I saw an article recently that detailed a visit by Jonathan Ring to the Stratham Planning Board. This night Jonathan was wearing his work force housing hat. The portion of the story that interested me was the change in zoning for a parcel that is right on our Town line. I guess this is being placed on the March warrant in Stratham toute suite! I will bet you most people think that Stratham begins after you cross under 101.
The water and sewer in the area is provided by Exeter and would be also be key to this proposed development . Stratham has no such services.
Jonathan was asking that work force housing be allowed at several areas, around the Middle School( which I guess was previously age restricted) the Industrial Park ( Lindt?) and the end of Rollins Road. Then he slipped in one more, the “Special Commercial District”. To orient yourself to the Special District just check out the aerial view below. This is the slice of land laying alongside 101 at the end of Stony Brook Lane which was once considered as the site for St Michael’s Church faith campus. Stony Brook Lane is in the lower right corner of the aerial view. There are several other odd pieces of land around the salt marsh that currently are being massaged by developers. One on the South side of McDonald’s and another on the North side. These all surround the marsh, which of course is connected to Great Bay. So check out the map below.
I have always felt that the site would be better used in conjunction with our current waste water treatment plant. Linking the two sites or plants, or an expanded regional plant with the latest technology with a pipe under the Squamscott would not be difficult. Trying to find land in the future for a wastewater treatment plant will be impossible. It’s like a gun club, how do you find a new location. Right now as configured, getting in and out of any apartment complex or condex village sited on this point of land would be a grind. I hope we are not siting work force housing in marginal areas, and that any planning process is unaffected by the grand purpose proposed.
It’s just another project.
Click here for Aerial View of “Special District”.
Here is a bit of history for you from the Stratham Planning Board minutes April 19, 2006
Tax Map 1 Lots 1 & 2, Saint Michael Parish Proposed Church, Parish Center, Rectory and maintenance building located on Stoney Brook Lane:
Mr. Federico informed the Board that he was a member of St. Michael’s Church, and said he would step down if the Board so wished it. There were no objections to Mr. Federico remaining on the Board. Pastor Marc Drouin was present representing St. Michael’s Church. Daniel Blais from TF Moran, Inc., and Amanda Barker from NH Soil Consultants were also present. They had submitted a design proposal for their site at the end of Stoney Brook Lane. They propose to build a church with a seating capacity of 1,000 people, a Parish Center, a home for clergy, and a maintenance garage. Rev. Drouin gave a brief history of St. Michael’s Church and their future plans. He indicated that the gift of this property to St. Michael’s Church comes with the stipulation that the property must be used for the development of the church within 10 years or it reverts back to the benefactors or their estate. Rev. Drouin noted that all of the buildings will be in Stratham, and acknowledged that the site borders environmentally sensitive areas. Mr. Blais described the location of the property, and the property itself. He stated that municipal sewer and water is in the road extending from the Town of Exeter. They have petitioned the Town of Exeter for permission to hook up to both sewer and water. If they are unsuccessful, they will go with individual wells and septic systems. Mr. Blais stated that the house on Lot 1 will be removed. He said that the church desires to keep the manmade pond. They would need to cross the 100 year flood plain for the proposed driveway. Mr. Blais indicated that the church has met with the Planners and Conservation Commissions from both Stratham and Exeter. He said they recognize that this project has Regional impact and is subject to review by the Rockingham Planning Commission. He stated that Ms. Barker from NH Soil Consultant has met on the site with representatives from various State and Federal Agencies. Mr. Blais said that soil borings had been done. He acknowledged that a church is not a use that is allowed in the General Commercial Zone in Stratham, so they will be applying for a Variance with the Stratham Zoning Board of Adjustment. They hope to make the May 9th hearing date.
Ms. Barker stated that NH Soil Consultants completed the wetlands delineation on the property, delineated the edge of surface waters, completed the HISS mapping, identified the limit of tidal influence, and did a wetlands functions and values assessment. She pointed out the key water resource areas on the property. She indicated that they had compiled a list of all the environmental setbacks for both Stratham and Exeter. Ms. Barker stated that there will be approximately 20,000 square feet of wetland impacts. She went over the site layout plan in relation to the wetlands, and water resources in detail. She briefly described some wetlands mitigation they were contemplating.
Mr. Barker stated that the applicant came before the Conservation Commission and gave a presentation on their proposed plan. Some of the Commission’s suggestions have been incorporated into this proposed plan. He asked about drainage from the parking lot and snow storage. He was told they have been working on that issue. They hope to use mostly sheet flow for drainage. They haven’t decided where they will store the snow. Mr. Hyland asked about daily traffic flow. He was told that the project description that was submitted had that information. Rev. Drouin stated that they do not plan on renting out the hall. It would only be used for parish ministry. There was a discussion on this issue. Mr. Federico asked if they had any plans for further expansion. Rev. Drouin said not at this time. There were additional discussions on seating capacity; parking; sewer and water; traffic; the size of the rectory; the amount of affected wetlands; and making sure the prayer paths don’t affect the wetlands areas. They will be doing a traffic study. Lucy Cushman, from the audience, strongly suggested that they leave as many trees as possible. Mr. Blais stated that they have no control over the trees in the power line easement. They will try to maintain a green buffer where they can. They will be providing a view shed so that people can see the church.
I heard a phrase the other day, someone, a Norwegian I think, was discussing the Kyoto Protocol. He disparagingly termed the actions by the major players this week ( backing out) “the triumph of the short term over the long term.”
I see that every day.
Really though, if this site becomes more workforce housing( whatever that means anymore ) Exeter should get the huzzah, not Stratham.