Notre Dame High School proposed For elderly housing


July 14, 2011
BERLIN—The building of the former Notre Dame high school at 411 School St. may be renovated to become a senior housing apartment complex if plans presented by Tri-County Community Action Program, Inc. (Tri-County CAP) are approved and certain grants are received.

Two years ago the Planning Board heard a presentation that the school be made into assisted living for seniors but there is a new developer with slightly different plans. Max Makaitis of Tri-County CAP Housing & Economic Development presented the Elderly Housing Redevelopment Project to the board.

According to Makaitis the complex would have 33 one-bedroom units for singles and couples who qualify as low to moderate income based on federal guidelines. There will be common areas and meeting rooms and each unit will have a storage facility in the lower level.

A grant from New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA) is critical to the plan's success, as the $5 million stood to gain would finance a bulk of the expected cost.

Makaitis said 29 such grants have been awarded in southern New Hampshire, but "so far none in Coös." That is something he'd like to change, but the North Country has an immediate disadvantage in the point system having done such a project in the recent past.

To make up for that immediate deficit Makaitis is making sure all approvals are in perfect order before submitting by the September application deadline.

Some points are given for keeping historical value, to that end the chapel and its windows are being kept, as is the statue of the Virgin Mary and the staircase in front.

In addition to the hoped for NHHFA award, several other grants have been applied for, each roughly $500,000. $8 million is stood to gain, while expected costs are $5.6 million.

In other Planning Board news, discussion regarding properties own by Felix Pisani, who is building a restaurant on one lot, continued. A six-foot privacy fence is a requirement for the establishment's approval.

Pisani informed the board that since he purchased the house next door to the building he is now his own abutter and requested to be relieved of the expectation of erecting a fence between the two properties.

Pisani also asked to have his hours of operation expanded so he can begin serving breakfast.

The board approved the requested hour change as well as removing the stipulation that lot 250 and lot 251 be separated by a fence. However, Pisani must erect a temporary construction fence to keep debris from leaving the site and children and passersby off it. Also, after construction is complete but before opening for business a permanent six foot privacy fence be put up between the restaurant and both the street and the other abutter's.

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