Housing proposal along Route 10 in Lebanon up for review

  • A rendering of a townhouse-style home in a proposed 22-unit development near Route 10 in Lebanon, N.H. (Courtesy Pathways Consulting) Courtesy Pathways Consulting

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/11/2020 10:48:05 PM
Modified: 11/11/2020 10:48:01 PM

WEST LEBANON — A Hanover developer proposing to build a cluster of single- and two-family homes in a cul-de-sac near Route 10 is hoping that new plans featuring more parking and pedestrian upgrades will sway skeptical officials gearing up to review the project.

Jeff Shapiro last month asked the Lebanon Planning Board for a site plan review of his “Occom Path” development, an effort that he originally pitched in 2018 to build 22 new housing units on Oak Ridge Road.

The homes — 16 single-family, cottage-style buildings and three two-family dwellings — would line a new private road within a 5-acre property that housed a radio tower. Shapiro owns the West Lebanon-based Great Eastern Radio group, which has stations in New Hampshire and Vermont.

He acquired the property in 2007 after purchasing several Lebanon-based radio stations from the former Clear Channel Communications.

The Planning Board is expected to take up the project next month, almost a year after it ended a preliminary review by expressing concern “with the proposed density of the development” and Shapiro’s ability to provide “sufficient” parking.

After five meetings in 2019, the board issued a November opinion expressing doubt about the developer’s plans and asking that, if he were to bring them back, they include a concrete proposal for open space and a crosswalk across Route 10.

Officials gave Shapiro one year to resubmit the project.

On Oct. 13, his attorney Nate Stearns announced fixes he hopes will placate the board. New designs include detached garages for the spaces between each unit, with shared spaces between adjacent units.

The detached garages, he said, provide for additional space and decrease density.

The change also allows for 52 parking spaces to occupy the site, up from the 44 that’s required in Lebanon’s zoning ordinance.

In addition to a community garden, Shapiro also proposed to build a walking trail along the west side of the property, allowing the public to access the forest along its southern end.

Those forests would then fall under a conservation easement that would be granted to the city, according to Stearns’ letter.

A sidewalk connecting the property to Route 10 and a crosswalk that provides access to Sachem Field and James W. Campion Rink are included as well.

Shapiro declined to comment on the development Monday.

Overall, the development is expected to add 26 new cars to peak traffic periods, according to an Oct. 8 study performed by the White River Junction-based Resource Systems Group Inc.

The homes, which Shapiro has said would be leased at “market rate” prices, would add about five students to the school system and net the city $29,800 in taxes — after school and city expenses are calculated in — according to a fiscal impact statement updated on Oct. 13.

It’s unclear how the new plans will be received by neighbors who have balked at Shapiro’s past proposals, saying they could put at risk the area’s residential character. Neighbors who previously raised objections could not be reached for comment this week.

In his letter, Stearns said the project is surrounded on three sides by either homes or commercial uses. He said that open space, which would make up more than 50% of the property, should buffer neighboring houses from the new development.

The Lebanon Planning Board is expected to start its review, including a public hearing, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. People can access Lebanon’s public meetings at Lebanonnh.gov/live.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

Valley News

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