The Meadows in Raymond

Meadows Developer Questions Application of Town Road Standards
By Penny Williams   11-7-17

The developer of the proposed Meadows subdivision is expected to return to the Raymond Planning Board in January with specifics about each of the waivers he seeks for road segments in the 41 Chester Road (Route 102) development.

At its Nov. 2 meeting, the Planning Board heard developer Keith Martel present four new conceptual designs for the Meadows, to show the board what changes would have to occur if the Board requires strict adherence to the Town's road standards. The designs presented were, according to Martel, "waiver-less."

The original plan design proposes 172 condominium townhouses in 43 buildings.

Before introducing the specific designs, Martel told the board that as a developer, he could build to the permitted density on the property, and that the waivers requested on the original plan are not driven by density or economics. He said the original plan is designed to attract buyers looking for a safe community where homeowners can engage in interactions with neighbors.
Meeting the Raymond road standards reduces these elements of development, he claimed. The four plans he presented demonstrated lower quality housing stock, increased density, and additional buildings with more and smaller units. The roads would be straight and flat.

These changes, Martel stated, would mean the units would be of lesser quality and aimed more at the rental market.

He reviewed how the new conceptual designs increased density to 451 bedrooms, with the new proposals ranging from 256 to 276 units, up from the originally proposed 172 condominium townhouses. He asked the board for feedback on the new conceptual designs and made it clear that to put curves into the development roadways, he would need waivers from the road standards.

He also spoke about the roadways in the original plan and showed how they were designed to be "calming," using curves to keep speeds at 10 to 15 miles per hour and to provide a pleasing streetscape.

"The waivers we are asking for are quality related," he said.

Chairman Jim Kent said he thinks spot-specific waivers might well be appropriate and desirable. Martel showed the board his original design with 50-foot right of way lines drawn throughout the development, adding that this was accomplished by moving only one building a few feet. The board had denied his waiver request from the 50-foot right of way at the previous meeting and Martel showed how his engineer had been able to meet that requirement. The 50-foot right of way is related to collector road standards.

Discussion ensued about how the curves and the distance between curves that don't meet Town road standards could be handled at a future meeting. The board decided that by taking the proposed roadways segment by segment, seeing which waivers apply and having the developer explain why the waiver is needed at that spot and what its benefit would be, made the most sense going forward.

Martel, responding to a question, said his original plan already meets Raymond road standards concerning road construction, and it is only the compliance with the geometry of the curves and distances between curves for which the plan requires waivers.

Planning Board members Gretchen Gott and Jonathan Wood were asked before the discussion began whether they were biased in terms of the proposed Meadows plan, as they had both voted in support of an article to prohibit multi-family dwellings. Both declared they were not biased, and Wood pointed out the article they supported came into being after the Meadows application had already been accepted; thus, the Meadows would be grandfathered in – allowed to happen - if the proposal were approved.

Raymond Community Development Director Ernie Creveling's dual role as Planning Director and economic developer was also questioned as a conflict of interest, but Town Attorney Laura Spector Morgan said there was no conflict of interest, as he was not a member of the Planning Board.

Public comment from abutters Bob and Kathy McDonald's attorney, Scott Hogan, asked why the board had spent the evening listening to new proposals when the minutes from the previous meeting clearly showed the board did not direct the developer to provide new conceptual designs.

Bob McDonald questioned the developer's statement that he had added to the soil mapping and asked where on the map this took place. He also had his soil scientist, Mark Jacobs, question the same items.

Patrick Colburn, engineer with Keach-Nordstrom, said the changes arose because they had to use New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services lot loading calculations for septic systems and NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) mapping requirements for soil types.

The board then had to decide what the next steps would be. Wood suggested the board not consider the four new conceptual designs presented that evening by the developer, and the board agreed.

Kent said the evening nevertheless had been a worthwhile exercise because the board was able to see what the result of strict compliance with Town road standards would look like. The board asked Martel to return prepared to go through the waivers for the original plan, with 50-foot roads added, on a road segment basis using the collector road standards, and for the design to plot the 50-foot right of way with 25-foot pavement of the roadways to differentiate ownership. The developer will be asked to provide information for each curve and straightaway between curves in each segment, how it does or does not meet Raymond road standards, why the developer designed it that way, and what the benefit would be of approving the waiver(s) related to the specific segment.

The developer's attorney Patricia Panciocco, said they would need 45 days to properly prepare for what the board wants, and after a brief discussion the hearing was continued to the Jan. 4 Planning Board meeting.

Gott said she wanted the original roadway proposal for the Meadows to go before the Highway Safety Committee and Technical Review because she is concerned the roadways and cul-de-sac as designed would not allow safety equipment to move as they need to. The plan has already been before both committees, and the board took no action.

• In other business:

• The Planning Board scheduled a public hearing on the Freetown Woods conservation subdivision at 112 Green Road for Nov. 16 to amend the Conditions of Approval regarding imposition of impact fees. Freetown Woods, proposed by the River Valley Development Corp., of Dover, calls for 26 building lots.


Raymond Planning Board Denies Road Waiver for ‘The Meadows’
By Penny Williams   9-25-17

The Raymond Planning Board has denied a waiver request regarding the 50-foot right-of-way for The Meadows development.

The Meadows, a proposed Sterling Homes subdivision and 172-unit multi-family development, is slated for 41 Chester Road (Route 102). The development site is currently occupied by a farmhouse with two driveways. As proposed, the existing farmhouse would be razed and 43 buildings would be constructed, with four two-bedroom townhomes in each building, for a total of 172 units.

At its Sept. 21 meeting, the Planning Board reasoned that while the roads in the development are designed to be private, there is no guarantee they will always remain so. The board's concern is that if and when the Town might be asked to take over those roads, making them public, the 50-foot right-of-way that the Town design requires might no longer be able to be applied, creating a hardship and burden for the Town and its taxpayers.

