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Conceptual plan for new apartments in Merrimack gets cool reception

Union Leader Correspondent

September 20. 2018 11:09PM

MERRIMACK — A conceptual plan to build 21 apartments along the Daniel Webster Highway received a cool reception from town planners this week.

Crosswoods Path III, LLC, is hoping to build a three-story apartment complex with 21 units on a vacant parcel at 747 Daniel Webster Highway. Three years ago, the same applicant converted a nearby three-story office building into 21 residential apartments.

Attorney Brad Westgate, legal representative for Crosswoods Path III, LLC, told the Planning Board on Tuesday that the new conceptual plan is very similar to the existing apartment building just up the road, but would also include 1,500 square feet of attached office space.

“He would like to build 12, two-bedroom units and nine, one-bedroom units,” Westgate said of the owner.

The vacant, 2.5-acre site is located on the east side of the Daniel Webster Highway and is part of the Crosswoods Path Planned Urban Development project at the corner of DWH and Crosswoods Path Boulevard where about 100 housing units already sit; the goal of PUD is to incorporate both residential and commercial units.

“I was really disappointed to see this (conceptual plan) come forward, honestly,” said Tom Koenig, town councilor and Planning Board member.

Koenig said local officials already allowed Crosswoods Path III, LLC, to previously convert office space into apartments, and now an additional 21 apartments are being proposed.

“I don’t feel that is in the spirit of the PUD at all. There isn’t any commercial development, there is no retail,” he said, adding this is not the appropriate path for that section of town.

Another Planning Board member, Dan Ricker, expressed concerns about the vacant site possibly have groundwater contamination issues — a situation now unfolding along a different Daniel Webster Highway parcel owned by the John J. Flatley Company.

“You are literally about a mile away from Saint-Gobain,” Ricker warned the developer, urging him to educate himself on the local water contamination situation even though public water and public sewer would be used.

Several residents also raised concerns about the location of the parcel and its potential impact to traffic if 21 apartments were constructed there.

“I would prefer to see it stay commercial,” added Nelson Disco, Planning Board member.

The property sits on a parcel within the commercial, industrial and residential zones, and there is a commercial component required for the project since the site is part of a PUD, Robert Price, planning and zoning administrator, wrote in a memo to the board.

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