, Derry, New Hampshire

February 28, 2013

Workforce housing plan continued until March

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — After zoning officials denied a plan for a 240-unit apartment complex on Perkins Road last fall, the developer returned last week to plead his case again.

Developer Tom Monahan appealed the decision.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a rehearing at a meeting last month. But when Monahan appeared before the board last week, officials wanted more information, including construction costs for the complex, known as Wallace Farm.

His rehearing is scheduled for March 7.

Monahan originally requested three variances for his 240-unit project. Those requests include: a reduction in the percentage of workforce housing units from 75 percent to 50 percent; 24 units per building, eight more than the ordinance allows; and relief from project phasing with regard to the number of units.

A study prepared by the town’s Community Development Department in 2009 explained the workforce housing laws and what it means to citizens.

The study noted Londonderry has the potential for up to 5,000 new jobs in the airport area alone, with a rising need for housing for workers who may move into the area.

Monahan and project engineer Jason Leonard told officials last fall that housing of this type is needed.

The plan calls for apartments to rent for about $1,100 a month.

“The spirit here is to provide affordable rental housing,” Leonard said. “I believe this is the only rental project proposed in Londonderry for some time.”

Last fall, many Perkins Road residents cited reasons why the housing project would not work.

Resident Brian Micciche told zoners he was not against workforce housing, but Monahan’s plan was too extreme for that area of town.

“We have rules and you guys need to set an example for our community,” he said.

Other Perkins Road neighbors said the plan would generate too much traffic and could become a safety issue.

The meeting March 7 begins at 7 p.m.