The Town's 50-foot right-of-way allows for such things as shoulders, sidewalks, mailboxes, curbs and plowing, things the developer's attorney, Pat Panciocco, argued don't apply to condominium roadways that are owned by the condominium owners. She sought a waiver from this Town roadway design standard because she said it doesn't apply to condominium private roadways and as such caused a hardship for the developer.

After in-depth discussion on this issue, project manager Patrick Colburn of Keach-Nordstrom Associates, Inc., of Bedford said the way the roads on the site plan are designed shows that a 50-foot right- of-way is possible and the site plan could be altered to show this.

Planning Board Chair Jim Kent made the point then and later in the meeting that the developers had and have the option of alternative designs.

Attorney Scott Hogan, representing abutters Bob and Kathy McDonald, who object to the development, said that evidence of hardship is required, as is evidence of the waiver’s not being contrary to the spirit of the regulation. He reiterated that the Town regulations require all roads in Raymond, public and private, be built to Town standards.

All of the board members, particularly Gretchen Gott, expressed the preference for having the development roadways built to Town design regulations because of the possibility of the Town’s being forced to take over those roads at some time. The consensus of the board was that whether the roads were private or public was much less of an issue than whether the roads were designed to Town standards.

Board members did not think the waiver provided clear evidence of unnecessary hardship to the applicant and did not meet public safety concerns.

The board made a motion to grant the 50-foot right-of-way waiver, and it was unanimously denied. Town Attorney Laura Speyctor-Morgan asked the board to make a motion to deny the 50-foot right-of-way waiver so there would be a positive statement vote recorded. The board agreed and voted unanimously to deny the request.

Kent said that occasional discrepancies from Town requirements might be acceptable but this did not apply to the entire network of roadways. The discussion bogged down in whether the roadways in the development would need to meet Raymond collector or arterial roadway category requirements, and Spector-Morgan suggested a board/legal counsel recess to discuss the issue.

The meeting was recessed and upon reconvening, Spector-Morgan said the consensus of the board is that the developer’s being expected to meet the arterial road standards is recognized as inappropriate. The board was willing to grant broad waivers using the collector road standards but if the developer needs waivers beyond that, the board would consider them on a spot-specific basis.

The board was inclined to grant a construction standard waiver request for using plastic rather than concrete pipes but said it did not have sufficient information to act on why other waivers were requested.

During a brief discussion trying to get clarification, Colburn said that the proposed Sunflower Road, for instance, could not be designed using the collector road standards and might be made into a cul-de-sac. Spector-Morgan responded that the developer needed to provide evidence as to why the roadway has to be designed the way it is proposed and why a waiver is needed. Kent stated again that there are alternative designs the developers can use.

Deciding time would be needed by the developers to either redesign the roadways or develop their waiver requests based on the information the board provided, or both, the board approved continuing the hearing until Nov. 2. The board asked for the revisions and amended designs to be submitted at least two weeks in advance for board review.

In other business:

• The board held a public hearing with Eversource Energy regarding the cutting of trees and shrubbery on the sides of Long Hill Road, which is designated as a Scenic Road.

Bob Burner, Eversource arborist for the area, said nine trees have been identified for removal, along with shrubbery. He said homeowners would be notified if the Planning Board authorized the work and that the chips would be shot off the road into the forest. Gott asked that this not happen, saying it would be detrimental to wildflowers and foliage, and Burner agreed to have all chips directed into the trucks.

The board approved the Eversource request and asked that Eversource coordinate its plans with the Raymond Police in terms of safety issues and not shoot the chips off the road into the trees.


Raymond Resident Questions Finances of Proposed Meadows Development
By Penny Williams    8-8-17

The Raymond Planning Board continued its hearing Aug. 3 on a two-lot subdivision application for 41 Chester Road (Route 102), to be known as The Meadows, with nearby residents repeating demands for proof of the financial stability of the developer. The development proposes 172 condominium townhouses in 43 buildings.

At an April 20 meeting of the Planning Board , resident Robert McDonald handed out a packet of information and questioned the financial stability of the project owners and developers. He said the developer was not properly registered in New Hampshire based on information he received from the Attorney General's office, and said Sterling Homes, the developer listed, is recorded as inactive.

He also questioned the business registrations of the Mardan Group, LLC and 1070 Holt Ave., LLC, both of Manchester and involved in the development. Keach-Nordstrom Associates, Inc., of Bedford is authorized to represent the developer.  A search by Raymond Area News on Aug. 4 shows 1070 Holt Ave., LLC is registered and in good standing with the New Hampshire Corporation Division; Sterling Homes of Manchester was also listed as registered and in good standing with the Corporation Division. No listing for the Mardan Group was found.

Sterling Homes previously built the Village at Stone Creek on Prescott Road in Raymond, as well as developments in Auburn, Epping and Chester.

McDonald said he wants to see a construction budget, the correct registration information for the applicant companies and who is responsible for limited liability for the project –i.e., whether the developer has the financial standing to do the project.

The subdivision application for 172 townhouses was dated March 20, 2017 and was accompanied by a check from 1070 Holt Ave., LLC, for $14,685. Signing the application was Keith Martel of the Mardan Group, LLC.

At the Aug. 3 hearing, McDonald, accompanied by his attorney, Scott Hogan, demanded that the financial stability of the developer and owner be provided along with specific construction costs. He said the Planning Board needs accurate information on costs in order to make an informed decision, and he challenged the board not to approve any waivers but to proceed by following the Town Ordinances and regulations.

McDonald also claimed a traffic study and wetlands survey provided have both been impeached, and he wanted the wetlands study re-done by a third party certified soil scientist, based on the developer's admission that they need to re-check Test Pit 13.

At the outset of the hearing, the developer withdrew the sub-division application for a commercial development on the 9.048-acre lot within the total parcel that would have had frontage on Route 102. The proposed commercial lot will not be developed at this time. However, McDonald said that regardless of the withdrawal, the board must consider the potential for 210 additional cars entering and leaving if that parcel were developed later.

