LONDONDERRY — Members of the Elder Affairs Committee are hoping for a strong showing at the Planning Board meeting June 9 when the number of affordable housing units is up for public comment.

The town may reduce the number of affordable housing units per multi-family structure from 24 to 16. That would include proposed workforce housing and senior housing.

The Elder Affairs Committee recently learned the number of units in the planned senior housing development will be reduced from 90 to 60 because of wetlands.

A representative from the developer, Southern New Hampshire Services, said the number of buildings planned for Sanborn Road was affected by wetlands and flood plains.

"We can only build three, two-story buildings with 20 units per building," said Sara Landry, the town's senior affairs coordinator. "We can only build on 5 to 7 acres of land."

The original plan was for 90 units, Landry said. Each unit would be 550 square feet in the development just down the road from North Londonderry Elementary School.

Now the potential is there for further reduction in senior housing units as the Planning Board weighs the change.

The Town Council has directed the Planning Board and Community Development Department to reduce the number of units from 24 to 16 across the zoning ordinance.

"The Planning Board can't discriminate and let one group have more units," said Stacy Thrall, chairwoman of the Elder Affairs Committee. "But they could apply for a special exemption to allow the senior housing to be at 20 units."

Thrall said at least 50 residents have expressed an interest in senior housing.

There is a growing population of seniors in Londonderry who want to stay close to their families, Landry said, but can't afford their big homes.

"We've been working on this for four years," she said. "Southern New Hampshire will pay the town for the land and we'll apply for a Section 202 elderly housing grant through HUD."

The grant would pay around $10,000 per unit, which would be used extend utility, sewer and water lines, all of which stop at North School.

"We need almost $1 million to get everything done," Landry said. "When we initially had 90 units, we would have received a lot more money from the elderly housing grant."

If the number of units is reduced to 16 per structure, Landry said, that would mean just 48 units of new senior housing.

"We would really like to see 20 units and are asking seniors and residents who care about our seniors to come to the meeting on June 9," Landry said. "We can apply for a community development block grant from the state for $500,000, but if we only get $480,000 from the elderly housing grant, it won't cover the full cost."

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Conference Room at Town Hall.

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