Environmental Assessment Planned for Potential Senior Housing Site

The Town is still looking at the possibility of siting affordable senior housing at 30 Sanborn Road.
Town Councilor Joe Green, liaison from the council to the Elder Affairs Committee, told the committee at its Tuesday, Sept. 17 meeting that the project currently is with Public Works Director Janusz Czyzowski, who has gone out to the site with EnviroSense, and found items to be reviewed. EnviroSense is a Londonderry consulting firm that investigates environmental liabilities of properties.

“We submitted (to the state) a work plan from EnviroSense and they were scheduled to come out in late September or early October, and what this is going to do is basically tell us how much this is going to cost the town to finish it to the point where it is ready and buildable land,” Green said.
Green said that report will say, “this is what we have, this is what’s buried, this is where it’s at, this is exactly the type of thing we have out there, because we don’t know if it’s hot, we don’t know if it’s not.”
“Janusz doesn’t think it is but we need EnviroSense to do that survey, so right now it’s with NHDES (New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services) for their inspection,” Green said.
In January of last year, an Environmental Site Assessment revealed unacceptable amounts of arsenic in the soil, unacceptable amounts of magnesium in the groundwater, and other problems.
“Any time arsenic is found at any site they have to get the state involved,” Green said. “Whatever clean-up was done prior was not done correctly or as efficiently as it should have been, because obviously some stuff was found.”
Green said that the “old administration is no longer around to ask questions and we have no paperwork on it and we’re just going to get it done again.
“We just want to make sure it’s taken care of properly because we don’t want anybody living there if there’s arsenic there,” Green said.
Elder Affairs Committee Chairman Al Baldasaro said he wanted to be told of any costs involved, so he could look into the availability of state grants.
“So that way there, the town won’t have to pay for any of that because the state does have money for those things,” said Baldasaro, who is a state representative.
“We don’t know until the report comes back from the DES what exactly there is, and right now it’s all speculation,” Green said.
Baldasaro said there is still no money available from HUD (Housing and Urban Development).
Senior Services Director Catherine Blash asked if the property is the only one the committee was looking at for affordable senior housing.
“That one is the only piece of land that the town owns that we can get for nothing, and then the taxpayers will be reimbursed from HUD 202 money because a non-profit will take over, build and collect rents, and the town will collect taxes on it,” Baldasaro said.
The Section 202 program helps expand the supply of affordable housing with supportive services for the elderly. It provides very low-income elderly with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, and transportation. The program is similar to Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities.”
If that site does not work, Baldasaro said they would have to come up with a funding mechanism to purchase land.
“I don’t want to mislead anyone, this is going to take at least three to four months for the NHDES to get back to us with a response letter, but that’s where we’re at,” Green said.
According to Elder Affairs Vice Chairman Susan Haussler, the committee would like to build 48 units of affordable senior housing on the property, 16 units at a time.
An August 2011 Londonderry Times article noted that the town’s senior population had increased 81 percent from 2000 to 2010.
Haussler wrote, “There are many aging elders who want to remain in Londonderry, but they are or will soon be unable to maintain their current homes and active lifestyle. Many of our seniors cannot afford the 55-plus active adult community housing currently on the market. The Elderly Affairs Committee is striving to provide affordable housing with supportive services to allow our very low-income seniors to live independently in Londonderry.”

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