Rebecca Brown of Greenman-Pederson Inc., responded to the questions raised by residents and Planning Board members regarding the traffic study at the June 29th meeting , repeated the same information she offered to the Raymond Highway Safety Committee meeting on June 21st and to the board during its previous meeting.

The principle issue involved the choice between Option A, providing a full left- and right-turn lane to Route 102 at the entrance to the subdivision, and Option B, providing deceleration lanes that are basically expanded shoulders, allowing for traffic to get around turning vehicles.

 The Raymond Highway Safety Committee favors Option A but according to Brown, the warrants for the state for that option are not met by the estimates from the traffic study, and she thinks the state would favor Option B as less costly to construct and maintain, as well as because the traffic estimates do not meet required levels of use.

Brown also defended and explained again the number of estimated trips that would be generated in and out of the subdivision, as well as the number of right and left turns into and out of the subdivision during peak hours. She said the traffic study was first done in February, and because residents complained that the campground in Raymond wasn't in use at the time, the study was repeated in May. The overall findings of the two studies are nearly the same.

She also said the estimates for queuing and waiting for cars leaving the subdivision are basically for no more than two cars in a queue with a wait of approximately 25 seconds. Resident Kathy McDonald had suggested there would be a much longer queue with a much longer wait.

Resident Chuck Porter suggested that a flashing sign be placed along Route 102 to warn of slowing traffic at the entrance to the subdivision, and asked that this be requested from the state along with Option A. He and others said the traffic speed on Route 102 is fast and there are many trucks, and when the three school buses that stop to pick up and drop off students are added, there will be issues.

Board member Gretchen Gott wanted additional input from the police and fire chief regarding their preference for Option A, and she and member Brad Reed want the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board to support Option A.

Patricia Panciocco, attorney for the developer, requested an explanation from the board and the police and fire chiefs as to why they consider Option A safer, when the facts indicate Option B is safer and much less costly. She suggested the Town should be a co-payer if Option A is deemed the way to go.

Gott also asked that the developer consider changing the name of the proposed development from The Meadows because of 911 implications, as Raymond already has several “meadows” addresses.

The Planning Board scheduled a continued hearing for the project for its Sept. 21 meeting.

In other business:

• The Planning Board held a non-binding design review with applicant Mega-X LLC regarding its proposal to construct a gasoline station with a convenience store and donut shop on a 21.5-acre lot divided by a stream on Lane Road. The developer also plans to purchase the 3-acre lot across the road in order to place a sign for the gas station, store and donut shop that can be seen from the main road.

The proposal is for six fuel stations that would provide 12 gas pumps, as well as a diesel filling area with four fuel stations providing three fuel pumps. The building is proposed to be 6,050 square feet. There is ledge that will probably have to be blasted, and the plan includes a 30-foot buffer between the proposed construction and the adjacent residential properties.

The wetlands cover a good share of the parcel and the board raised concerns about the impact of the proposed construction on the wetlands.

The board said a traffic study and a wetlands survey would be required. There was concern about the placement of the construction, and it was noted that this parcel is located within the groundwater protection area.

Meadows Traffic Study, Subdivision Application at Planning Board
By Penny Williams   7-5-17

The Raymond Planning Board concentrated on the traffic impact of the proposed 172-unit Meadows development on Route 102 (Chester Road) at its June 29 meeting. The findings of an updated traffic study were presented, with the consensus that transportation will have the single greatest impact from this development. In addition, the Rockingham Planning Commission said The Meadows would have a regional impact as well.

The Meadows, a proposed Sterling Homes subdivision and 172-unit multi-family development, is slated for 41 Chester Road. The development site is currently occupied by a farmhouse with two driveways. As proposed, the existing farmhouse would be razed and 43 buildings would be constructed, with four two-bedroom townhomes in each building, for a total of 172 units.

While increased traffic is anticipated from The Meadows, the various intersections included in the updated traffic study all fell within the acceptable state range for level of service with the exception of Old Fremont Road and Pine Acres. Those two fell into an E range, the second to worst rating, just above F, for failing. The increase of housing stock from the development falls in the 4 percent range and thus would not have any particular impact on that area, according to the study.

The meeting was a continuation of a June 15 meeting about the subdivision application for the two-lot subdivision. One lot is proposed at 9.048 acres, with frontage on Route 102; the second lot is 77.247 acres, also with frontage on Route 102, and planned to house 172 condominium townhomes in 43 buildings, along with the associated infrastructure.

The application includes a request for a Special Permit, as the development would impact Zone G land, a jurisdictional wetland.

Raymond Conservation Commission Chairwoman Jan Kent presented the Planning Board with the concerns the commission has been working on with the applicant. They include review of the Dredge and Fill application to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) regarding wetland crossing.

The plan suggests a culvert and fill, but the Conservation Commission said a better way to manage the wetland crossing would be a bridge, given the depth of the culvert and the amount of fill it would require.

Kent, who is not related to Planning Board Chairman Jim Kent, raised concern with the dam in the pond on the property. She said in a catastrophic storm, the dam would fail and have widespread impact.

She also pointed to a vernal pool that would be surrounded by buildings and potentially impacted by construction, and suggested an appropriate buffer be marked out. Another vernal pool issue found during a site walk is not reflected on the site plan, she said, and the commission and DES are working to determine if it needs protection.

Kent also noted concerns about run-off and drainage having an impact on the water quality in the area and causing erosion by the pond.

Further, Kent pointed out the subdivision would have a decided wetlands impact in that the proposed 9.048-acre lot is bisected by the wetland and any access would have to cross the wetland. The Conservation Commission suggested the northern portion of this proposed subdivision be omitted, leaving access to be gained by wetland avoidance rather major wetland impact. She said the commission would like the Planning Board to look at this carefully.

