A conditional approval for the construction of a phased senior living facility (62+) at the Woodmont Commons development in Londonderry was given by the Londonderry Planning Board on its meeting last Wednesday (Oct. 9), following a formal review of the plan.
The applicants, Woodmont Commons Planned Unit Development and Edgewood Retirement Community and the owner of the land, Pillsbury Development, could now continue with their plan to build a total of 254 independent living units and an additional 40 assisted living units on Pillsbury Rd. and Michels Way.
An 80-minute public hearing was held at Town Hall by the Planning Board and concluded with the plan approval. Architect Philippe Saad presented the plan to the board members and public. He said it is a 15-acre open-space site. “When a project gets developed on an open land like this, with a mission such as the Baldwin, which is to integrate the residents into the urban environment that will be built as part of Woodmont Commons, but also sits on a beautiful site… our role is to connect the urban Woodmont Commons with the nature around and this will be seen throughout the approach and the concept, from architecture to landscape to site planning”, said Saad.
He added that their inspiration for the plan came from local downtowns and neighborhoods in New England, its townhouses and specifically, in the Southern New Hampshire area. Saad went on to explain specifics of the landscape and the new roads and emphasized the open space that will be created in the new development and the planners will to engage residents, visitors and people who pass by the development. The buildings will also have a garage below the ground.
Ray Breslin, who lives at 3 Gary Dr., near Woodmont Commons, approached the board members and asked questions about the process. Breslin, who in the past expressed concerns about Woodmont Commons and the traffic problems the new development can create, said to the board members: “This is a very large development, part of Woodmont, It’s being explained to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, it’s over 62. Are we calling it elderly housing? Yes. But it’s also being described as assisted living. Are we talking nursing home here? Just assisted living? So if someone fails, he’ll have to move to a nursing home. It looks like a beautiful illustration, what has been presented, but it looks really upscale. I’m 75 and doesn’t look like anything I could afford. Do we have any idea what this is going to cost?”
Planning Board Chair Arthur Rugg admitted that at the moment, he does not know if the development has done any pricing yet. “I know that there has been a lot of advertising about the Baldwin”, said Rugg and encouraged Breslin to ask the development representatives following the board meeting. “I’m just wondering if somebody in Londonderry could afford to live there”, added Breslin. “I think it’s a good question.” Breslin went on to express further concern about utilities and water pressure regarding the development and the residents around that area. Following that discussion, the board approved the plan.