Developer wants city to reconsider issuing a permit

NASHUA – The city has been asked to reconsider a decision by the zoning board last month denying developer John Picard the permits he needed to build a so-called work-force housing complex at 502 W. Hollis St., the former home of WSMN radio.

Picard’s lawyer, John Edwards, said he filed the request for a rehearing about two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Picard’s creditors are preparing to sell the West Hollis Street site at a foreclosure auction scheduled for April 1 at the site, a lawyer for the lenders said.

Bob Parodi said his clients, Blackfoot Capital and Thomas Maddox, are owed money by card and hope to recover some of it by selling the land at a foreclosure sale.

According to city records, the parcel has an assessed valuation of $3.27 million.

Picard and his then-partner, Steve Bonnette, bought the parcel four years ago from the 1590 Broadcaster Corp., the former owners of WSMN, for $1.5 million, city records show.

Parodi said a federal bankruptcy judge has released the property for sale.

The foreclosure auction has already been postponed several times, apparently to give Picard time to try to gain city approval for the work-force housing project.

More recently, it was scheduled to be auctioned Thursday, which was pushed back to April 1.

The zoning board is expected to consider the request Tuesday at the end of at a meeting in the City Hall auditorium, according to zoning manager Carter Falk.

In considering Picard’s request, the board will review whether any procedural or factual errors were made during a five-hour session Feb. 10, which ended with the panel rejecting six permits Picard needed to enable the housing project.

Picard said there are vast amounts of ledge on the property, making it economically impossible to build a 40-unit cluster condominium project the city approved for the site four years ago.

His last proposal was to build a trio of three-story apartment buildings, with 36 units each, along with eight detached condominiums.

Neighbors vehemently opposed the work-force housing project, saying it would ruin their neighborhood and devalue their homes.

The property is zoned R-9, meaning only single-family homes can be built there on lots measuring at least 9,000 square feet.

Aldermen and neighbors want it to stay that way.

Residents have already fought other attempts to build on the site, and in 2000, aldermen passed a resolution stating it was to remain in the R-9 zone.

Marilyn Pizzolon, of 22 Pitarys Drive, said neighbors would fight anything on the site except single-family homes.

“I just hope whoever buys it will keep it R-9 and doesn’t do something to raise the ire of the neighbors,” Pizzolon said. “If someone wants to try and develop it commercially, there will be another fight. And the property is already such a mess, for those of with an inkling of selling somewhere down the road, it could hurt our values.”