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Candia Road housing pushed, raising traffic concerns

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 14. 2014 10:07PM
Rush hour traffic is shown near the Dunkin' Donuts on Candia Road in Manchester on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — A developer wants to build at least 95 — and as many as 128 — apartments off a gridlocked stretch of Candia Road, prompting concerns about worse traffic on a road already shared by an interstate interchange, entrances to two fast-food restaurants and workers at a nearby industrial park.

A developer has asked the Manchester Zoning Board of Adjustment for the go-ahead to build on a vacant 10-acre parcel immediately south of the Dunkin’ Donuts at 855 Candia Road.

Last week, the zoning board gave the developer a month to study traffic along Candia Road before the board considers a variance. Many members of the zoning board expressed skepticism.

“I know how bad it is there, I have coffee there three to four times a week,” said zoning board Chairman William Bevelaqua. “This is only compounding it.”

On a daily basis, 18,000 cars traveled the road in 2013, according to data compiled by the Southern New Hamsphire Regional Planning Commission.

An engineer representing the developer said the city can expect the apartments will generate fewer than 60 cars during rush hour.

“There’ll be delays, there’ll be queues, but they would not be very significant,” said the engineer, Bob Duval.

The owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts, Constance G. Scrivanos, is the developer. His Dunkin’ Donuts driveway would serve as the entrance to the apartment development.

Scrivanos wants to build five three-story buildings. Plans call for a pool, a clubhouse and 302 parking spaces.

Scrivanos’ lawyer, John Cronin, said city zoning laws allow him to build 96 apartment units without a variance. He said Scrivanos could build three- and four- bedroom apartments, which would have a larger impact on traffic and schools.

But Scrivanos prefers to build 128 one- and two-bedroom apartments for professionals and empty nesters. Those apartments would have less impact, but he needs a variance.

“As a matter of right ... we could have at least 300 and as many as 400 bedrooms on that parcel. That’s not our goal,” he said.

The zoning board delayed a decision for a month, with Bevelaqua taking the unusual step of telling Cronin to prepare a traffic study. Bevelaqua said traffic is at issue in this case.

Cronin said Scrivanos intends to respond to the questions raised by the zoning board, including traffic. But he said the planning board usually requires a traffic study.

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