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Sawmill Road development on its way

July 22, 2009
The Gilford Planning Board approved the McGinley Development proposal, under set conditions, after discussing the tentative plans at Monday night's meeting.

Jeffrey Lewis, from North Point Engineering, had requested a continuance on the proposal during the last meeting held June 15, when he realized the site map needed to be revised. On Monday, Lewis showed the board the revised site plan of the commercial cluster development, which would include three separate buildings for medical and professional offices on 22 Sawmill Road in the Professional Commercial Zone and the Aquifer Protection Overlay District.

Lewis explained that the property line was a concern since the revised building had to be pulled out.

"It's a two story building and we had to pull it out from the building because of the slope," he said. "The parking lot is now adjacent to the front of the building. We would have more room and could handle drainage. This would help us avoid waivers from regulations and the adjacent hotel's concerns."

The first building proposal mapped out about 14,780 square feet, while the new proposed building would be pulled out an additional 22 feet, over 47 more feet, said Lewis. He said the present dead-end parking lot near the building could then be connected to and circulate throughout the development.

Lewis noted that a recent site study showed a sewer line would need to be shifted, and parking spaces would need to be labeled. He would also be required to show a second propane tank in the building for the fire department. Lewis assured the board they would have enough room to do so.

"There's not anything too major. We can comply with setbacks," said Lewis.

The plan must be revised in accordance to the site setting, Town Planner John Ayer said.

Board member Jerry Gagnon brought up the issue of plowing in the winter months.

"There may be a problem with parking and snow removal because of the curves at the end of the parking lot. These are loops. It'd be better if the curves were straight," said Gagnon.

Lewis agreed with the importance to "internalize the landscaping" and balance the parking lot with efficiency and aesthetics.

"It would also be important to consider traffic control," added selectman representative Kevin Hayes.

"We do have a standard for landscape islands," said Ayer who explained that there could be no more than 30 parking spaces without a landscape buffer.

"I like the idea," Lewis said. "It might be better than nose-to-nose parking."

There are also required standards when it comes to unfinished phases in construction, said Ayer, such as seeding "disturbed" unfinished land and retaining the soil. The board clarified that only disturbed land, not undisturbed land would need seeding for aesthetic purposes during construction, until another phase is ready to begin.

Gagnon pointed out that concrete walkways may pose an issue as well.

"Does it have to be concrete?" he asked. "Places are having a lot of problems, concrete has been breaking up."

Ideally, Lewis's team would have liked to asphalt, but Lewis said that the cement sidewalk ties into the proposed parking lot.

"You know you will have some problems with that," said Gagnon.

After more decision on granite curbing and other solutions that may not harbor so much salt and sand, Chairman Polly Sanfacon closed the public hearing.

Board member Richard Sonia moved to approve the applicants revised site map for the proposed development under the conditions that each unfinished phase of the development be seeded until ready for the next phase during construction.

Lewis estimated that the second layer of asphalt needed before the development could begin would be long done by next spring and the project, if all goes according to plan, could be on its way.

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