Planning committee takes positive view of proposed housing

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Overview of the May 1, 2024 Planning Committee Meeting.Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Manchester, New Hampshire – A slew of upcoming additions to the city’s residential landscape appear poised to receive approval following a public hearing at Manchester’s planning committee on Wednesday night.

The event is being held a day earlier than usual due to Thursday’s Taco Tour, and the board received two site plan applications on Elm Street that are expected to create 73 new combination units.

The first one is located at 959 Elm St., also known as the Dunlap Building, which currently houses Taj India and Campo Enoteca restaurants on the first floor. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the building’s upper floors housed offices, but they have not yet been restored. There were some positive comments about the proposal, such as from Pat Mills, after questions were asked about parking, bike racks, fire exits and delivery loading areas.

Mills, better known as the owner of the Bonfire Bar across the street from the Dunlap Building, was quick to say that none of the concerns raised by the board were about his property, and that although he didn’t know the applicants, he enthusiastically supported their proposal. Joking said if they wanted to raise the building 75 stories, they should be allowed to do so because he believed eliminating vacant space like this downtown would help nearby businesses like his.

“Let’s get people out there, we need people downtown, that’s simple. Let’s fill these buildings,” he said.

The building recently received 79-E approval from the Mayor and Council of Aldermen, and the application will likely be decided at the Planning Commission’s next meeting on May 16.

Later, the Planning Commission also heard a site plan proposal that would convert a parking lot at the corner of Elm and Myrtle Streets, officially known as 1305 Elm Street, into a five-story building with commercial space on the first floor. Purpose, one floor is 37 floors. The board also received a related site plan request and conditional use permit that would convert a single-family home at 27 Myrtle Street, behind the proposed new building at 1305 Elm Street, into a 32-unit Parking space in garage.

The building received relief from the Zoning Board of Adjustment last fall, and representatives for the applicants told the board Wednesday night that they seek to combine the two parcels, with North Church Street running through the middle of the newly merged parcel.

While this hearing was not concluded, it also received positive public comments from individuals such as Brittany Ping, who, as a Manchester resident, was excited to see the new housing, and as Derryfield Holdings LLC The meeting was attended by the managing agent for Derryfield Holdings LLC, the owner of a nearby building at 1305 Elm Street

“I’m delighted to see these opportunities at Elm Street, where we are discussing the introduction of 73 new units, which means another 73 people can find a new home in the heart of Manchester city centre,” she said.

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Dunlap Building, also known as 959 Elm St.

Ping is also excited about smaller applications that appear to be getting positive public hearings, such as the Brock Street subdivision.

“Manchester is really at the forefront of where we can look at our residential areas, our truly residential areas, and say ‘Where are the opportunities to add density, not necessarily just for the sake of adding density, but look where we can find underutilized space ?'” Ping said. “(The Brock Street application) will improve the use of an existing multi-family housing scheme by adding another single family home and I think proposals like this create the different types of housing we need to see more of in Manchester.”

The board also approved extensions for two large residential developments that had been approved in the past but have been delayed: Wellington Heights and Pearl.

In Wellington Heights, about 80 sites between Smyth Road and Radburn Street will house 305 new residential units, with conditional approval for an extra year to allow for more so-called administrative issues that still need to be resolved. time. solve.

Meanwhile, the proposed residential complex and public carpark “Pearl” on the current site of the Pearl Street Municipal Carpark, which will accommodate 366 residential units and 654 parking spaces, will need to have its conditional site plan approval extended by one year due to related delays. Year.

Jane Haigh of the Manchester Housing Alliance expressed her frustration with the delays in the Pearl Tower project and compared this lack of action to the construction of similar buildings in Nashua.

“For two years they promised us they would use the site for affordable housing, but now the whole deal seems to be stuck on parking spaces,” Haigh said. “We want action on housing, not cars.”

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