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Workforce housing application denied

September 30, 2009
ALTON — Voicing concerns about the potential impact of developer Ryan Heath's proposal to convert an elderly housing project on Route 140 into a 55-unit workforce housing project, planning board members voted on Sept. 29 to deny Heath's application.

Heath, who received approval from the board last year for a 53-unit elderly housing complex on a 17.5-acre parcel of land located at 182 Frank C. Gilman Highway, submitted an amended site plan for workforce housing to the board in August under the provisions of RSA 674 (the state's new workforce housing statute), which took effect on July 1.

Unsure whether the amended site plan process was sufficient in scope to address the proposed changes, and facing pressure from abutters to demand that Heath present a completely new site plan, the board voted unanimously to deny the amended application without prejudice and ask that Heath submit a new application subject to a new round of public hearings.

Heath said after the Sept. 29 meeting that although he understood the board's concerns and its decision to err on the side of caution, he felt that state law was on his side.

His next course of action, he said, will likely be to appeal the board's decision to Belknap County Superior Court.

Further details on what transpired during the Sept. 29 meeting will be provided in the Oct. 8 issue of The Baysider.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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