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Zoning board approves Highland Croft leveling


May 19, 2010
LITTLETON—With the leveling of the Highland Croft knoll approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), the project moves on to the Planning Board next.

Dick Gould, of Bethlehem, and one of the owners of the 43-acre property through Houston-Littleton LLC, said he was pleased by the ZBA's decision.

"We believe they ruled correctly and think they addressed the major points," Gould said.

Houston-Littleton plans on blasting roughly 70 feet off the top of the knoll, removing between 1.1 and 1.5 million cubic yards of ledge. This would be done through blasting and would be a laborious process. It would take between three and five years to level the site, which would be needed to put a large retail store or plaza on.

The location has been proposed for years as the next site in Littleton for large commercial development and has been described by Eddy Moore, the ZBA chairman, as the last frontier for economic development in Littleton. The knoll was once the location for the historic Highland Croft lodge, which burned down in May 2008.

At last week's meeting, concerns were raised that blasting would affect nearby runoff and water supply.

The runoff from that knoll feeds Dells Brook, which in turn in feeds the wetlands at the Dells and the Ammonoosuc River.

These issues were raised during an informal meeting of the Planning Board last year. The area where blasting would be done is an area designated by Littleton Water and Light as being key to the town water supply—the Brickyard Wellhead Protective Area.

Gould said there is no tenant for the location but that in order to get one, a sizeable investment must be made to clear the land to attract a large retailer. In the past, several national chains looked at the site.

The project goes before the Planning Board on June 8 where an excavation permit must be sought.

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