Derry boards work to make town office basement usable

By Bruce Frauman
© 2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Londonderry Select Board moved forward in its town office planning project during a special joint meeting with members of the Planning Commission on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

Twitchell building showing rear

Londonderry’s Twitchell Office Building showing a basement entrance. Photo by Bruce Frauman.

The goal of the project is to end up with “a building that will work,” said Planning Commission member Larry Gubb. This includes managing a moisture problem in the basement, making the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and turning the basement into usable office space.

Marble Valley Engineering was hired to analyze the building and grounds and propose solutions to meet those goals. The initial phase of the project is to focus on draining ground water away from the building and preparing the grounds for the actual building renovation.

Attendees discussed the two walkways proposed to connect the downstairs doors to the upper parking lot. At least one walkway is required to be accessible to wheelchair users for egress during an emergency.

C002 - CONST_Site Plan_10scale_30%

The plan showing two solutions for a basement entrance in the Twitchell Office Building. The portion labelled 4B is the “loop” that the select board is currently considering.

One proposed walkway would lead from the door facing the town garage up around to the front building parking lot. Another would be a loop to the door facing east. This carries a higher price tag, but disturbs far less lawn area.

The loop walkway could impinge on a Class II wetland area that Rebecca Chalmers of the Agency of Natural Resources’ wetlands staff says exists on the property. Since she is unavailable until Aug. 22, Steffanie Bourque of Maple Valley suggested in an email that the board contract with Dori Barton of Arrowwood Environmental to do a wetlands determination.

The board passed a motion to inquire about the cost of a wetland delineation by Arrowwood Environmental and “get the determination done.”

Concerns about cost, “tearing up” the front lawn and difficulties in clearing snow from the proposed front walkway led Select Board member Paul Gordon to move to consider the proposed loop walkway option. This passed unanimously.

Gubb said the path of this walkway could be adjusted by Maple Valley if the determination is made that it is in a wetland. He also said during the meeting that a lift will be required for the building to make it ADA compliant.

Gubb said the estimated cost of the whole project is $532,769.

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