Finally, she noted the commission is not in favor of the proposed wetland habitat the applicant suggests as a mitigation project because the area indicated is not currently being disturbed. The commission suggests the applicant look elsewhere to provide a mitigation project.

Patrick Colburn of Keach-Nordstrom Associates reviewed the new information added since June 15 regarding the proposed subdivision.

He said there are a revised plan set and new waiver requests but indicated he is interested in receiving guidance from the Planning Board with regard to the updated traffic study, the second access into the property, and environmental impacts.

Colburn spoke about the temporary emergency access which, like the permanent emergency access at Genco Lane, would be gated. T he temporary access would be eliminated when the Genco Lane emergency access comes on line. He said there would be private roadways within the project, as well as a clubhouse and mail station, and a sidewalk would be extended to the Route 102 intersection.

Colburn noted that municipal water would be brought to a meter station in the development by crossing under Route 102. A private water system would bring water from the meter station to the units. The sewer system would be private as well, with roughly 23 common sewer sites throughout the development.

Colburn said he had met with Technical Review and the Rockingham Planning Commission regarding the regional impact, which has been determined to be transportation-related only. He added that he has met with the Raymond Highway Safety Committee three times and with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) District 5 regarding the requested Alteration of Terrain permit. He has also met with the Raymond School Board with respect to school bus pick-up and drop-off locations.

He told the board a trail has been added to the plan that would tie into an existing trail that goes across the stream and up to the Genco Lane access. Along the trail the applicant has agreed with the Historical Resources request for plaques detailing the history of the area and buildings that once existed on the site.

Colburn described the decision to get a second curb cut to Route 102 from the southerly driveway into the farmhouse on the property that will be developed as a temporary emergency access. It would be gravel and gated and would provide access into the development that doesn't violate the Town's 850-foot cul-de-sac regulation but would connect to a private roadway giving 1000-foot access for emergency vehicles, satisfying the Raymond Fire Chief’s requirements.

Planning Board Chair Jim Kent asked about a timeline for the phasing of the plan. Phase 1 is for Daisy Way and would concentrate on the area behind the farmhouse. Phase 2 would see the development of Daffodil Lane, while phase 3 would be development of nine units around Daffodil Lane in year one or two, with phases 4 and 5 in year 3. Completion of the Genco Lane emergency access road would be in phase 5, and would have no buildings constructed, just roads. The total number of buildings constructed before Genco Lane is complete is 12, not including the clubhouse.

The requested waiver associated with the construction of the temporary access road would have to be granted early to allow construction of Daffodil Lane, but Colburn said all units would have sprinklers, and a fire hydrant would be installed where Daisy and Daffodil intersect.

He reiterated that the private roads in the development would not be built to Raymond Town road construction standards.

 The off-site improvement has an Option A and an Option B. The Highway Safety Committee recommended Option A, and NHDOT favors Option B. Option A would provide a full left turning lane going north on Route 102 and a complete deceleration lane going south on Route 102, as well as one deceleration lane for leaving the development onto Route 102. One of the concerns with this option is that the lanes along Route 102 would go further than the property by 190 feet. DOT District 5 did not like this because it affects Route 102 and the warrant thresholds for creating full passing lanes would not be met by the build-out in 2028.

Option B would widen the pavement on Route 102 to provide bypass shoulder lanes heading north and south.

Rebecca Brown with Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., reviewed the updated traffic study findings and noted that none of the intersections met the warrant threshold requiring mitigation except for the intersection at Fremont and Brown Road, where the state agreed that the yield sign could be changed to a stop sign if the Planning Board requests that action.

The average speed on Route 102 in that area, which is posted for 40 miles per hour, is between 43 and 45 mph, with much of the traffic driving at between 47 and 48 mph, according to the traffic study. Brown said sight lines from Daisy Lane onto Route 102 meet the required 400 feet and the existing southerly driveway into the property was chosen for the temporary emergency access because it meets the 400-foot requirement.

Concerning trip generation, Brown said there would be 80 vehicle trips out of The Meadows in the morning during peak travel time and 94 vehicle trips in the afternoon during peak travel time. The following chart from the Traffic Study shows the figures:

Table 4




Time Period/Direction



Proposed Trips




Weekday Daily






Weekday AM Peak Hour:




















Weekday PM Peak Hour:




















Saturday Daily





Saturday Midday Peak Hour:



















a ITE LUC 230 (Residential Condominium/Townhouse) based on 172 units.

According to the study, the proposed development is expected to generate 80 new vehicle trips (14 entering and 66 exiting) during the weekday morning peak hour, 94 new vehicle trips (63 entering and 31 exiting) during the weekday afternoon peak hour, and 92 new vehicle trips (50 entering and 42 exiting) during the Saturday midday peak hour. The directional distribution of site traffic in the study was based on United States Census Bureau Journey-to-Work information on existing travel patterns as the project resides in a largely existing residential community, and expected travel routes to and from the site. The trip distribution differs slightly from the previous trip distribution estimates due to comments received at the Rockingham Regional Planning Commission meeting of May 24, 2017, as well as the expanded study area and new traffic counts.

Accordingly, the study states that during the critical peak hours, 55 percent of the site traffic is expected to and from the north along Fremont Road (Routes 107 and 102), 30 percent to and from the south along Chester Road (Route 102), 10 percent to and from the south along Fremont Road (Route 107) via Brown Road, and 5 percent to and from the west along Old Fremont Road."

None of the intersections reached the state warrant threshold that would require implementing a signal; thus, no signal was recommended. The traffic queues would never exceed 4 seconds and would not grow by more than one vehicle, Brown said.

She also defended Option B, saying there would only be 19 left turns, just shy of what the state requires for a bypass shoulder. However, she noted that Police Chief David Salois is concerned with sight lines and recommends Option A.

