Wilton Planning Board discusses cluster plan

  • The Wilton Planning Board meets to discuss subdivsion proposals at Florence Rideout Elementary School. STAFF PHOTO BY JOSH LACAILLADE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/20/2022 12:49:18 PM

Since 2018, Aria Hill, LLC, and Talisman Properties have been working to develop a 37-acre lot on McGettigan Road in Wilton into a cluster development of nine homes plus 20 acres of common land.

The lots would vary in size, ranging from one acre to approximately seven acres. During a public hearing at Florence Rideout Elementary School Thursday, Planning Board members expressed concerns about the buffer that separates the subdivision and the neighboring homes, requiring a 52 1/2-foot setback between the properties at the southern border. The board also voted to require Aria Hill to plant 25 deciduous and 25 evergreen trees that were originally destroyed during the development of the test pit to restore the buffer.

Board members also expressed concerns about the steep roads that run adjacent to the property at a 45-degree angle, and requested that the developer fix the roads so they are at approximately a 20-degree slope.

“We just want traction and stable roads,” said Planning Board member Shannon Coffey.

Board members requested that the developers grant public access to the 20 acres of common land, which Tom Quinn, the attorney for the developers, said is the main issue between the board members and Aria Hill and Talisman Properties.

“The developer has not allowed public access, but the board wants to see public access,” said Quinn.

The board will discuss the proposal further July 20.

Buffer continues to be issue

Planning board members also discussed a proposed plan from Better Built Homes and Roger Chappell, LLC, to subdivide the 20-acre property at 304 Gibbons Highway into 18 single-family homes. Since January 2021, investors from Better Built Homes have been looking to build 18 homes on the lot. However, board members expressed concerns about the repeated requests to adjust the buffer that surrounds sensitive wetland area and the Souhegan River.

“It’s disappointing you haven’t accepted any of our concerns,” said Select Board representative Matthew Fish. “You don’t seem willing to debate, assess or modify your points.”

Coffey shared similar sentiments.

“Each and every time you continue to not understand, when does it stop?” said Coffey. “Just because it’s not feasible for you doesn’t mean we can get you access.”

In an interview on Thursday, Matthew Arel of Better Built Homes said there is a lack of understanding between the board and the developers.

“We are trying to work through the process and accommodate [the board’s] needs to get this approved,” said Arel. “I look forward to next meeting and I’m hoping to come to an understanding.”

Caleb Cheng, a planner with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, said the process is far from over. 

“The board agrees this is not a complete plan,” said Cheng.

The board is set to continue the discussion July 20.

In another matter, Dale White from Souhegan Waterfalls LLC requested an extension permit to continue being the gravel pit operator on Route 31. An inspection of the property was conducted and recommended for renewal. The board unanimously voted 7-0 in favor to extend the  gravel pit operator permit.


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