The Keene Sentinel Tuesday, September 18, 2007
by Sarah Palermo
A plan to put an 80 bedroom condominium community on Franklin Mountain was unanimously rejected by the Winchester Planning Board Monday night.
Proposed in March by Robert Vandyke of Rindge, the development would have sat off of Route 10 just south of Westport Village Road.
The motion to dismiss Vandykes application for 32 condo units and a community center came after more than two hours of discussion between the board, the public and Vandykes engineer - and a brief intermission caused by a fire alarm at town hall.
When the vote was announced, the nearly 20 residents in attendance erupted in applause.\
Board member Jack D. Marsh Jr., who moved to deny the application, cited excessive slope of the property, the inadequacies of community resources, such as transportation and emergency services to handle such an increase in population and the failure of the developer to preserve the existing features of the property -- the plans called for cutting trees and filling streams.
Vandyke did not attend the meeting and could not be reached for comment today.
Several Winchester residents and Silas B Little 3rd, a lawyer retained by two abutters, questioned the layout of the wells and septic systems, the storm-drainage plans and the possible increase in schools aged children and demand on the town's municipal resources.
Ultimately; however the issue that brought the most comments was not included in the motion to deny.
Five residents with homes near the proposed site said they were concerned the projects high demand for water in an area of town where there have already been problomatic wells could cause their own water supply to run dry.
After making the motion to deny, Marsh explained he had purposely omitted that complaint, anticipating Vandyke will appeal the decision.
'I didn't include the problems with the wells in the motion in case of a suit and appeal. The state of New Hampshire does not recognize any studies showing that a new well might make an old one down the road run dry," marsh said.
Planning Board Chairman Magaret A Sharra twice recommended the board wait until next meeting to decide and board member Kenneth A Cole also anticipates a court battle over the denial.
Marsh acknowledged Cole's fears had merit saying, ": the objections I made come right out of our regulations. No matter when it happens, if we deny this, we're probably going to have to go to court."
Sarah Palermo can be reached at 352-1234. extension 1436, or firstname.lastname@example.org