28-unit condo complex gets OK

Planning Board sets conditions

PETERBOROUGH — The Planning Board has conditionally approved plans for 28-unit condominium units at the former Lobacki egg farm on Route 101, submitted by Jaffrey developer Jack Belletete, following several revisions to the plan beginning this spring that reduced the number of units by two. Belletete has said the goal is to offer to some affordable housing.

The conditions the Planning Board established at its meeting Monday include increasing the depth of a storm-water basin at the condominium complex as well as the height of a chain-link fence surrounding it, and delineating the asphalt of the street from that of the sidewalk within the complex. Once Belletete meets these requirements, he can begin securing building permits for construction.

Belletete plans to split the 14-acre property at the site of the former egg farm into a complex made up of five multi-story buildings on one half and a new Divine Mercy Parish church on the other. Peter Throop of Peterborough’s Office of Community Development said the parish planned to purchase about seven acres from Belletete in order to build the new church, although the sale has not yet been finalized.

Access to the condominiums will be through Church Street, a short public road that would be constructed along with the subdivision, according to a staff report written by Throop.

Belletete is also proposing a condominium association that would maintain and own a private road to the units.

The condos Belletete plans to build would be one-floor, two-bedroom units, built on a slab foundation with garages in front. Four of the buildings would have six units and the fifth would have four units. Belletete said Wednesday he hopes to be able to sell the units for $160,000 to $170,000, as starter homes or possible second homes for older people who might live elsewhere in the winter months.

Belletete’s original application was for a 30-unit condominium. Project Engineer Robert Saunders of Nobis Engineering Inc., presenting the plan for Belletete, told the board on Monday that they eliminated the two additional units to make room for a larger storm-water basin.

To conclude the approval of Belletete’s plan, the board is requiring that Belletete deepen a detention basin to five feet. Throop said that increasing the depth of the basin would prolong the amount of time the water is in it, allowing more of the storm water’s silt and particulate matter to sink to the bottom.

Planning Board Chair Ivy Vann added that by holding storm water longer, the water will be cleaner. The storm water would eventually run off into a wetland, which would clean it even more.

The board is also requiring Belletete to erect a six-foot fence at the toe of a slope of a hill that leads up to the storm-water basin. This fence is intended to prevent children from leaping or falling into the storm water. The board was particularly concerned that the fence was proposed for the bottom of the slope, where a child might leap over it.

Planning Board Member Audrey Cass said a six-foot fence, instead of a four-foot one, “would make me feel more safe.”

At first, the board debated with Belletete and his engineering consultants about the depth of the basin and the size of the fence. Saunders said the state of New Hampshire only recommends, and does not require, that a storm-water basin be a certain depth. Both the board and Throop said they would like Belletete to go with the state’s recommendation.

They also argued about the height of the chain-link fence before settling on six feet. Belletete must also delineate the sidewalk around the complex from the road leading up to it. The board is recommending Belletete pave the walking path differently from the road.

Vann initially insisted the sidewalk be concrete. “I just think visually and textually, it’s important,” Vann said.

Saunders said this change would wind up costing Belletete more in the long run. Maintenance of concrete after the winter when road salt eats away at the concrete will be challenging. He later said these maintenance costs will spike the rates of the condos.

Vice Chair Tom Weeks sided with Saunders, saying road salt will lead to a “maintenance nightmare.”

Throop recommended the sidewalk be asphalt, with a different rolling pattern than the street. “It might be a good medium between the two,” he said, about paving the sidewalk with concrete or asphalt.

The board agreed with Throop’s recommendation on the sidewalk materials, making that a condition of approval, along with the higher fence and deeper storm-water basin.

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