Proposed elderly apartment complex clears zoning hurdle in LondonderryBy APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent
July 17. 2014 10:41PM
LONDONDERRY — A proposal to build a 110-unit senior citizen apartment complex off Route 102 was given the green light by the zoning board Wednesday night.
Project officials can now return to the planning board to finalize their plans.
The apartment community is the third elder services-related facility to be brought forth in Londonderry in recent months,
The new complex will be located around the corner from a separate assisted living facility that’s still in conceptual stages. Across town, plans for a large nursing home are currently under review by the state.
Following a lengthy discussion Wednesday night, the board unanimously agreed to allow variances to several of the town’s zoning ordinances for the apartment complex.
The granted variances will allow for the community to be built on the 12.72 acre parcel on Button and Golen drives, which is within the Route 102 Performance Overlay district.
Though the town typically caps the number of housing units at 16 per building, the board agreed that in this case they’d allow three buildings to be built containing 32, 26 and 42 units, respectively, which is an average of 8.6 units per acre.
Under the variances, the three buildings will be separated by 30-foot sections, which is half the length of the town’s usual separation length. Project officials said the plan is to connect the three buildings by indoor walkways to allow apartment occupants to visit their neighbors without having to step outside.
No one from the public to commented during Wednesday’s public hearing, though a resident, Mike Speltz, submitted his thoughts to the board in a letter.
Speltz, who was out of state this week and unable to attend the meeting, said allowing increased density for open space is important for the community at large.
“Open space saves us money, it provides flood control and preserves natural habitats,” said Speltz, who added that “senior rental units are a welcome addition to this part of town, though I’d like to see this project made a little smaller.”
Attorney Patricia Panciocco, who spoke on behalf of project applicant Team Business Development Corp., said the project team had worked with the town since early spring to address various board concerns.
Panciocco said nearly five acres of open space have been added to the site in recent months.
She said more than half of the apartments being built would be two-bedroom units, and the plans include a parking space for each apartment bedroom.
George Chadwick of Bedford Design Group further noted that some of the neighbors’ earlier concerns about traffic were addressed by eliminating the community’s access onto nearby Reed Street.
Board members agreed the town’s population is aging and there would be no shortage of tenants for the new apartment complex in the coming years.
“My feeling is there’s a need for this project in our town,” member Annette Stoller said.