Maple and Hanover

Weeds grow tall in the vacant lot at the corner of Maple and Hanover streets in Manchester.

Wrangling over a plan to build an apartment building on a vacant lot at Hanover and Maple streets in Manchester continues.

The zoning board of adjustment last week rejected an appeal of a denied building permit.

A burned-out Victorian was torn down in 2019 after a Dec. 7, 2017, fire. Weeds more than five feet high now grow in the vacant lot, which is encircled by a fence.

City Plans Examiner Karl Franck declined the permit for 324 Hanover St., saying a zoning variance and construction period for the structure have expired. He said a new variance will be required.

Attorney Roy Tilsley of Bernstein Shur Law Firm said the owners should have had two years to pull the permit from a variance, which was issued in September 2019. The applicant filed for the building permit on Aug. 9.

He told the board the owner planned 12 units in the building, though the previous structure had 16. The approved variances waived ordinance provisions regarding parking, setbacks and yard size.

“The building we want to build is the same building you approved in 2019,” Tilsley told the board. “We would like to move forward with construction. Obviously, no one is happy with a hole in the ground and a fence.”

He said there is “obviously a need for housing stock” in the city.

Jane Haigh of the Manchester Housing Alliance said the project shouldn’t be “nitpicked to death,” preventing the apartments to be built.

“It’s been sitting there for more years than we would like to think about and at a time when we really need housing in this city,” she said. “They have a plan and they are ready to go.”

The board voted 3-2 to deny the appeal.

Tilsley said he is reviewing options with the property owner.

“I don’t know what the next steps will be,” he told the Union Leader.