, Derry, New Hampshire

January 10, 2013

Developer appeals variance denial

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — After a plan to build a 240-unit apartment complex was denied last fall, a developer returns to the Zoning Board of Adjustment this week to appeal that decision.

Developer Tom Monahan will appear Friday, Jan. 11, after filing an appeal of the decision issued in November. He hopes his plan to build a housing complex on Perkins Road might move forward.

The case was originally denied Nov. 15, 2012.

Monahan originally requested three variances for his project. Those requests included a reduction in the percentage of workforce housing units from 75 percent to 50 percent; an increase in the density; and 24 units per building, eight more than Londonderry currently allows.

But the zoning board rejected all three requests.

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 in Londonderry.

The plan called 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 plan would not work.

Brian Micciche told zoners he was not against workforce housing, but Monahan’s plan was too extreme for this 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 attract too much traffic and could become a safety issue.

“Everyone agrees development is unavoidable,” Heather Anderson said. “But what’s best for the developer is not necessarily what’s best for the town.”

The meeting Jan. 11 begins at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Council Chambers at the town offices, 268B Mammoth Road.