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Monday, August 25, 2014

If a development doesn’t allow children, should it have to help pay for schools?

NASHUA – The developer marketing 17 new residential units on Pine Hill Road is asking the city to waive more than $8,000 worth of school impact fees for the project.

Nashua native Randy Turmel, the developer behind Stinson Park Condominium at 65 Pine Hill Road, submitted a fee waiver petition for the age-restricted housing project earlier this month. ...

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NASHUA – The developer marketing 17 new residential units on Pine Hill Road is asking the city to waive more than $8,000 worth of school impact fees for the project.

Nashua native Randy Turmel, the developer behind Stinson Park Condominium at 65 Pine Hill Road, submitted a fee waiver petition for the age-restricted housing project earlier this month.

Wedged between the Nashua Airport and Saint Stanislaus Cemetery, Stinson Park is being built in the area formerly known as Pulaski Park. The 4.9-acre parcel was previously owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. It was sold to Turmel for $600,000 in 2012.

The new development includes 15 single-family, detached condominiums and two residential units situated together in a duplex building.

The condominiums are aimed at people 55 and older and designed to facilitate “aging in place” through architectural and construction features, such as single-level living and
community services.

Plans call for a community building that will be the hub of social life for residents, offering a kitchen and hosting continuing education programs and counseling services.

In addition to paying property taxes, residential developers are required to pay the city a one-time impact fee for each new housing unit.

The money is intended to support capital costs at city schools.

To date, three of the single-family units at Stinson Park have been sold and the developer has pending purchase and sale agreements for four others.

A website for the project indicates units are selling in the range of $228,900 to $269,900.

The developer is currently obligated to pay the city school impact fees totaling $497.50 per unit. The project would generate fees totalling $8,457.50 once all units are sold.

To date, Turmel’s company has paid $1,990.

However, under Nashua’s land use codes, an applicant may petition the Board of Aldermen for a full or partial waiver of the fees if a development includes elderly housing and isn’t likely to require additional educational facilities.

Turmel’s company exercised that option Aug. 6, submitting a petition through attorney J. Bradford Westgate of Winer and Bennett, LLP asking for the city to waive all school impact fees and return the money that was already paid.

To support the request, Westgate cited a 2013 study of age-restricted communities in the area that found an average of .013 children resided in the developments.

Extrapolating from the data, Westgate argued the city can expect zero or one school-age child to reside in Stinson Park.

“There are currently no school age children residing in the Community and given the nature of the units, the Community and the regulations of housing for older persons, it is unlikely that school age children will reside in the units,” the petition reads.

Stinson Park is among Nashua’s first age-restricted communities, a designation included in Nashua’s land use codes for developments in which at least 80 percent of the units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 or older.

Nashua aldermen previously agreed to waive roughly $42,000 worth of school impact fees for Hayden Green, another age-restricted project being constructed by Etchstone Properties and developer Kevin Slattery.

As of two years ago, Stinson Park was expected to cost in the range of $3.5 million to develop.

Turmel acquired the land from Saint Aloysius of Gonzaga Parish, which had struggled to come up with the money to maintain the area and two buildings on the grounds.

Turmel, who has been involved with local real estate sales, land acquisition, subdivision approval and building in Greater Nashua for more than 26 years, said previously that Stinson Park is one of his largest projects to date. Some of his past projects included involvement with Gilcrest Farms Adult Living Community in Litchfield and Mission Pointe Adult Community in Hudson.

City planning staff estimated in 2012 that 77 percent of the property would remain open space.

The city’s Community Development Division and Planning Board will review the petition for a waiver of school impact fees and send written findings to the mayor and aldermen.

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).