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XYZ DAIRY, LLC

23 SOUTH MAIN STREET, THIRD FLOOR HANOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE 03755 TELEPHONE: (603) 676-7800

October 21, 2011 Planning Board City of Lebanon 51 North Park Street Lebanon, NH 03766 Re: River Park Ladies and Gentlemen: This letter is in response to the PowerPoint presentation by David Brooks at the October 11, 2011 public hearing. XYZ Dairy was not given a copy of this presentation, labeled River Park, Draft Conditions of Approval, Recommended Traffic Mitigation in advance of the hearing and we are not sure if the materials were distributed to the Board in written format either. XYZ Dairy was provided a copy only after we went to City Hall and requested a copy of the materials introduced in the public record. Much of the discussion at the October 11, 2011 Planning Board meeting revolved around what constitutes fair and equitable traffic mitigation conditions. In addition to the Route 10 roadway improvements at the south and north intersections to River Park, improvements that were included in the June 11, 2010 formal site plan and subdivision applications and estimated to cost $500,000, XYZ Dairy offered an unrestricted cash payment of $200,000 for the City to use towards traffic mitigation measures to be implemented by the City as it sees fit. There is precedent for this approach given recent site plan approvals by the Planning Board. Moreover, XYZ believes $700,000 in developer funded traffic mitigation is generous, especially in light of the other public improvements assumed by River Park, not the least of which is private maintenance of River Park Drive and the complete rebuilding of Crafts Avenue. XYZ Dairy understands the desire of the Planning Board to have a consistent standard in imposing traffic mitigation standards. In our opinion, it is the responsibility of the City to develop those standards, to demonstrate their fairness, and to apply them consistently. Instead, the planning staff has apparently relied on a variety of approaches, effectively outsourcing the responsibility for traffic planning, traffic control, and traffic management to third party consultants that do not work for the City. It is no wonder that traffic mitigation in West Lebanon remains illusive given the adhoc nature of municipal oversight. During the October 11, 2011 hearing there was considerable discussion about the methodology used to impose traffic mitigation fees on other development projects. Several board members attempted to apply this approach on the fly, without benefit of reviewing the standards and methodology previously developed by staff. Unfortunately, XYZ was not afforded the opportunity to review this approach and it is now apparent that the staff does not intend to

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provide the written materials to the Board or the applicant in advance of the October 28, 2011 public meeting. Consequently, XYZ can only respond to the positions recommended by the staff in the PowerPoint presentation referenced above. The staff cites four bullet points as a preface to its draft conditions of approval. City staff recommends that the traffic mitigation requirements should be based on the Traffic Impact and Access Study prepared by Holden Transportation Engineering, dated August 17, 2010. This is more than mildly ironic since previously the staff has challenged the Holden study, most notably the origin of River Park traffic from the north and south projected by Holden. It should be noted that the Holden study concluded that all three intersections in West Lebanon (Main/Bridge; Main/Tracy; Main/12A/Maple) based on the assumptions mandated by NH DOT would deteriorate and fail regardless of the proposed development. This is hardly the rational nexus for requiring XYZ to fully fund all signal timing improvements. No other Traffic Impact Study has been submitted that complies with the standard traffic analysis conventions as set forth by the NH Department of Transportation. It is XYZs position that the City is the beneficiary of multiple traffic studies that generate data and a variety of recommendations for improving traffic flow in West Lebanon. We agree that the NH DOT is not consistent in defining uniform conditions for conducting the studies, which makes analysis of the conflicting studies difficult. However, it is not the responsibility of any individual applicant to conduct this comparative analysis; indeed, on several occasions various board members have requested this type of review and to the best of our knowledge it does not exist. On July 25, 2011 the NH DOT approved the Holden traffic analysis. According to the Holden traffic report, in 2014 the certain lane groups cited by staff will fail whether or not River Park is developed. In fact, unless the so-called Iron Horse project is developed, the only turning movement to fail will be the northbound left hand turn lane from Main Street to Bridge Street. By definition, cars making that turn are not coming to or from the River Park site. Staffs recommendation to require XYZ to fully fund these improvements lacks any rational nexus since the improvements are needed regardless of whether River Park is built or not. Nonetheless, XYZ has offered a $200,000 contribution towards improving traffic flows in West Lebanon. The VHB memorandum, dated September 29, 2010, indicates that the Holden study incorrectly overstates traffic, but did not re-analyze the transportation network nor provide alternative mitigation measures for the development based on revised traffic. XYZ Dairy has introduced three traffic studies regarding River Park to the Planning Board to assist the staff and the Board in analyzing traffic issues. Last summer city staff asked for a peer review of the Holden report, which the Planning Board agreed to and XYZ funded.
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Independently, XYZ funded a review of the Holden report, focusing on basic traffic volumes projected by Holden based on NH DOT mandated assumptions. XYZ did not control the scope of the Citys traffic study. Both the Citys peer reviewer, Vanasse & Associates and XYZs peer reviewer, VHB Associates, agreed that the projected traffic flows were overstated, potentially by as much as 30%! Neither peer review recalculated the full impact of this overstatement on the traffic network. However, doesnt it logically follow that less traffic would result in less traffic mitigation needed? It appears staff is now asking the Board to disregard the findings of its own peer review, which concluded that the traffic flows projected in the Holden study are mathematically overstated. If the Board is prepared to accept the Holden Study as submitted, then that Study should be the basis for all traffic mitigation requirements. It is XYZs position that the Holden study complies with the requirements of the Lebanon Zoning Ordinance and that it fulfills the obligation mandated by NH DOT, which formally accepted the study on July 25, 2011. The Holden study, however, is only part of the evidence submitted to the Board regarding traffic impacts caused by River Park. Only the Planning Board has the authority to impose conditions on XYZ regarding Site Plan approval. XYZ believes our offer to provide $200,000 to the City towards improving traffic in West Lebanon is reasonable. We do not dispute that XYZ is fully responsible for making the improvements to Route 10 at our south and north intersections since these improvements are necessary due to traffic expressly generated by River Park. The additional traffic mitigation measures recommended by the staff and presented to the Board on September 11, 2011 are not fair or reasonable. The Holden study (as well as numerous other traffic studies presented to the City) offered professional opinions about how to improve traffic in West Lebanon going forward, but it also demonstrated that those improvements would be required whether River Park was built or not. XYZ has offered to make a contribution toward these improvements, but the evidence before the Board clearly establishes they are not our responsibility alone. Sincerely,

David Clem

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