Heritage Commission Reviews Whittemore Estates Plan

The Heritage Commission met with Neighborworks a non-profit community development corporation based in Manchester that develops workforce rental housing and is looking to build 78 rental workforce housing units on the site of the former Whittemore Estates.

According to Neighborworks Executive Director Robert Tourigny, the plan is to subdivide the Mammoth Road property and to develop in two phases 12 townhouse-style apartment buildings to the north of the current Trail Haven Drive location of the former, age-restricted Whittemore Estates.

“The 12 buildings would include four seven-unit buildings and two five-unit buildings in phase one, totaling 38 units, and five seven-unit buildings and one five-unit building in phase two, totaling 40 units, for an overall 78 units,” Senior Project Manger Earle Blatchford said at the commission’s Thursday, May 23 meeting.

Tourigny said they had been trying to do something with the property for the past four years.
“We walked the site about three years ago and we’ve had some preliminary discussions with the planning board over the years, and we’ve been working with the seller to try and figure out a way to make this site work,” Tourigny said.

Blatchford said the subdivided portion to the north of Trail Haven Drive would be called Londonderry Town Homes and would sit on a little over 20 acres, with the remaining 49 acres remaining as part of Whittemore Estates, which will have three more buildings added to it. He said they hoped to get application acceptance at the July meeting of the Planning Board for the Londonderry Town Homes portion of the plan.

Blatchford said stonewalls currently on the property would be rebuilt to conform with the layout, and noted that each of the 12 building will have at least one purple lilac. “You’ve been coached,” Commissioner David Colglazier joked.

Blatchford said street lighting will be 12-foot pedestrian streetlights with gooseneck tops and LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamps for low energy lighting and a low light level.
Commissioner Jim Butler asked about the placement of Dumpsters and questioned whether they would be fenced.
Blatchford said a Dumpster would be located at the far end of the project and another would be placed halfway down the road, both fenced. Butler said two Dumpsters for 78 units didn’t seem to be enough and Jennifer Vadney, development manager for Neighborworks, said they would start out with one garbage pickup per week and if that wasn’t enough, would add more pickups.

Butler also asked about storage facilities, saying that in the past, people have kept broken vehicles and other unsightly belongings in front of their apartments. Tourigny said there was no storage per se but unregistered cars would not be allowed. Vadney said that if bicycles became an issue, bike racks could be installed.

Tourigny also said a property manager and a maintenance person would be on site. Butler asked if school buses would be coming into the property and if not, he had safety concerns with children standing on Mammoth Road waiting for the bus.

Commissioner Janet Cichocki said that at Mountain Home Estates, which is near this site, school buses stop in the middle of the road. Chairman Art Rugg added that the schools have rules to secure student safety.

Architect John Jordan of Jordan Design said the town houses would be built with a natural color scheme, with some having basements and others not, depending on the topography. He said there would not be any attic space so as to discourage tenants from creating living space in the attic.

“The buildings are built with trusses in the attic so there’s really no room up there anyway,” Jordan said. All buildings will have sprinkler systems The property will also have a community building that will house a garage for maintenance equipment storage, and a single location for postal delivery. “The post office likes it that way,” Jordan said.

Butler asked that the mailboxes be inside so that people could access their boxes without standing in the rain, adding, “and it looks a lot cleaner.” Jordan responded by suggesting an overhang at the community building to shelter the boxes.

Commissioner David Colglazier asked about sliding doors at the back of the units so tenants could utilize the back yard. Jordan said the units were not big enough for the sliding doors.
Colglazier asked if there would be a homeowner’s association and Tourigny said the units were rentals and as such, Neighborworks would be the association as the owner.

Blatchford said there would be a community garden area on the far end of the property for those tenants who wished to garden. Colglazier asked about sewers and was told by Blatchford that the sewer system ran through the property and the buildings would hook up to that system.

Commissioner Sue Joudry asked about signage and Tourigny said they had no interest in putting in a sign but if the property manager said there was an issue with people finding the property, an unlighted, 16-square-foot sign could be installed. Such a sign, however, is not planned.

Blatchford showed the commission the plans for Whittemore Estates, which include the addition of one five-unit building, a four-unit building and a two-unit building. The site currently houses a six-unit building.

“We’re not planning on changing anything, just amending the plan to the original 17 units, six that are built and 11 that are to be built,” Blatchford said. In other business, Karl Dubay representing Wallace Farm, the proposed Perkins Road workforce housing development, introduced the project to the commission and suggested a meeting with the developer. A meeting was scheduled for June 27.

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