Council OKs Purchase and Sales Agreement for Affordable Senior Housing

The Town Council approved with a 3-0 vote Monday night an amended purchase and sales agreement for the sale of a Sanborn Road property for development of affordable senior housing.

Councilors Joe Green and Jim Butler were not present for the vote.

Town Manager Kevin Smith informed the Council the date for the original agreement with developer Steven Lewis was changed from August 2015 to January 2016, and the closing date for the sale of 30 Sanborn Road to Lewis for $10 was extended from Dec. 31, 2015 to July 31, 2016.

Richard Bielinski of 89 Hall Road raised a concern that because the purchase and sales agreement had expired, the previous public hearing was not lawful.

But Smith said the Council had not approved anything related to the expired agreement, and amending the date of the agreement and closing date was sufficient for approving the agreement.

Additionally, at the request of the Council, a section was added to the agreement stipulating that if the buyer has not completed substantial construction of the project within 21 months of the closing date, the seller has the option of purchasing the property back.

Town Councilor Tom Freda said at the Council’s public hearing on the sale of the property that he wanted to ensure Lewis would not be able to purchase the property from the Town for $10, then re-sell the land at market value.

Lewis, who assured the Council at the previous hearing that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wouldn’t allow him to do that, told the Council his attorney and the New Hampshire Housing Authority reviewed the new section and didn’t have any concerns with its inclusion.

Lewis is proposing the construction of three, 36- to 40-unit affordable housing apartment buildings, to be constructed on the lot in a campus style, with a community garden, a playground where tenants’ visiting grandchildren may play, and extensive trails that would provide a connection to the Londonderry Rail Trail, which abuts the site.

Being a “brownfield site,” a property complicated by the presence of potentially hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants, Lewis said the project will undergo many levels of engineering scrutiny.

To qualify for funding from the federal government, the site will have to be verified as safe by a number of agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), according to Lewis.

The next filing deadline for applications to the New Hampshire Finance Authority for programs that would fund the subsidized housing project is in April.

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