Decision upcoming on upper Elm Street office-to-housing conversion

1230 Elm St. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. –  A proposal to convert an office building on Elm Street into mixed-use building with over 100 apartments at 1230 Elm St. will now wait to see if it can obtain approval for a conditional use permit and a change of use site plan from the Manchester Planning Board.

The board’s previous meeting was filled with concerned testimony from residents of the Amoskeag Terrace neighborhood, which is located directly across Hampshire Lane from 1230 Elm St. This led the public hearing on 1228 Elm St. to be continued to the board’s second meeting of the month, which was held on Thursday. Generally, most public hearings that come before the Planning Board are closed during the board’s first meeting of the month, with decisions coming during the second meeting of the month.

Attorney John Cronin, representing 1230 Elm St. applicant Air Tight LLC c/o Brady Sullivan Properties, told the board that they attempted to take board comments from the first meeting into the account, stating that a review of lighting near the building was conducted.

Cronin also tried to allay fears over a lack of parking spaces in the area by stating that it would be unlikely that all of the tenants in the building would be at the property at any time, with the first floor dedicated to commercial use.

Amoskeag Terrace Association President David Cuzzi told the board that he has been in discussion with representatives of the applicant and is optimistic that an agreement can be reached between the neighbors and the developers, with the main sticking points being parking in the area and crowding in alleyways and streets near the building that could pose safety concerns.

Only three individuals rose in some form of objection during this meeting to the proposal, with Cronin stating that efforts in the proposal were in line with recommendations of the city’s master plan and also noted approved variances on the project obtained recently as reason to support the project.

Manchester Planning Board Chair Bryce Kaw-Uh reiterated requests to representatives of the applicant to modify several apartments in the plan that did not have windows as well as adding trash chutes for residents in higher floors.

However, he also noted to individuals opposed to the plan that the Planning Board’s ability to act upon matters related to parking is limited and that in the city’s Central Business District, parking is not required while the proposal has both on-site parking and proposed designated spots at the nearby Pearl Street parking lot.

The board will likely make a determination on both requests at their next scheduled meeting in December.

In other news from Thursday’s meeting, the board approved a conditional use permit and a site plan application for 80 Merrimack St. and a continued public hearing on a proposed apartment building on Central Street was postponed at the applicant’s request.