are required by statute first to be put up for auction, and the auction date will be set for a minimum of 30 days beyond the vote.

In the public hearing, State Rep. Brian Chirichiello asked about 19 Elm St., the former Fishercraft property. “I heard that it was being demolished,” Chirichiello said, to which Enwright responded, “The Property Maintenance Committee is discussing it and no decision has been made.”

Chirichiello expressed a concern about lead paint or asbestos and Enwright said she would look into it.

Robert Modrak, a resident of Chancellor Drive, said he was not a direct abutter to the parcel in question, PID 14013 but he wondered about the benefits of returning the property to the tax rolls. According to Modrak, 136 landlocked acres would be opened up by selling this one parcel, and he predicted that could hold 68 homes, at 2-acre zoning, with a possibility of two children per home.

“Has an analysis been done as to how development would affect our taxes?” Modrak asked.

He was also concerned about a possible new road emptying out onto Bypass 28, which would be dangerous, he said.

Modrak requested that the parcel be removed from the list.

Hale Dunn of 12 Bradford St. expressed concern about 83 Rockingham Road, PID 28033-002. He would like to see the three acres preserved as conservation land, he said. He’s been in Derry 38 years, raised children in town, and said his children used to “go out and play in the woods, ‘slaying dragons’ or whatever. Now they’re inside playing video games, and not using their imaginations.” He said the town loses out when rural landscapes are destroyed.

David Macomber, an abutter to PID 07033157 Warner Hill Road, said he and his family have been caring for that property for years. “The invasive species are killing the trees,” he said.

Macomber said he worried about the property being developed, due to its proximity to the Ballard Forest.

“It’s a long, narrow strip of land and it borders the Rail Trail,” he said. “Its wetlands are on the 100-year flood plain.”

The public hearing was closed after Macomber.

The second public hearing will be held in an upcoming meeting.