Housing cluster approved for East Dunstable Road

NASHUA – The Zoning Board of Adjustment was impressed with plans to build a 37-unit, single-family cluster housing development on East Dunstable Road, across from the Sky Meadow commercial and residential complex.

The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to endorse a proposal to build the detached condominiums on 22.6 acres near the new Huntington of Nashua senior housing development off Spit Brook Road, not far from Bicentennial Elementary School.

Cluster developments are designed to preserve open space, and according to Gerald Prunier, a lawyer for the developer, Greenleaf LLC, the proposed project will keep 80 percent of the site open and will be surrounded by a 40-foot, no-build buffer.

“It’s more in character with the area than some of the other buildings that exist there now,’’ Prunier told the board.

Project engineer Jim Petropulos said an underground drainage system has been designed for the project, and a swale at the rear of the site will be raised to help with drainage problems that people on abutting Rosecliff Drive have experienced.

The proposal must still be approved by the Planning Board.

The property, owned by EDR Associates, is zoned R-18, meaning lots must cover at least 18,000 square feet. Current zoning would have allowed the developers to build a full 37-home subdivision covering most of the site, Prunier said. But Greenleaf decided to cluster the development because that approach is better suited for the topography of the land and will preserve open space, Prunier said.

“It’s a very reasonable and very aesthetic use of the property,’’ board member Sean Duffy said.

Three abutters showed up at City Hall for the hearing to make sure the buffer will remain intact and ask questions about the traffic impact of the development.

But board Chairman Tom Jenkins said he lives in the area and didn’t think 37 new condos would exacerbate traffic problems. In any case, it’s up to the Planning Board to decide whether new stop signs or traffic lights are needed, he said.

“Those have nothing to do with zoning,’’ Jenkins said.