Wildlife study requested for site of proposed subdivision

HOLLIS – As a result of concerns brought forward at Tuesday night’s public hearing, the Planning Board will require a wildlife study for further consideration of R&MD Development LLC’s application for a seven-lot subdivision.

The property, formerly part of Woodmont Orchard, is located on Plain and Silver Lake roads.

Resident Anita Moynihan expressed concerns about the board’s previous move to dismiss a wildlife study for the application.

Moynihan said there is a pond located next to the old icehouse on the property, which is teeming with wildlife throughout most of the year.

“If you go down there in the spring, kids are collecting tadpoles. It’s really kind of a neat thing and I hate to see it go away,” she said. “I think a border of trees around the pond would be wonderful.”

Planning Board Chairman Ed Makepeace noted that although members had previously elected not to conduct the wildlife study for the application, it did not mean they could not require one for further consideration.

The three studies the board initially required were an environmental impact study, a storm water management study and a visual impact study.

Regarding the visual impact study, board member Doug Gagne said, “I just want to see what it looks like coming up 122 in either direction.” He questioned the proposed houses being built so close to the road.

An engineer for the project, Richard Maynard of Maynard and Paquette Engineering Associates LLC said, “We have to stay away from the wetland, we have to stay away from the buffer and we have to stay away from the scenic road. That kind of forces the layout.”

Resident and Heritage Commission Chairwoman Sharon Howe said she would like to see either a scenic easement for the preservation of the land’s visual integrity or a façade easement for preservation of the icehouse’s structural integrity.

“A preservation effort would be worthwhile,” she said. “If the easement is donated to the Heritage Commission, the owner retains ownership and just gives stewardship of preservation to the Heritage Commission.”

Maynard said his goal was to present a preservation plan that would be agreeable to both the Planning Board and the Heritage Commission within the next month. Makepeace recommended that the firm work jointly with the Heritage Commission to present a plan to the board.

There are also two trails for hiking and all-terrain vehicles around the property that the Trail Committee has been trying to link together. Richard Kalin spoke on behalf of the committee.

“We would support this application if it includes the trail system,” Kalin said.

Makepeace asked the committee also to work with Maynard on presenting a plan to the board.

Maynard said residents need not worry about construction runoff from the project contaminating the neighboring lake. He said the runoff would drain off to the left of the lots.

No abutters attended the meeting. Consideration of the application was continued to the board’s next meeting Dec. 2.