Board OKs housing

NASHUA – The Planning Board has approved three multi-family housing buildings at 22 Marshall St., the former site of the Beebe Rubber Co.

The board voted 6-1 Thursday to endorse the proposal by developer Vincent Iacozzi of Londonderry to construct two buildings, each with 40 housing units, and a third structure with 32 units on 3.6 acres just off busy East Hollis Street.

The board set down 19 stipulations for the developer to follow before it gave the OK, many involving concerns about traffic.

A public hearing on the plan, which lasted two hours, almost never got started because Iacozzi and project engineer Bob Cormier didn’t have a final report on the project from city Traffic Superintendent Wayne Husband.

They said Husband was on vacation but had indicated previously he would sign off on the development. After lengthy discussion, the board set down a stipulation that all traffic studies for the project be approved by the city before a building permit is issued.

Only two people – Ward 7 Alderman Richard Flynn and one of his constituents – showed up at City Hall to express concern about the development.

Because the plan calls for access to the new housing to be from Marshall Street, with only emergency access from East Hollis Street, Flynn and others said there will be major backups on Marshall.

The project is expected to generate 802 new vehicle trips each day, according to one study that was available Thursday. During peak hours, about 140 new trips would occur.Consequently, traffic from the project will likely use side streets such as Kehoe Avenue and Bowers Street, Flynn and others said.

“I think the side streets are going to feel real pressure from this,” Flynn said.

The board agreed and approved stipulations stating that a third turning lane from Marshall Street be explored, along with regular access from East Hollis Street.

“For a site of this size to have only one way in and one way out is not the best thing,” member Bill Slivinski said.

Another stipulation the board ordered calls officials to study how to get rid of a large hump on Marshall Street that causes sight distance problems.

Members also were concerned about soil and groundwater contamination on the former industrial site, discovered after Beebe closed in 2001.

Planning officials say the primary contaminant is trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent used for metal cleaning, among other things. A cleanup plan was partially approved by the Department of Environmental Services in 2006 and monitoring and cleanup work are continuing, Cormier said.

He said a new separate drain line along Marshall Street will be built to tie in with existing lines in the area of Bowers Street to treat storm water runoff from the housing site.

Also, the apartment building will be constructed on specially designed slabs to prevent TCE vapor intrusion into the structures, Iacozzi said.

The apartments will be priced at market rates to attract average workers with middle-income salaries, he said.

Jody Wilbert, the mayor’s representative on the board, was the only member to vote against the plan.