Planning Board member John Beauvilliers questioned how 172 units would only generate 80 entrances and exits in the morning peak hours and only 94 in the afternoon, with 1,030 trips over the total day. He said most families have two workers. Brown responded that the numbers were based on national figures and the Trip Generation Manual, adding she is looking for guidance from the board on its preferred option.

Board member Jonathan Wood said he wanted more information from the board's consultant before making any recommendation, and also wants to hear from the Town’s Department of Public Works and Police Department. The board noted that the police chief, in his letter to the Planning Board, also suggested the board request that the speed limit on Route 102 be lowered from 40 to 35 mph.

The board noted it has not received the review of the updated traffic study from DuBois and King and needs to have that before making any decisions.

Board member Gretchen Gott said she objected to bypass shoulders, considering them unsafe, especially for bikers and pedestrians.

Speaking during public comment was Attorney Scott Hogan, representing the MacDonald family. He questioned when the board would consider the requested waivers that he called fundamental to how the subdivision would work with its network of roadways. He said waivers have to demonstrate an unnecessary hardship if not granted, and Hogan stated he sees no need for the waivers, therefore there would be no unnecessary hardship. He called on the board to look carefully at this matter.

One resident pointed out that there had been no traffic study for the commercial zone that will be subdivided and noted there would be a traffic impact from whatever goes into that parcel. The Planning Board chair said that parcel is not under discussion at this time and thus is out of the scope of the board’s present consideration. He said in the future it will require its own studies.

Wood said that after public comment, he would like the meeting to be adjourned so the board could meet with its attorney for a non-meeting.

Another resident asked the board to use common sense when it hears that 172 units would produce just 19 left lane turns into The Meadows. It was noted that in addition to the Pine Acres Family Camping Resort on Route 102, the Walmart distribution center and its many trucks and employees were not considered. He also said the beaver dam would not survive a huge storm, and the impact of its failure would have a negative impact on the development residents.

Resident Jim Fournier added that current Chester residential developments would add traffic on Route 102 and have not been considered. He asked who would be responsible for maintaining the bypass shoulders.

The board debated when to continue the hearing and eventually decided on the Aug. 3 Planning Board meeting. The board then adjourned and went into a non-meeting with its attorney.

In other business, the Planning Board approved a request from the Raymond Baptist Church parking lot construction project to trim brush and cut three trees in the area of the parking lot entrance/exit that will intersect with Long Hill Road, a designated Scenic Road.

Several residents living on Long Hill Road complained about not knowing about the June 15 Planning Board hearing when the parking lot construction was conditionally approved. Long Hill Road resident Sally Paradis asked what recourse residents had to stop the project.

She was told there is a 30-day appeal period for abutters but was advised to go to the Board of Selectmen with her concerns and see if they could be dealt with through the proposed improvements and the Public Works Department.

Highway Safety Committee Sends Planning Board Concerns for Meadows Project
By Penny Williams   6-22-17

Although District 5 of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) did not send a representative to the Raymond Highway Safety Committee’s June 21 meeting, the committee went ahead with listing its concerns for the Planning Board on The Meadows project.

Police Chief David Salois, who chairs the committee, said he had spoken with District 5 Civil Engineer Brian Desfosses, who explained that his office had not had sufficient time to review the submissions regarding The Meadows, a proposed Sterling Homes subdivision and 172-unit multi-family development slated for 41 Chester Road (Route 102).

The development site is currently occupied by a farmhouse with two driveways. As proposed, the existing farmhouse would be razed and 43 buildings would be constructed, with four two-bedroom townhomes in each building, for a total of 172 units.

The members at the meeting, which had been continued from an earlier session with the hopes of receiving NHDOT input, went ahead with developing the points and concerns they wanted to include in the letter to the Planning Board.

According to Ernest Cartier Creveling, Raymond Community Development director and committee member, the information needs to be completed, as the Planning Board meets on Thursday, June 29, to start the review of The Meadows. He said the information probably wouldn't be utilized until the second Planning Board meeting on the project.

Patrick Colburn of Keach-Nordstrom Associates, Project Manager for The Meadows, answered the main questions asked by the Safety Committee members; Rebecca Brown of Greenman-Pedersen Inc., who worked on a second, updated traffic study for The Meadows, answered questions as well.

The Highway Safety Committee is advisory only, and the main thoroughfare running along the project is a state road - Route 102 – to be used by Meadows residents for access and egress. With that the case, the committee said the decision making and the overall process would be primarily under the State, and while the committee's input would be valuable, it would be secondary to that of the State. Nevertheless, the committee chose to identify areas they thought important for the Planning Board to consider.

The main issue is the improvement of Route 102 where the access and egress from the project's private road will create a new intersection. Colburn detailed the two options presented to the State.

Option A consists of widening Route 102 to provide dedicated left- and right-turn lanes on Route 102 at the proposed site driveway, to be known as Daisy Way. These lanes would have to be long enough to accommodate 95th percentile queues, a deceleration area, and a taper, in accordance with NHDOT standards. To construct this, a substantial portion of the site would have to be donated to the NHDOT right-of-way, and the centerline on Route 102 would have to be shifted.

Option B consists of slightly widening Route 102 for a shorter distance to construct a bypass shoulder in each direction at the proposed site driveway (Daisy Way). The bypass shoulder for the left-turn lane would be 10 to 12 feet wide and 50 feet long, with a 400-foot taper before and after the driveway. The right-turn bypass shoulder would also be 10 to 12 feet wide for 315 feet, with a 200- to 240-foot taper. This option would require significantly less land donation to NHDOT, and would not require a shift in the centerline.

Brown said, "Based on the turn lane warrant analysis, Option B represents the warranted condition and the one that NHDOT is likely to select, as they have expressed a desire to avoid unnecessary pavement that needs to be maintained by NHDOT. Option A is not warranted based on the traffic volumes or operations of the intersection, but was recommended by the Highway Safety Committee as the preferred option."

