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Londonderry senior housing development to clear final hurdle

Union Leader Correspondent

June 14. 2018 12:40AM

LONDONDERRY — Waste management crews will soon deal with elevated lead and arsenic levels detected in the soil at 30 Sanborn Road, eliminating the final roadblock to building a subsidized senior housing project that has been in the works for the past two years.

Steve Cotton, the administrative support coordinator for the town, said the lead issue was detected about four weeks ago when they were preparing to clear away the arsenic-contaminated soil.

Lead cannot be shipped off, so crews had to spread a chemical that diffused the lead first.

Developer Steven Lewis said he hopes to begin construction by late summer. He began working on the project with the town, which owns the land, about two years ago.

He said a lot of the engineering and topographical analysis had to be redone, which delayed the process for months. The project was also slowed by market uncertainty caused by discussions in Congress about possibly changing mortgage interest deductions in the Republican-crafted tax reform law, Lewis said.

The development was conditionally approved by the town planning board last November.

It will provide rent controlled and age restricted housing with two buildings, 51 units in each.

Rent will be capped well below market rates for individuals with 50 or 60 percent of median income. Tenants will also have to be 62 and older.

“It’s really a pleasure working with a town that wants this,” Lewis said.

He said Town Manager Kevin Smith has been an enthusiastic supporter since day-one.

Town Planner Colleen Mailloux said affordable housing projects like these are “very much needed” in town.

Lewis expects the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority to approve the tax exempt bonds for subsidizing later this month. He said he already has state and local approval.

The apartments will be connected to the Manchester Water Works system, which is already connected to the nearby elementary school.

State environmental officials detected per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the groundwater of the adjacent Leclerc Tire Shop. Lewis said the tire shop will likely be connected to the Manchester water system as well.

The town has been working with environmental consulting firm EnSafe to clean up the property for years.

Russ Lagueux with EnSafe said the property used to be an illegal junkyard with buried solid waste.

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