This neighborhood doesn’t want a natural gas pipeline

To the Editor:

I would like to thank you for relaying comments from Amherst Selectman John D’ Angelo to the public in recent Cabinet articles. It was reported that Mr. D’Angelo said that the former route proposed for the NED pipeline that came up from Hollis along route 122 would have been fine and could have supplied gas to Bon Terrain Industrial Park. And you highlighted a quote from the selectman as follows “Let’s put it somewhere we can live with.”

Well, I can tell you that the residents of the rural residential zone in Ponemah, who are fond of saying “we live on the other side of the tracks in Amherst” don’t want to live with it and don’t think that the former proposal was fine. Down here, “Bon Terrain” is considered to be an oxymoron of the first rank. The owners bulldozed off the topsoil on this property long ago and filled in a stream to get more land to develop. The result looked more like the Sahara than a part of Amherst. This also further exposed the town’s aquifer to which Bon Terrain is a prime recharge area. Later they proposed a by-pass of Route 101A from South Nashua where they were building a large housing development that had its first exit at Bon Terrain. If this had been implemented the small Ponemah rural residential zone in Amherst would have been destroyed. We had to organize citizens from four towns to stop that from happening.

In the recent local election, the citizens of Amherst turned down a warrant article proposed by the same owners of Bon Terrain. If passed, it would have changed the zoning for a 15-acre lot adjacent to Bon Terrain from residential to industrial. Around the same time, a gentleman was canvassing Ponemah to get residents to sign a petition supporting the construction of a gas-fired electric power generation plant in Bon Terrain. Small electric power generation plants could be used to serve expansion of industry within Bon Terrain. They are also a common feature of compressor plants for large, high pressure gas pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s NED. Fortunately, Amherst citizens turned down the warrant article.

The Amherst Selectmen are now promoting and discussing an alternate plan with Kinder Morgan and Merrimack that only goes through Ponemah and along the tracks into Merrimack. I am reminded of a recent letter penned by Amherst state Rep. Peter Hansen. Mr. Hansen was observing that the Amherst town officials don’t seem to be that concerned with the needs of outlying sections of the town and specifically mentioned The Acre and Ponemah.

Amherst’s Master Plan talks a lot about preserving the rural nature of the town, but the rural residential zone in Ponemah doesn’t seem to be included in that definition.