SWANZEY — The planning board is seeking additional information before considering a proposed 84-unit apartment complex on Route 10, having requested that the developer first address several design questions.
At a public hearing April 22, board members asked the Walpole-based Avanru Development Group — which plans to construct two residential buildings at a vacant site near Gomarlo’s Supermarket — to provide a basement floor plan and also obtain land-alteration permitting for the project.
Those steps were among several that Swanzey’s director of planning and economic development, Matthew Bachler, recommended Avanru take before the board reviews its site plan application, according to draft meeting minutes.
Municipal staff also recommended earlier this month that the company add more windows to the apartment buildings, plant a greater variety of trees and shrubs on site, and redesign an intersection at the property to improve fire department access. Avanru President and CEO Jack Franks told the planning board April 22 that his firm had already addressed nearly all staff recommendations and would resolve any remaining issues, according to meeting minutes.
Board members will re-examine the Avanru development at their May 13 meeting, provided the company takes the steps that members requested last week, Bachler said Tuesday. The board could consider Avanru’s site plan at that time or schedule a hearing for a later date, he said.
Franks has said the Route 10 apartments would help address the local housing shortage, which he argued has discouraged economic growth. (The rental vacancy rate in Cheshire County was 1.9 percent last year, according to the independent state agency N.H. Housing — well below what experts consider healthy.) All of the buildings’ 84 units would be offered at affordable rates, Franks told town officials in February.
Local residents have criticized the development proposal, however, saying it would tarnish the area’s rural character and reduce their property values.
Swanzey’s zoning board of adjustment advanced the project last month, granting it a special exception. The development needed that exception because it is in the business district, which does not otherwise allow multi-family homes.