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Author Topic: LT - Workforce Housing Project Looks for Additional Units  (Read 824 times)
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« on: November 02, 2012, 06:12:50 AM »

From the Londonderry Times

Workforce Housing Project Looks for Additional Units

Jay Hobson
Londonderry Times

The controversial issue of workforce housing was back at the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), with a proposal presented for rental housing on Perkins Road. In addition, the proposal was made with a request to increase the number of housing units per building - a component of the controversy that surrounded an earlier workforce housing request on Stonehenge Road.

Attorney Thomas Leonard opened his remarks by requesting that three items on the agenda be heard at the same time. “There is a lot of common information on each of the requests and rather than repeat it on each one, if we could take them all together I think it would be more efficient,” Leonard said a last week’s meeting.
First on the agenda was a petition requesting a variance to “allow project phasing to exceed the maximum number of dwelling units limited by ordinance section and to provide relief from building permit restrictions under section” Second was a request for a variance to “allow a reduction in the number of workforce housing units from 75 percent as required by section to 50 percent.
“allow 24 dwelling units in a multi-family building where a maximum of 16 units is permitted by section” and including a variance from the dimensional relief criteria of section”
Leonard was allowed to treat all the variance petitions at one time. After handing out a box of information to each board member, Leonard began his presentation as a dozen or so residents listened closely. Some chuckled audibly as points were made that residents disagreed with.
Leonard represents Alfred Wallace, Henry Wallace and Harold Wallace of 62 Perkins Road as well as the VanSteensburg Family Trust and Leo and Melanie VanSteensburg, trustees of 48 Perkins Road, who wish to sell their neighboring properties to Tom Monihan. He wants to develop the property into workforce housing rental units. “Basically we are proposing a use that is allowed by right,” Leonard said.
permitted use, the density is permitted, but what our proposal is, is that we have ten 24-unit buildings where there is a restriction that sets the number of residential units within a building to 16, and perhaps can be increased to 20. We’re asking for 24. That’s one variance.
“The other variance is there are phasing rules that apply,” he explained. “They’re a little bit confusing when they’re applied to a building such as this, but it looks like a maximum of two buildings would be allowed per year - that would be a five-year phasing. We are asking for a three-year phasing. Right now you have growth restriction ordinances that are not in place. It has not become effective for the last few years because there’s no growth and there’s no permits.”
He also requested that the ordinance provision calling for 75 percent of the rental units at workforce pricing be waived to 50 percent. When asked by a board member if the zoning board were the appropriate venue, Leonard said it was zoning that had the 16 unit ceiling.
“We’re looking for a decision to go from 16 (units per building) to 24 without having to go to the planning board, but we are going to go through the conditional use process,” Leonard said.
Board member Larry O’Sullivan told Leonard that for several years the town talked “meeting after meeting with people all over town - builders and developers - and 16 was our compromise. It was going to be 10, I believe,” O’Sullivan said. “Basically it’s zoning that says 16 and that’s why we’re asking for a variance,” Leonard said.
Leonard said the changes were sought because there would be cost hardship in building the properties under the current phasing rules and with 75 percent of the renters paying reduced workforce housing rents.
Leonard also raised the possibility of litigation if the situation couldn’t be remedied through town channels. The proposed project would be called Wallace Farm and the location of the properties are along the western edge of Interstate 93 at exit 5 and the east side of Perkins Road. The Sleep Inn motel is to the north and Vista View Condominiums are to the west.
The board unanimously voted to continue the hearing until its next meeting on Nov. 5, “given the amount of information” that each member had to go through.

Glenn Douglas
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