Another major concern under discussion was school bus issues - stopping to pick up or drop off students and where parents could park or pull to the side of Daisy Way while awaiting the school bus. The committee, while thinking it would be better for the bus pick-up and drop-off to happen on Daisy Way, accepted the Raymond School District’s decision that Raymond buses do not travel on private roads or in developments such as The Meadows.

Committee members said the fact that buses would be stopping along Route 102 was a good thing, in that it would slow down traffic. However, the committee wanted a designated parking or pull-off area along Daisy Way near its Route 102 intersection that would accommodate parents waiting for the buses.

Another issue raised by the committee was a desire that all construction-related traffic be prohibited from using the emergency access along Genco Way. Initially they were talking about construction trucks but that was expanded to cover all traffic, workers, trucks, etc., related to construction. The committee wants all construction traffic to come off and egress out onto Route 102.

The committee also discussed the possibility of having the State lower the speed limit on Route 102 between the Chester town line and the Route 107 intersection from 40 miles per hour to 35 mph. Brown noted that this could backfire based on how the state calculates a speed limit, and could end up increasing the speed limit instead.

Salois acknowledged this possibility but said this was something the members still wanted to raise for consideration. The speed limit for internal development private roadways will be 15 mph, Colburn said.

Finally it was suggested the developer provide a bond to cover construction of the second emergency access roadway, which could be drawn down once the gated Genco Way emergency access is constructed.

Salois said the following concerns would be in the letter to the Planning Board:

• A bond required for construction of the second permanent gated Genco Way emergency access.

• No construction vehicles allowed to use Genco Way, with all construction-related access off Route 102.

• Planning Board to keep an eye on the Fremont Road/Route 107 intersection that is already accident prone, as well as the Blueberry Hill intersection off Route 102.

• Dedicated parking for parents waiting for buses on Daisy Way near the Route 102 intersection

•  Recommendation that the Planning Board consider Option A for the Route 102/Daisy Way offsite improvements

• Ask whether the State will reduce Route 102 speed limit to 35 mph between the Chester town line and Route 107 intersection.

 The committee approved including the above concerns in a letter that would be given to Creveling for delivery to the Planning Board. Creveling agreed to deliver the letter but said it would be better if in addition, Chief Salois would be prepared to address the Planning Board with the Highway Safety Committee's list of concerns and answer any Planning Board member’s questions.

Highway Safety Committee Awaits State Comments on Meadows Traffic Study
By Penny Williams 6-14-17

The Raymond Highway Safety Committee will wait to hear June 21 from an official with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) before taking any action on a traffic study for a proposed residential development called The Meadows, to be located at 41 Chester Road (Route 102).

On June 14, the committee heard from Rebecca Brown with Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. (GPI), who presented an updated Traffic Impact Study for The Meadows. At its conclusion, Police Chief David Salois motioned to delay any decision by the committee pending having a representative of District 5 of the DOT come to Raymond on June 21 at 9 a.m. to address the committee on the conclusions of the Traffic Impact Study and proposed off-site improvements. The Committee approved this unanimously.

The GPI presentation covered an expanded scope of the Traffic Impact Study, which included additional intersections and traffic on Saturdays; off-site improvements on Route 102; and the results of a meeting with the Raymond School Board relative to school bus pick-up and drop-off.

The School Board told the developer its buses do not go into private developments or over private roads, and thus the drop-off and pick-up would take place on Route 102. However, the school board did not give the developer a final answer on location, pending a site walk of the area by the school board.

The development site is currently occupied by a farmhouse with two driveways. As proposed, the existing farmhouse would be razed and 43 buildings would be constructed, with four  two-bedroom townhomes in each building, for a total of 172 units.

Access and egress to the site would be provided via one driveway on Route 102, west of Brown Road. In addition, one gated emergency-only driveway would be provided as an extension of Genco Way, which currently exists. Until that permanent emergency-only access is built, a temporary one would use one of the existing driveways onto the site.

The Traffic Impact Study was prepared in conformance with the Town of Raymond and current New Hampshire DOT guidelines. Based on comments from Town Committees, an update to the study was requested with traffic counts conducted in May, when the Pine Acres Resort campground is open and there is more activity from Aggregate Industries. Brown said when the study was conducted, 75 of the campground sites were occupied.

The study area was also expanded to include more intersections: Freetown Road (Routes 102 and 107) at Old Fremont Road and Pine Acres Resort Driveway, in addition to Chester Road (Route 102) at Brown Road, Chester Road (Route 102) at Park Place, Chester Road (Route 102) at Blueberry Hill Road, and Fremont Road (Route 107) at Brown Road.

The only changes to the original site plan were the extension of sidewalks to Route 102 along one side of Daisey Way, and a temporary emergency exit to be used until the permanent emergency exit is finished off Genco Way.

The updated traffic study was performed in May during the weekday morning peak period (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.), weekday afternoon peak period  (4 to 6 p.m.), and Saturday midday peak period (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Based on the data provided, all of the study area intersections experienced fewer than four collisions per year over the three-year study period, indicating a collision problem does not exist, although Old Fremont Road and Blueberry Hill came close. The number of cars and the queues were less than what would be required for any changes.

The data from the study did not meet any state-level requirement for signals at any of the intersections nor any added lanes, but the offsite improvement for safety would add a by-pass lane consisting of a 10-foot paved shoulder for both right- and left-hand turns into the project off Route 102.

Christine Conway said traffic on Route 102 is already a safety concern and the addition of 84 to 90 more trips out of The Meadows onto Route 102 or from Route 102 into the development only made the situation worse. She said she was doubtful the prediction that this would only have an increase in vehicles of 1 percent per year over the build-out to 2028 was accurate, and asked what the project could do to make Route 102 safer for the residents who live on it.

