Money for parking study a waste
To the editor:
Why is the Town of Peterborough deceiving the public and the developer regarding the environmental feasibility of a parking lot behind the GAR Hall? Monies do not have to be appropriated ($80,000 or $10,000) by taxpayers to do any preliminary assessments regarding the likelihood of the N.H. Department of Environmental Services issuing environmental permits. Pre-consultation meetings with DES for any project, large or small, are free and strongly encouraged, prior to incurring costly engineering and design fees. It just takes scheduling an appointment in Concord at DES and the cost of gas to drive there.
The proposed parking lot behind Petersons and the GAR Hall is fully within Shoreland Protection (250’) and the floodplain of two state and federally protected rivers: Nubanusit and Contoocook. The parking lot proposed is all new development and impact in an environmentally sensitive area; not redevelopment of an existing impervious surface area. The feasibility of DES granting any waivers to the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act (RSA 483-B), which this project would require, or waivers for Alteration of Terrain (RSA 485-A:17) for filling in a floodplain, might be non-negotiable. This is especially true when alternatives exist that would not impact an environmentally sensitive area.
Municipalities are not exempt from meeting state regulations and obtaining DES permits. So whether it is a private parking lot or a public parking lot is irrelevant. The location of the parking lot and the land that will be altered and the two protected rivers that will be impacted is relevant. Protecting the public interest, public waters and public funds, should not be put on any ballot. And it certainly shouldn’t be an $80,000 question.