Londonderry agrees to facilitate land purchase for elderly housing projectBy CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent
September 25. 2017 11:50PM
LONDONDERRY — The Town Council agreed to purchase a state-owned right-of-way on Route 102 using money from the Cross Farm Development project and immediately sell that land to the developer.
Town Manager Kevin Smith told the council last week Londonderry should accept the money in the amount of $361,000 to purchase land that is part of Cross Farm project, which is looking to create 21 elderly housing units in its first phase. The state is selling the parcel to the town, which will then sell it to the developer.
Smith said the town had to first accept the money from the developer because the state cannot sell it to a private entity.
It is a legal workaround because the municipality has the first right of refusal before the land goes to an open auction process.
“Basically the developer is buying it, but they can’t buy from the state. they have to buy it from us, so we have to get it from the state,” said Tom Dolan, chairman of the council.
Cross Farm Development has an extensive plan to build roughly 200 elderly housing units off 57 Adams Rd., although the first phase with 21 sites has slowed after the town planning board had too many questions relating to some of the permits required from the state.
Questions during the public hearing last week revolved around the number of entrances and exits, to which the council also referred to the planning board.
Dolan said the purchase and turnaround of the land is the council’s way of providing another option for the developers to ease traffic concerns without any financial risk to the town.
The council saw an opportunity to give the planning board an additional option that would “lessen impact to the town roads and traffic congestion on town roads,” Dolan said.
Skeptics of the project say traffic in the Adams Road area will suffer because of the high number of expected vehicles if the project moves forward.
Londonderry is looking more like Manchester instead of the rural vision the town touts, said resident Richard Cole in an email.
The planning board will reconvene on Oct. 11 to further discuss the Cross Farm Development application for its first phase.