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Lebanon Housing Authority’s plan for 44 units to go before Planning Board

  • An artist’s rendering shows Lebanon Housing Authority's planned 44-unit apartment building at the intersection of Heater and Old Etna Roads, across the street from the Lebanon High School softball field. (Courtesy City of Lebanon)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/9/2020 8:52:17 PM
Modified: 8/9/2020 8:52:15 PM

LEBANON — Engineers working on plans for a 44-unit apartment building slated for the corner of Old Etna and Heater roads say the development is unlikely to “significantly impact” traffic in surrounding neighborhoods.

Instead, they say, nearly 240 cars entering and leaving the proposed “Heater Landing Apartments” daily would be staggered, with most activity coming during busy weekday evenings.

During those peak periods, 19 cars are expected to access the 45,678-square-foot building’s parking lot, according to a traffic study performed by Manchester firm Granite Engineering.

City officials have recently focused on traffic, and its impact on the busy Route 120 corridor, as they review several large-scale residential proposals. A meeting Monday night is expected to be no different.

That’s when the Planning Board will take up its review of the Lebanon Housing Authority’s plan to build on a 3.4-acre lot across from the high school’s playing fields.

The housing authority hopes to market the new apartments to Lebanon’s entry-level, retail and service-sector workers who struggle to find affordable housing in the region.

Those include people with salaries ranging from $19,000 to $51,000, or two-person households with annual earnings between $22,000 and $59,000, officials with the public housing agency told the Zoning Board in June.

The building itself would consist of 30 one-bedroom apartments, 11 two-bedrooms and three three-bedrooms.

Designs show an angled structure painted in earth tones and sporting a rounded, central entrance. Outside, the parking lot would have 66 spaces, with five reserved for handicapped spots, accessible in the rear of the property.

Other amenities would include a playground and upgraded Advance Transit bus stop, which the housing authority agreed to work on as part of an earlier Zoning Board approval.

Over the course of two meetings earlier this year, board members worried about traffic that often backs up as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center workers leave at the end of the workday.

Similar concerns farther north have led the city to consider intersection improvements, which could be paid for with the help of developers.

Pending projects, such as DHMC’s $130 million tower expansion and a 309-unit apartment building for Dartmouth College graduate students, have already agreed to help foot the bill for improvements.

The housing authority is now asking for site plan approval and two waivers needed to start construction. The first would allow for less landscaping so that a concrete pad and heat pump could be located within 10 feet of the building.

The public agency also is asking to forgo the construction of some sidewalks. A new walkway would extend from the building along the west side of the access drive, and then along the Heater Road frontage where it will connect with the existing sidewalk along Old Etna Road.

However, the authority doesn’t want to build a sidewalk going in the other direction where it wouldn’t be able to connect with another walkway.

The Planning Board is scheduled to begin its review of the project at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. Instructions for accessing the meeting, which will be held via teleconferencing software, can be found at Lebanonnh.gov/Live.




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