One of the many new subivisions that the Planning Board has reviewed in recent months is the Woodside Condos Retirement Community, a 14-unit, seven-duplex project on an 11-acre property located at Gray and Swett roads. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — Members of the Planning Board expressed their dislike for proposed impact fees when they met Monday night, with members saying the suggested fees are too low.

The board also reviewed plans for a 46-unit subdivision on Briarwood Lane and a 4.8-acre mineral extraction operation on Maysens Way.

The proposed amendments to the land use ordinance were developed by the Long Range Planning Committee, which was asked by the Town Council last week to develop recommendations on impact fees to pay for open space. Windham has been considering impact fees as one way to help address over-development in town.

The fees would go toward open space and other recreation areas for the public. Under the proposed changes, a single-family home would have an impact fee between $303 and $580, depending on the number of bedrooms. There would also be impact fees for attached or multifamily housing or accessory apartments, as well as mobile homes in a mobile home park.

Planning Director Amanda Lessard said at the meeting that the fee amounts need to be reasonable and defensible: “It needs to be this quantifiable method that shows what the direct relationship is between new growth in your community as it relates to a specific capital improvement and what that growth impact on that infrastructure may be.”

Planning Board Chairman David Douglass felt the fee amounts were too low. “It’s nothing. I just feel like it doesn’t go far enough.”

He proposed a fee of $1 per square foot.

Vice Chairman Keith Elder agreed, saying, “I hate impact fees. The town should be addressing this through its tax base and doing it in that manner. I’m not for any impact fee.”

“It isn’t a silver bullet. This is meant to be a start,” Lessard said.

“I think it’s just another tax you’re putting on the consumer,” said Planning Board member Colin Swan. “You can call it anything, but it doesn’t make any sense to me.” 

The Planning Board took no action on the impact fee recommendations Monday.

Multiple residents also spoke Monday against the 18-acre subdivision on Briarwood Lane, which is called Belvedere Commons.

“There are too many units being planned in this very small area,” said Nancy Godin. “There are resulting problems from all of that crowding.”

“It is excessive,” said Katherine Stetson-Reed.

The developer, Dustin Roma of DM Roma Consulting Engineers, said he will resubmit a plan for the project in the future. The project first came before the board in September.

The board also reviewed a mineral extraction operation, located on an 19-acre parcel on Maysens Way, which first came before the board in September.

The application was incomplete regarding some necessary submission items. The board made recommendations regarding signage and dust control. Roma will resubmit a plan for the project in the future.

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