She also pointed out that there are already three bus stops along that stretch of Route 102, so when more are added as a result of The Meadows, the traffic would be impeded.

Neighboring residents Bob and Kathy McDonald had prepared a packet of information for the committee and questioned the accuracy of the number of vehicle trips in and out of the proposed project, and whether additional vehicles coming out of the Blueberry Hill area had been considered.

The McDonalds also questioned whether fatal accidents had been considered and said they had researched fatal accidents between 1996 and 2013 in the area. They also had a concern about the stopping distance of vehicles coming around the corner by Lovering Cemetery and whether they would be able to stop for a school bus in front of The Meadows. They pointed to density issues and had prepared a large map complete with cars and trucks to show the danger for Meadows residents to walk along the narrow private roadways inside the project.

"You have the opportunity to do this right and make it safe for the residents," Bob McDonald stated several times, citing conditions on narrow roads in Raymond where walkers are in danger. He also noted a Raymond Town Ordinance that calls for greater width than is planned for Meadows roadways.

The neighbors additionally raised the question of what businesses the commercial area would have and what impact that would be on the number of cars exiting and accessing Route 102.

Planning Board Hears Application for 172-unit Townhouses on Route 102
By Penny Williams  4-26-17

A subdivision application for a proposed 172-unit condominium townhouse development proposed for 86 acres on Route 102 (Chester Road) in Raymond went before the Raymond Planning Board Thursday evening, April 20. The developer also applied for a special permit because it would impact jurisdictional wetlands.

Planning Board Chair Jim Kent said the board hoped to get through an overview of the project, consider whether the project has a regional impact, and hear from the public. Patrick Calhoun of Keach Nordstrom Associates presented the proposed plan.

Calhoun described the project, to be known as The Meadows, as subdividing the parcel into two lots - one of 9.048 acres for future commercial development and a second of 77.247 acres, where 43 buildings housing the 172 condo townhouses would be constructed. Each condo would have two bedrooms and garages, some with a one-car garage, some with two-car garages.

In addition, the development would include a clubhouse, mail station, and Dumpsters in two locations, with access to the parcel off Route 102. A curb cut permit will be needed from the state Department of Transportation, but all the roads within the proposed project accessing the units would be private and would branch off the initial roadway, to be named Daisy Way, that would enter from Route102.

Each condo unit would have the town-required three parking spaces, including garage space, and visitor parking would be dispersed throughout the development. The Meadows would tap into municipal water under Route 102 and once it is on the parcel, it would become a private water system, brought to a metering station and from there to the rest of the development.

The septic systems would have private leach fields, and there would be a closed road drainage system.

The second access at the end of Jenco Way would be an emergency access road only and would be gated. Wetlands impacts would occur for the significant pond situated on the property as well as the streams that exist, and access to the uplands for construction will require wetland crossings.

Calhoun said the plan has been to the Technical Review Committee, Conservation Commission and Highway Safety Committee, and a traffic study has been done. However, the traffic study’s scope has been expanded to include traffic counts in May. Later in the meeting, abutters suggested doing those expanded counts in June or July, once campers are coming through the area.

The Conservation Commission wants a site walk that includes a soil scientist before reporting its findings on the project. That walk was scheduled for Sunday, May 21, at 9 a.m., and will included Planning Board members.

Calhoun asked for the board's direction regarding two waivers he was seeking. The first dealt with the private roadways within the parcel, and asks that the roadways not be required to meet Raymond town road standards. He explained that the Meadows roadways are designed to meet public road standards even though they are narrower than Raymond roads, and do not require a 100-foot right-of-way. The waiver included a Fire Truck Exhibit Plan showing the trucks had room to turn and maneuver through the site, and calls for horizontal curves tighter than standard radius and straight tangents between curves that are shorter than the standard allows.

The second waiver requests that the site plan and subdivision plan sets be 30-scale rather than the required 20-scale. The board approved the waiver for the scale of the plans, and Calhoun agreed to wait until the next hearing for a decision on the road waiver request.

Despite the fact that the board determined that the proposed plan would have regional impact, it was decided to hear public input, with the proviso that input not be too technical or deal with engineering concerns.

During public input, Robert McDonald handed out a packet of information and questioned the financial stability of the project owners and developers. He said they are not properly registered in New Hampshire based on information he received from the Attorney General's Office, and said Sterling Homes is listed as inactive. He also questioned the business registrations of the Mardan Group and 1070 Holt Street. He said he wants to see a construction budget, the correct registration information for the applicant companies and who is responsible for limited liability for the project – basically wanting to know whom it is Raymond is dealing with and whether the developer has the financial standing to do the project.

Robin Jordan asked the board if it planned to proceed with due diligence regarding the issues raised by McDonald about the backers of the project. She was told the matter would be handled by the Town's attorney.

McDonald also handed out a second package with pictures showing roads in Raymond that are narrow and reflect the difficulties they pose to buses and pedestrians. He did not wish the Planning Board to approve the road waiver.

McDonald has retained a land use attorney, Scott Hogan, who was present at the meeting and questioned where the site plan was. He was shown that the site plan had indeed been provided and was in the posted meeting information.

Hogan also raised a concern about the project density numbers, and Calhoun responded that the density calculations were submitted to the Technical Review Committee and that poorly and very poorly drained soils are provided on the plan set. Hogan emphasized that the process must be close to perfect in proceedings such as these.

McDonald also raised questions about soil calculations as noted in the review letter from the Town Engineers, DuBois & King. These deal with calculations regarding density and note that the engineers had not been able to calculate the project density (units per acre) because poor and very poor soils and steep slopes had not been identified on the plan set. McDonald also complained that the septic systems are not shown on the plan set, which makes the drainage considerations questionable.

And he repeated a previous concern that water, ground water contamination, and stream or pond overflow caused by blasting or the septic systems would find their way to his property and contaminate his well and property.

