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Altaria Closer to City Approval in Lebanon 

  • Workers begin construction on an Element hotel at the Altaria site on Route 120 near Hanover, N.H. on October 16, 2013. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Workers begin construction on an Element hotel at the Altaria site on Route 120 near Hanover, N.H. on October 16, 2013. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Workers begin construction on an Element hotel at the Altaria site on Route 120 near Hanover, N.H. on October 16, 2013. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Workers begin construction on an Element hotel at the Altaria site on Route 120 near Hanover, N.H. on October 16, 2013. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Workers begin construction on an Element hotel at the Altaria site on Route 120 near Hanover, N.H. on October 16, 2013. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Workers begin construction on an Element hotel at the Altaria site on Route 120 near Hanover, N.H. on October 16, 2013. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

Lebanon — The second and final phase of a mixed-use development that developers envision as an “extension” of the Centerra complex off Route 120 has entered the home stretch of its planning review, but there are still issues to resolve.

The second phase of the proposed Altaria business park has made its way to the final stage of the city’s planning review process after most recently getting the green light from the City Council for a water and sewer extension to serve the development.

“It hasn’t changed a lot,” Kevin Worden of consulting firm Engineering Ventures said of the development during a Planning Board meeting Tuesday evening. “We’ve been flexible, yet we’ve been able to realize the plan we’ve put before you. You’ve invested a lot of time, and we have too.”

Developers of the project have participated in more than 15 sit-downs with city officials to review Altaria since its conceptual meeting in March 2010. The Altaria project represents one of three major projects in the city, including River Park off Route 10 and Iron Horse Park between routes 4 and 12A.

Much of the discussion at Tuesday night’s Planning Board meeting centered on the details of the development’s borders — such as easements and boundary lines — and the layout of roads, sidewalks and crosswalks. The board did not vote to approve the project Tuesday night.

One issue still being worked on by elected officials and the project’s developers is the interface of the development with the surrounding roads and pedestrian network. Traffic on Route 120 has been a perennial concern, and Planning Board member Nicole Cormen signaled that she was not satisfied yet with how everything would work together.

Cormen described the questions surrounding the potential paths for pedestrians and bicyclists as “the one black cloud that has been hanging over” the city’s efforts to design and maintain a multi-use path that will connect the different areas of Lebanon. She said she would like more information about potential mitigation efforts from the state Department of Transportation and the city’s Route 120 traffic committee before the next meeting.

Altaria is proposed to span 65 acres, including 336,000 square feet of industrial and office space, 42,300 square-feet of retail space and up to 154 residential condominiums.

The first phase of the project, which includes a four-story 120-room hotel, has already received final approvals from the Council and the Planning Board.

For the second phase of the project, developers have gone through preliminary review, come to terms with the state Department of Transportation on a driveway permit, and secured wetland impact permits, according to Senior Planner David Brooks.

Tree-clearing associated with the project has been ongoing along the eastern side of Route 120 near the old Wilson Tire auto service center over for the last several weeks.

In other tree-related news, Brooks revealed that the partial federal government shutdown has trickled all the way down to the city’s planning review process.

He explained that he was looking into whether the species of trees proposed to line one of the development’s streets might “salt-resistant.”

“But I can’t get to the (United States Department of Agriculture) website,” Brooks said, “Because of the government shutdown.”

The pending Planning Board approval represents one of the last local permits the Altaria developers must secure before being cleared to start construction.

With the approval, developers will be able to construct the road and install utilities such as water, sewer, electric and telephone services. Each of the developable lots, however, will still need to go through site plan reviews before developers can start to pull building permits.

Ben Conarck can be reached at bconarck@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.

CORRECTIONS

This story has been amended to correct earlier errors. Over its full build-out, the 65-acre Altaria development would include a 120-room hotel; 42,300 square feet of retail space; 336,000 square feet of industrial and office space, and up to 154 residential units. An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the square-footage of the development.

In addition, the River Park development off Route 10 in West Lebanon has received final approvals from the city’s land-use boards and Nicole Cormen raised a concern at Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting over how the city will maintain its entire network of pedestrian and bicycle paths. An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the status of River Park and was unclear about Cormen’s comment.