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Apartment plan near Bedford High draws opposition

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

August 18. 2018 8:12PM



BEDFORD - Before conceptual plans have even been introduced to town officials, opposition is already building against a proposal to build about 120 apartments next to the high school in a complex that would include workforce housing.

"I'm afraid of having more apartments in town; I think we have plenty," Michelle Ditomasao of Colonel Daniels Drive told school officials last week.

Dick Anagnost, chairman of the Workforce Opportunity Council and president of Anagnost Investments Inc., along with Bill Greiner, founder of Primary Bank, are hoping to build an apartment complex on Bow Lane, off Chestnut Drive near the high school.

In order for the apartment complex and the redevelopment of the former Shorty's restaurant - another project the duo is working on - to come to fruition, Greiner has said both projects must have public water and sewer access, and the best way to do that is to extend it from the high school campus.

The existing sewer system, pump station and infrastructure are owned by the school district, and the developers are proposing to pay the full cost of the extension and contribute to the district's sewer enterprise fund.

"They don't have any promises from us," school board member Jen DeAngelis told the public last week. Chairman Jay Nash explained there is no formal proposal in front of the board.

Conceptual plans for the apartment complex, which would include at least 25 percent of the units affordable for working families, are expected to be introduced to the planning board on Aug. 27.

"I am definitely opposed to the school board allowing our assets to be used to help a developer," said Aaron Wyatt of County Road. "Those assets are tremendously expensive, and they are tremendously valuable to the town."

Wyatt urged the school board to prohibit the developers' access to the district's sewer system and pump station. The schools, at some point, may need to expand, he said, and if other parcels are using the district's sewer and water systems, it could limit the schools' growth potential.

School board member Bill Foote stressed that the district is still far from any deal or agreement with the developers, explaining there have only been preliminary discussions.

The developers are proposing to pay all of the costs associated with extending water and sewer from the school site, and once that is agreed to, Greiner said he believes Pennichuck Water Works would take over responsibility for water and piping and infrastructure on the school site. Going forward, all of that responsibility and liability would fall onto Pennichuck, and not the district and taxpayers, according to a memo to the school board.

Greiner said the apartments would ultimately drive demand for natural gas lines, which could enable the district to use natural gas at the high school and McKelvie Intermediate School.

Tierney said there would likely be a cost to convert the school's boilers to natural gas.

BedfordNews@unionleader.com


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