News Column

School tax waiver, performing arts venue on Nashua meeting agendas this week

September 2, 2014

By Dean Shalhoup, The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.

Sept. 02--NASHUA -- With the holiday weekend behind them, city officials are getting right back to work on Tuesday, starting at 8:30 a.m. with the testing process for ballots for the Sept. 9 primary elections then convening a 7 p.m. meeting of the Planning and Economic Development Committee to take up two ongoing issues.

Scheduled to come before the committee are a petition to exempt residents of a proposed 55-plus condominium community from paying the public schools portion of their property tax bills and a resolution that would authorize the city to begin requesting proposals for a future performing arts venue and movie theater atop the Elm Street and High Street parking garages.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the aldermanic chamber.

The petition, presented to the Board of Aldermen in August by attorney Brad Westgate on behalf of the project known as Stinson Park Condominiums, asks for the tax waiver because, Westgate wrote, the development is considered "an elderly housing community" and is thereby eligible for tax and impact fees relief under the City Land Use Code because the housing "can be reasonably expected not to require additional educational facilities."

Westgate also produced to aldermen a compilation of about 15 "55-plus" communities in the area, which shows that only 10 school-age children live in all 773 units combined, or a percentage of 0.13 per unit.

Further, children are listed at only two of the communities in the study -- The Mews in Nashua and Sparkling River in Hudson -- which have 7 and 3 children respectively.

The project itself is also scheduled to come before the city Planning Board when it meets on Thursday.

Also on the board's agenda is a site plan for the redevelopment and reconstruction of a Dunkin' Donuts at 119 E. Hollis St.; a Verizon Wireless request to amend a plan to replace a telecommunications tower and complete site improvements on Whipple Street; and an application by the city to replace Nashua Fire Rescue's existing training area at the Four Hills Landfill with a mobile training facility.

That application is tied to a pending resolution that calls for the acceptance of a roughly $450,000Department of Homeland Security grant "for the purpose of purchasing a tactical training prop" that would be constructed at the landfill, according to the resolution.

The deal requires the city to contribute 10 percent of the grant, which would have to be approved by the full Board of Aldermen.

As for the performing arts venue and movie theater resolution, the measure was tabled about two months ago after getting an initial reading.

In mid-August, officials stepped up their plan to spur new development in the area of the two garages, calling for proposals to build the arts venue or possibly a new hotel.

Also brought up was the possibility of a mixed-use development that would include residential housing.

At the time, aldermen authorized Mayor Donnalee Lozeau to work with the city's business development board to draft a request for proposals. The idea was first floated earlier this year by Alderman at Large Jim Donchess, who said at the time he wanted to revamp the area in hopes of attracting new activity.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or Also follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).


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Source: Telegraph (Nashua, NH)

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