Debate in Bow over 34-home development proposal

Monitor staff
Published: 4/14/2019 7:20:42 PM

A proposed 34-house development in Bow is in the planning process while drawing opposition from area neighbors concerned about the environmental impact and density of the development.

The developer, Greg Gardner, brought his proposal to the planning board in July seeking to subdivide the 130-acre area into 34 lots. In the months since, the plan has been tweaked to meet the planning board’s requirements while drawing more members of the public to weigh in.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled to continue during a planning board meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at the town offices.

The subdivision calls for the construction of 5,232 feet of new roads, including a cul-de-sac off Bow Bog Road for eight houses. The other road project would be extending Smokey Road north and then south east to loop back down to Nesbitt Road, creating a neighborhood that would include 23 lots.

The lots for the new homes would range in size from 2 acres to ¾ of an acre. An open space parcel and recreation parcel are included in the proposal.

The development would be the town’s largest in at least a decade, said Town Manager David Stack.

Kristen Cook, whose property on Smokey Road abuts both the proposed cul-de-sac and property on the Smokey Road extension, said the project would take away from the area’s “rural feel” and runs against the town’s master plan.

“Bow is very rural and it’s just not what the master plan and community is about,” Cook said, who is helping to organize a petition against the plan.

Opponents of the plan say they are not against new developments in town but have expressed concerns about the number of homes as well as an increase in traffic and a strain on the area’s water supply.

Cook said she and her neighbors aren’t against a development altogether. She said they’d be more open to a plan with half the number of houses sitting on larger lots.

“The lots are tiny, as many as they can fit,” she said. “If they wanted to put a nice, winding road in with some big open lots and open spaces, I’m sure they wouldn’t have as much opposition.”

The development would go into an area identified by Fish and Game as a highly ranked wildlife habitat based on ecological condition. The property contains multiple vernal pools and several wetland areas. Gardner is seeking a conditional use permit for 5,985 square feet of wetlands and 32,091 square feet of wetland buffers.

The property abuts Knox Forest and Cook said several homes would be visible from Boulder Trail.

Gardner, who also lives in the immediate area of the development, hired McCourt Engineering Associates in Henniker to oversee the project. Jennifer McCourt, the engineer working with Gardner, has attended several planning board meetings in recent months presenting revised plans to meet the directions of the board, according to meeting minutes.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3321, or on Twitter @NickStoico.)


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