Stoddards seek to build storage units at old chapel

The former St. Joseph’s Chapel. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

On Monday, Edgar and Susan Stoddard had signed the papers closing on the former St. Joseph Chapel. By Wednesday, they were appearing before the Londonderry Development Review Board asking for a change of use permit for the former chapel on High Street, off Route 100.

The building had not been used as a church for about two years, according to Edgar Stoddard.

Edgar Stoddard speaks with the DRB about their intent.

Stoddard told the DRB he would like to turn the building into storage units by adding stud walls on the inside and aluminum siding and overhead doors to the outside.

Down the road, he said, he would also like to construct more buildings for storage on the approximately 2-1/2 acre site, which sits on a hill between between Route 100 and Hells Peak Road and overlooks the Mill Tavern.

Board co-chair Esther Fishman said this would require a conditional use permit.

Stoddard also said he is saving a 20 x 14 foot section of the building for a possible bottle redemption center. Fishman said for the building to hold storage units and a redemption center requires a mixed use permit that is more complicated than a conditional use permit.

Esther Fishman tells Stoddard he will need to apply for conditional use and, possibly mixed use permits.

Stoddard said he was hoping to get approval Wednesday evening, but Fishman said a public hearing must be scheduled first, giving him time to decide whether or not to add the possible redemption center to his plans.

That public hearing will take place at the next DRB meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday May 16. Fishman told The Telegraph the board suggested “a few things (Stoddard) needed to do to make his application complete.”

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  1. Barre Pinske says:

    If this story is written correctly which I’m guessing it is it shows an incredible level of naivety on the part of Mr. Stoddard.

    To think you can walk into a DRB meeting with out knowing the rules or having a complete application and walk out with a permit seems odd to me. I’m not saying that to be critical it’s just an observation.

    A good friend, realtor or lawyer should have told him of these hurdles and suggested a purchase pending permitting contract to mitigate his risk. With zoning today there is a need for people with permit process skills to help people like Mr. Stoddard and that person does not need to be a high priced lawyer.

    He obviously has a clear vision, and the drive to Get-R-Done as his hat says but that has nothing to do with zoning and permitting. If people fight the project he will be delayed and or be stuck with the building not being able to do his intended purpose. Delays mean cash out lay with out return on investment if that drags on that is a problem. I wish him luck.

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