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Manchester board won't make decision on disputed alley access.

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 27. 2013 11:34PM

MANCHESTER — There is one less party involved in a dispute over access rights to a stretch of alley running between South Elm and Willow streets.The Board of Aldermen took itself out of the decision, voting this month to dismiss petitions from a developer asking the city to shut down several small sections of streets and clear the way for a project that would add housing and new business to a commercial and industrial area south of downtown.

Some owners of properties adjacent to the parcels where Ron Dupont wants to build objected, noting some of the side streets criss-crossing the old buildings are used for parking and delivery zones.

Aldermen tabled the petitions in June, urging both sides to negotiate an arrangement that never came together before the petitions came back up before the Board at its meeting Oct. 15.

Instead of deciding for or against, a majority of the board voted to dismiss the petitions altogether because it was unclear whether the aldermen or a court was the proper authority.

"I'm not sure where we're going to go from here," Dupont said Saturday. "The decision of the board was the decision. I don't really want to comment on it one way or the other."While the decision leaves Dupont's project in a bit of limbo, it was not necessarily a setback.

His petitions filed in January had already stalled several times in the City Hall chambers. Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur, an attorney, recommended the dismissal to his colleagues during the Oct. 15 meeting, saying any decision the board made would be challenged in court anyway.

The area across Elm Street from the new Market Basket is viewed as a prime spot for redevelopment that could connect north and south blocks of Elm Street. The Elliot at River's Edge already stands at the south end and a new liquor store across the parking lot is underway.

Attorneys representing two of the neighboring properties and one on behalf of Dupont appeared before the board at the meeting.

"We want to see the city developed as well," said attorney Linda Connell, who represents neighboring property owners George and Phyllis Zioze. "We share that interest. We're really trying to relieve some complexity here."

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