By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — With funding from the Laconia Area Community Land Trust at hand and a special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustments, the Gilford Village Knoll III is scheduled to break ground in 2017.
Aside from a few technical questions regarding mapping and easements, the four ZBA members who granted the special exception appeared totally supportive of the project that will add 24 one-bedroom apartments to the community to be expressly used for low-income seniors.
According to designer Peter Howard, the third phase of the project was granted a special exception in 2011, but since it has expired, they had to reappear before the Zoning Board.
He said the Planning Board had already given its blessing with the caveat that he get the special exception, and approvals from the Historic Commission and the Conservation Commission and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Science. The last two are necessary, said Howard, because there will be some minimum wetlands disturbance. All but the final go ahead from the DES are in place.
There was only one question voiced during the public comment period by Potter Hill resident Roger Perry who wanted to know why low-income senior housing is good for Gilford. He asked about taxes and using the resources of the police and fire departments.
Village Knolls Chairman of the Board Tony Ferruolo said the agency pays taxes according to a formula set by the state. In addition, when asked why residency can't be restricted to Gilford residents, Land Trust president Sal Howard said that the Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits that. Ferruolo noted that nearly all of the people who live in Village Knolls I and II are either from Gilford or have adult children who live in Gilford. He said that most others are from Laconia and Meredith.
Howard said their first marketing effort once the units are built could be in Gilford but Ferruolo said there is a waiting list of about 60 people or couples who want to live at the Village Knolls in either one of the existing apartments or one of the new ones to be constructed.
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