Chesterfield board tables vote on Old Spofford Hall land


CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- The town's zoning board of adjustment voted to table until next month any further discussion of a proposal to put a unit cluster subdivision on land along Spofford Lake.

Board members deliberated the proposal, as well as another unrelated one, until the late night hours of Tuesday's meeting before deciding to continue the conversation on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

Development Consultant Jim Phippard, of Brickstone Land Use Consultants, and attorney William C. Saturley, of Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios LLP, were present earlier this week on behalf on Nine A LLC, which owns the property in question. Saturley said it would be a 30-acre project, with six acres on one side of Route 9A and the rest on the other.

Phippard said Nine A LLC, which he told the Reformer is made up of the children and grandchildren of John Chakalos, the previous owner, owns several lots of land that made up the property.

"The reason we're before you tonight is we want to propose the creation of a five-lot cluster subdivision for five single-family houselots. We're not proposing to build houses, we're not proposing to construct buildings of any kind," he said. "We're proposing to create a subdivision on a small private roadway with five residential lots around it on 30 acres of land designated as a cluster subdivision.

"The intent," he added, "is to build a private roadway, meeting the town's specifications for a roadway, that will be approximately 400 feet long and end in a cul-de-sac and this will provide access from (Route) 9A.

Phippard said the five property owners would share ownership and responsibility of the end road. He said the owners would also like to install an on-site gravity sewer system that brings sewage away from the lake and into a pump station. Current assessment of the property, which is mostly land, is $1.6 million and the owners are paying the taxes on everything.

The land also consists of Old Spofford Hall, which Phippard said is nearly 100,000 square feet in size.

"The building is completely out of character for the property," he said.

Phippard said the structure was used as a rehabilitation center in the 1990s, when it was discontinued and leased out for another five years. He said the building is "essentially toxic and uninhabitable," as it is filled with Stachybotrys, or black mold. Phippard told board members the estimated cost of cleaning out and rebuilding the hall in 2006 was around $1.1 million, but that price has probably increased since then.

"A lot of work has been done to clean up all the debris and the damage," he said. "The building has been badly vandalized. Vandals have stolen as much of the copper as they can find in the building -- they've ripped out wires, they've torn down ceilings and insulation ... in order to get the copper."

He said the cost of demolition and asbestos abatement would likely be about $300,000 -- or closer to $500,000 if the foundation slab, sewer water treatment plant and an adjacent parking area are also removed.

During the public hearing portion of Tuesday's meeting, resident Jeff Foster said soil on the leachfields, which take the contaminated water from the sewer water plant, has gotten so bad it is not possible to walk on them any more.

Anthony Martini, who lives at Lake Spofford Cabins, said his property is directly across from the leachfield and has suffered tremendous erosion. He said he is concerned about additional damage if a unit cluster subdivision on the land.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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