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Manchester aldermen keep alive 85-home development

MANCHESTER - A controversial land deal that could lead to the construction of 85 new homes in the northeast part of the city is still alive, after the aldermen voted to extend a purchase agreement with the developer.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 11-4 to extend the agreement with Keith Martel of Sterling Realty, first signed nearly two years ago, for another year-and-a-half.

The land, which sits between Smyth Road, Interstate 93 and Radburn Street off Wellington Hill Road, is owned by the city, the Diocese of Manchester and a small group of private owners.

The sale was supposed to net the city around $650,000 out of a total sale price of $1.7 million, but the developer hasn't been able to get all the necessary approvals for the subdivision, including from the aldermen.

One year ago, aldermen killed a proposed zoning change that would have allowed the developer to build on smaller lots.

Alderman Garth Corriveau said the aldermen were being too indulgent with the developer.

"I think it's great that we be a developer-friendly city, but I don't think we should be pushovers," he said.

Alderman Ron Ludwig represents Ward 2, where the project would be built.

"Not only does the project add a huge amount of homes, we're not in a place where we can add more kids," he said. "I hear again about the school district talking about the challenge of redistricting, but we just keep allowing more building to take place."

Those voting against extending the agreement were: Aldermen Ludwig, Corriveau, Dan O'Neil and Ed Osborne. Voting in favor were: Aldermen Roy, Tom Katsiantonis, Joyce Craig, Pat Long, Bill Shea, Phil Greazzo, Barbara Shaw, Patrick Arnold, Normand Gamache, Joe Kelly Levasseur, and Mayor Ted Gatsas.

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