Terry Austrew of 4 Mark Lane questioned the development’s impact on the elementary school, which he said is already at capacity. He also said he thought there would be an illumination impact from the many cars that would be in the subdivision, and he raised a concern about children walking along the narrow roads.

Linda Mulligan raised a concern about the traffic impact of additional cars coming onto Route 102 and asked that the speed limit on that road be dropped, and Tim Simard questioned whether there would be issues with his well as a result of the potential blasting at the project.

After hearing public comment, the Planning Board approved continuing the hearing to June 15 and set the site walk for May 21 at 9 a.m.

Major Residential Development Proposed for Raymond
By Penny Williams 10-7-16

The Raymond Planning Board held a nonbinding Design Review of a proposed development located at 41 Chester Road (Route 102) that calls for 172 multi-family dwellings on the 86.4 acre site.

Developer Keith Martel said the concept presented took into account the concerns raised by abutters and town officials at previous Planning Board discussions of the project.

The conceptual design calls for 43 four-plex buildings, each with four two-bedroom townhouse-style condominium units. Each unit has two floors, with the garage on the bottom floor.

This is a condo development, not a rental development.

The concept design in question shows that the entrance road has been moved, eliminating four units. There was a discussion about whether the entrance connector would be gated, and Martel said that initially the Fire Chief favored this concept but it was now being considered as a deeded access.

Martel told the Planning Board at its Sept. 1 meeting that the newest design has eliminated several of the proposed roundabouts within the development, leaving four, all of which have adequate fire equipment access and more open space.

Martel said the road within the proposed development was intentionally designed in a way that did not meet Town standards. This was done so the speed could be set at 20 miles per hour. He said maintenance of the road would be through a Homeowners Association, which would contract with an outside management company to deal with issues such as plowing and maintenance.

Density for the acreage would allow 560 bedrooms, but the 172 units, each with two bedrooms, would have a total of 344 bedrooms.

Martel noted that the open space within the parcel lends itself to developing walking trails. One area could be considered for commercial development.

The project expects to be able to tap into municipal water, betting on the installation and coming on line of Town Well 4, which is slated for 2017. The expectation is that when Well 4 comes on line, there would be adequate capacity to service this development.

Visitor parking was discussed. The proposed design has three parking spaces per unit, with one inside the single garage and room for two cars in the driveway. The plan did not have specific numbers of visitor parking spaces but it was pointed out that several locations were identified where four or more additional parking spaces could be located near the multi-family units.

Vernal pools were identified and the developers explained they have planned appropriate buffers and a wildlife corridor has been created, with attention paid to comply with local, state and federal requirements for vernal pools and wildlife.

The septic systems have not been finalized, the Planning Board was told. The intention is to create a separate septic system for the development, which would be kept 75 feet from any wetlands. A separate company would be created to handle the septic system.

Board member Bernie Peer asked about the target population and was told there is no age restriction, but younger families would probably be interested.

Peer also questioned the direction of the proposed wildlife corridor, suggesting the reverse of what is proposed.

Chair Carolyn Matthews asked if the developers intend to keep and use the farmhouse on the property. She was told there is some thought about using it as a mail station or meeting place.

The abutters attending the meeting raised numerous concerns. Kathy McDonald had multiple pages of questions and concerns that she gave the board but focused on the proposed road that would cross the wetlands, with her main concern the connection to the new water line. She said the project would greatly increase demand and put pressure on the municipal water supply.

She also raised the concern of pollution from construction and blasting on existing wells in the area, as well as increasing fire and safety issues. She said the impact of the starter homes on the schools would be huge and would impact taxes, and asked that a Community Impact Study be done.

Her husband, Bob McDonald, said the traffic at the Park Place and Route 102 intersection near the parcel at rush hour is already busy and sight lines are poor. He asked that a traffic study be done relative to the development, and said the proposed project is too much density for the lot.

Vicki McLaughlin said the three culverts on her property are already failing and she is concerned about fire access and the fire lane off Genko Way. She is also concerned about the wetland and asked for reports and permits relative to the wetlands and the project impact on the wetlands.

Paul Fawcett of 40 Chester Road was concerned about traffic and safety, and board member Jonathan Wood said a traffic study would have to be done by the developers.

Another abutter raised the issue of the impact from blasting on existing homes, and another again cited the impact of children from so many homes on the town's schools. Several abutters said the project would have a negative impact on the town mentality and Matthews said, "We hear you." Others also reiterated water quality, blasting and traffic and safety concerns and the impact on the schools.

Director of Community Development and Planning Ernie Creveling said, "No one will get 100 percent of what they want."

In response to one man's comment that the Master Plan does not support this development, Creveling pointed out the Master Plan is advisory only. However, the concerns about traffic, the fire access road, and the internal road being public or private must all be considered by the Planning Board, he said.

The board reviewed the main issues - roads, water, wetlands crossing, intersection safety, whether proposed internal roadways are adequate for fire and safety equipment to enter and turn around, whether they are private or public, the proposed community septic system, management of roads, and vernal pools and wildlife.

Given the responses from the developers, the concept design was deemed complete and after a discussion of the issues and the responses, the board decided to approve the developer’s moving forward with a formal application.

Creveling said there are no impact fees except as relate to the school district. He also said that there is no way to stop a development as long as it meets town regulations, has an approved site plan and meets all zoning requirements. He indicated that a traffic study to ensure traffic safety would be required, and engineering would have to be done to determine the water quality plan. Wetland impacts, permits and police and fire access would all have to be approved as well.

Creveling added that if the developer meets all regulations at all levels, local and state septic design requirements and the vernal pool regulation at the state and Federal level, the project could move forward and be approved.

Despite repeated attempts, no one responded for comment from Sterling Homes LLC and Long Beach Development Associates, LLC, both of Manchester, the developers. Sterling Homes previously built the Village at Stone Creek on Prescott Road in Raymond. Other developments are in Auburn, Epping and Chester.
















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