City to conserve 270 acres in Broken Ground area
East Concord residents won’t have to fight any more development proposals on some of the wooded land on Portsmouth Street and Curtisville Road. The city council voted last night to purchase and conserve about 270 acres.
The city will bond $975,000 from the conservation trust fund to buy the property. The conservation commission will also pay $50,000 from the forestry trust fund, in place of allowing the current owners to hold a one-time timber sale.
Several East Concord residents spoke in favor of the conservation purchase.
“Concord is more than bricks and mortar, it’s green space,” said resident Claudia Rein. “And we need the green space.”
The land, part of Concord’s Broken Ground area, includes woods, steep slopes and wetlands where residents hike, hunt and snowshoe.
Neighbors have long fought development in the Broken Ground area. The 270-acre parcel that the city is now buying was most recently slated to hold a road and 87 homes, known as the Whispering Heights development. The planning board approved the project in 2008, but the property owners did not find a developer to build the homes.
The city’s legal department is negotiating a purchase and sales agreement with the owners of the three parcels of land: Brian and Larry Bollinger and the Links Realty Trust.
Other development proposals have failed in the larger Broken Ground area, including Barry Stem’s plan in the 1980s for 400 homes, a golf course and fitness club, and a 1993 plan to build an office park and conserve the remaining land. Hampton investor William Hoag still owns hundreds of undeveloped acres in the Broken Ground area.
Underground on S. Main
Utilities will be buried on South Main Street during the renovation of Main Street.
The city council voted last night to bond $2.5 million from the Sears Block Tax Increment Finance District to pay for the utility project.
Utilities will be moved underground between the Capital Commons building and the Capitol Center for the Arts.
Board members of the Capitol Center for the Arts urged the council last month to extend the underground utilities through their site. That extension would add about $1.5 million to the project cost, said City Manager Tom Aspell.
Also during the Main Street project, Aspell will have the authority to change parking regulations. The council voted last night to give him that ability during construction, which will begin next month.
The Concord Municipal Airport is one step closer to having a new taxiway. The council last night appropriated $1.2 million for the first phase of the project.
The federal government will cover 90 percent of the
costs, with the state and city governments each contributing 5 percent. The project
will create a taxiway parallel
to an existing taxiway –
a feature required by
Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Also last night, the council appropriated nearly $79,000 for new lights and mounts to make the airport’s localizer comply with safety regulations. The federal government will also cover 90 percent of that amount.