MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Thursday, the Manchester Planning Board opted to continue the public hearing on a site plan review for the proposed Wellington Heights housing development, continued until their next meeting in May.
The development, proposed on 81 lots in between Radburn Way and Smyth Road will have 305 dwelling units and 610 parking spaces if approved, located off what is now an unpaved emergency extension of Radburn Road ending on Smyth Road, which would connect Wellington Road with Smyth Road through Edward J. Roy Drive.
Last week development applicant Torrington Properties received variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals after no action was taken on the request for variances last fall.
Over the past several months, representatives of Torrington Properties told the board they held meetings with neighbors, with attorney John Cronin telling the Planning Board that Torrington Properties has agreed to rent 12 units at 80 percent of the regional average median income for a period of 30 years and was also open to adding bike lanes into the project.
Ward 2 Alderman Will Stewart, who represents the area on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, told the applicant that he would only support the proposed development included the paved extension of Radburn Drive to Smyth Road, creating a second route of egress for residents of neighborhoods off Edward J. Roy Drive.
Several residents of Smyth Road and other nearby streets expressed concern about increased traffic from the extended Radburn Road as well as impacts to property values on Smyth Road and safety issues. Specifically, the traffic concerns revolved around motorists using the new extension as a cut-through between Smyth Road and Wellington Road, as well as potential traffic concerns further down Wellington Road near Exit 1 on Route 101.
The Smyth Road residents expressed concern about the traffic study presented by the applicant, which was conducted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Planning Board Vice Chairman Sean Sargent indicated that his concerns regarding the traffic study were allayed due to its thoroughness, given that it is 27 pages long and projected likely traffic amounts under normal circumstances.