New Workforce Housing Project Seeks Waiver from Planning Board

The possibility for more workforce housing in Londonderry was recently discussed during the Planning Board’s latest meeting on December 13 at Town Hall.

Representing Michael Smith, the Senior Vice President with PedCorp Inc., attorney John Cronin presented their arguments for the possibility of granting a waiver for phasing requirements on a 216 unit housing project that would be placed on 71 Perkins Road. It should be noted that due to a lack of a site plan for the project, the discussion did not feature any official ruling on the matter.

Specifically, the phasing requirements revolve around guiding Londonderry through the process of residential growth by limiting how many units for occupants can have certificates granted to them annually.  In this case, only seventy two can be granted a certificate each year, meaning that this project would take three years in order to be fully certified.

However, Cronin felt that the board should consider cutting this timeline down to only two years.  He and his associates felt that not only was the proposed structure of incredibly high quality while still maintaining reasonable costs for construction and upkeep, but that the phasing requirements, which would pertain to the possible construction of nearby schools or fire stations in the future, would not really present any sort of concern to this area of town.  None the less, the developers would still be willing to follow the regulations, albeit in a shortened time span.

“We would still be willing to do it over a two year period”, Cronin noted.

But although Cronin felt optimistic about the board’s reception to the plan, members seemed unanimously opposed to the idea for several reasons.

Vice Chair Mary Wing Soares felt that the addition of this level of housing would cause major concern to the school system, specifically the current issue of overcrowding at the kindergarten level. Furthermore, she also felt that workforce housing is still too expensive for many in Londonderry.

Member Al Sypek was not certain about any of the fire department’s plans for the future and wanted to see how they felt about this matter, while several members, such as Leitha Reilly worried that altering these rules could set a dangerous precedent for the future.

Board Chair Art Rugg seemed to be in agreement with his fellow members as well, not only citing the town’s recent growth concerns not clashing well with this matter, but also noting how much time and research went into putting the ordinance together in the first place.

“What I hear is that we’re sticking to the ordinance”, Rugg stated.

Although the Planning Board rejected the proposal, Cronin mentioned during his argument that they would most likely refer to the Zoning Board somewhere down the line for a second opinion.