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Londonderry turns down developer who seeks Perkins Road complex

Union Leader Correspondent

November 18. 2012 11:23PM

LONDONDERRY - The developer who wants to build a 240-unit apartment complex on Perkins Road has 30 days to appeal the zoning board's decision to deny all three of the variances he requested.

Should Tom Monahan succeed in an appeal, he'd still have to get final approval from the planning board before any building can commence.

Monahan, who attended the meeting Thursday night with project engineer Jason Leonard, had hoped for a variance reducing the number of workforce housing units from 75 percent to 50 percent; a variance to exceed the town's limits on maximum number of housing units per square mile; and a variance to allow 24 units per building - eight more than the town's current limit.

The board heard vocal opposition from many of the project's neighbors during the four-hour public hearing.

Board member Larry O'Sullivan said he felt making exceptions to the town's rules would set a dangerous precedent.

O'Sullivan also wondered how such a project might affect traffic, public safety and the local schools.

"I don't want to discourage workforce housing in town, but I want more information," he said.

Project Engineer Jason Leonard argued the proposed changes were necessary to keep the project "economically viable." He said there's a high demand for affordable housing in Londonderry.

Rental rates for the apartments had been estimated at $1,100 per month.

"The spirit here is to provide affordable rental housing," said Leonard. "I believe this is the only rental project proposed in Londonderry for some time."

Leonard hinted that this probably wouldn't be the end of the road for Monahan.

"We may have to go back and change some things," he said. "We don't have to get workforce housing here, but that is the goal. But right now, we can't see how to do this without the variances."

Perkins Road resident Alice McArdle said she objected to the project, which she believed would generate more traffic.

"This density request would drastically change the character of our neighborhood," she said. "I urge the board to deny the request for increasing density."

Her neighbor, Brian Micciche agreed.

"I'm not against workforce housing, but we have rules and you guys need to set an example for our community," he told the board.

Resident Jill Moss said she worried more vehicles driving through her neighborhood would "create a safety issue." She said she's concerned the road would ultimately have to be widened.

"Everyone agrees development is unavoidable," Perkins Road resident Heather Anderson added. "But what's best for the developer is not necessarily what's best for the town."

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