Too many apartments in Milford?

MILFORD – A large new apartment complex has been proposed for land behind Burger King, and the new selectmen’s chairman is not sure Milford needs more apartments.

At the board’s March 23 meeting Joia Hughes, representing Red Oak Apartment Homes LLC, asked selectmen to apply for a state grant.

Red Oak has proposed building a mix of affordable and luxury units on 25 acres off Capron Road.

“We have over a thousand apartments in town already,” said Mark Fougere. “As far as lower income … Milford has gone above and beyond and adding more units concerns me a little, especially when it’s 75 percent set aside (for lower income units).”

Hughes defined “low income” as 50 or 60 percent of the area medium income of $93,800.

According to plans brought to the Planning Board in February, the complex would be in four buildings located not far from two other large apartment complexes, now called Milford Trails and Eastern Trails, and formerly known as Woodland Heights and Laurel Hill.

There would be about 126 units, with 90 affordable.

Other selectmen noted the heavy traffic in the area.

“I see another signal needed for Nashua Street” if more apartments are built, said Kathy Bauer, and Fougere noted the limited sidewalks.

The grant application process would be similar to the one the town went through for the Pine Valley Mill apartments, Community Development Director Bill Parker told selectmen. The town is the agency that has to apply for the Community Development Block Grant.

Plans would have to go before the Conservation Commission, the Zoning Board, the Planning Board, with several public hearings, including one for the state grant. Parker said the apartments would provide housing for seniors and many different kinds of families.

Ron Dupont, president of Red Oak, told the Planning Board in February that the luxury apartments would rent for about $1,500, would be about 1,200 square feet and would likely have granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, central air conditioning and in-unit washer/driers.

Prices would likely shift upward, he said, because “we are going into the most dynamic economy of my lifetime.”

The affordable units would start at $723 for a one-bedroom, including heat and hot water, with eligibility based on household income. The development would be built with low-income tax credits provided by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

Having a mix of high-end and affordable apartments has proven to be a good idea across the country, said Dupont, who bought the two other apartment complexes a few years ago, refurbished them and renamed them.

Fougere was voted chairman and sworn in at the March 23 meeting. Kevin Federico is the new vice chairman.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or
kcleveland@cabinet.com.