WINDHAM — Debate over plans to build a 93,000-square-foot self-storage facility on Ledge Road will continue into a fourth year after a recent order from the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
According to the state’s highest court, the plan should be reviewed again at the local level.
In June 2018, Windham planning officials were approached with a proposal from PPI Enterprises to clear eight of the parcel’s 45 acres to develop a parking lot and three-story building.
Planning board members denied it after seven public hearings, noting that the plan did not meet a zoning ordinance that mentions the area’s health and general welfare.
Board members and abutters of the property in particular recall a 2006 construction nightmare in the same spot. Opponents have been vocal on the subject at public meetings.
When blasting began 15 years ago, nearby wells cracked, the air was polluted with crushed gravel, and water running from faucets revealed itself as contaminated rust. Officials stepped in and eventually stopped the project.
PPI Project Engineer Tom Burns, well aware of the property’s loathed past, brought the board a plan that involves several weak blasts to do what a few stronger ones could complete.
The developer would need to bring in a blasting company to do that work, increasing the expense, so it was in his best interest to keep blasting to a minimum as well, Burns explained.
Still, residents do not want the area disturbed.
"This is not theoretical, 'If they do this, these things might happen,'" resident Joanne Vignos said at one meeting. "It happened before. Same site. Same residences. We know what happens when they blast here. Wells get fouled. When they crush stone, air quality diminishes. This is tried and true."
It was not immediately known when the Windham board will discuss the plan again.