The Planning Board took a look at whether the number of existing and proposed elderly housing units exceeds the percentage of people age 55 and older residing in Londonderry, and found that a gap remains.
“Last year about this time I believe is when we first started looking at where Londonderry is at with regard to the number of elderly housing, as compared to what is required by the ordinance,” Town Planner Cynthia May told the Planning Board at its Wednesday, Feb. 12 meeting.
Londonderry is home to nine age 55 and over housing communities that consist of 401 total units built and 576 units proposed.
“Based on the 2010 census, the total number of 55 and over represents 22.1 percent of the total population,” she said. “The current and proposed amount of housing is at 6.5 percent, and therefore there is a healthy gap between the amount of population and housing.”
She noted some smaller towns have a much closer gap.
May said that whereas the percent of elderly housing units is 6.5 percent and the percent of persons 55 an older is 22.1 percent, the limitation on the number of elderly housing units per ordinance is not in effect at this time.
May told the board that the community is aging and that younger residents are leaving to go to college and then finding jobs elsewhere.
Board member Lynn Wiles said that over-55 communities bring in people from other areas who are seeking to downsize and find over-55 communities attractive.
Board member Mary Wing Soares said she has talked to people aged 48 to 54 and said, “they want to move into these types of places and they can’t because they’re not 55.”
May said people are attracted to the housing because they are looking for something more affordable and do not particularly want attached housing units.
Board Chairman Art Rugg said another plus is that for the cost of condominium fees, the chores of shoveling and mowing lawns go away in such communities.
Board member Lynn Wiles said he thinks a diverse community is the key to having a vibrant community.