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Nashua hospital plans parking lot expansion

Union Leader Correspondent

April 03. 2013 10:46PM

NASHUA - Southern New Hampshire Medical Center is planning to build a new parking lot on Prospect Street, but it is still hoping to lease a city-owned parking lot currently being sought by CVS pharmacy.

"These are two separate parking issues, really," said Scott Cote, chief information officer for the hospital.

Next week, the Nashua Zoning Board of Adjustment will review a plan by Southern New Hampshire Medical Center seeking to demolish a home at 20 Prospect St. and convert the property into a new parking lot.

According to Cote, the hospital purchased the house about six or seven months ago with the intention of converting it into a parking lot that would connect with an existing parking lot near Lamprey Health Care.

If approved, the new parking lot will add about 35 to 40 parking spaces that will primarily be used by hospital staff, which will essentially free up other parking spots for patients, Cote said on Wednesday.

There are currently about 75 parking spaces at the existing parking lot.

The newest parking plans will be presented to the zoning board on Tuesday, as a variance is required by the Nashua Land Use Code to allow for at least 35 percent of open space on the property.

"The general public will be served by the (hospital) providing additional parking to accommodate patients that require varying degrees of treatment. Medical services are in constant demand," says the planning file on record at Nashua City Hall.

The parking proposal will also need to be approved by the Nashua City Planning Board, according to Matt Taylor, deputy planning manager for the city. He anticipates the site plan to be reviewed by the board on May 2.

Meanwhile, Cote said the hospital is still leasing - on a month-to-month basis - a city-owned parking lot at the corner of East Hollis Street and Hospital Drive for overflow parking. The hospital has leased the lot for more than 20 years.

However, the nearby CVS pharmacy is hoping to expand its pharmacy and utilize the city-owned parking lot.

Last fall, a proposed resolution was submitted to the Board of Aldermen asking the city to enter into a ground lease agreement with CVS for the 80-space parking lot.

The proposal seeks a 25-year lease agreement with CVS, which includes four five-year options.

The monthly lease fee starts at $40,000 for the first five-year period, and increases in $5,000 increments for each five-year period thereafter.

The resolution is currently tabled in an aldermanic committee.

"We are optimistic that we can still work something out to resolve this," Cote said this week.

The controversial parking lot is important to the hospital because it is located at the north entrance of the hospital, according to Cote, who said it is used by many outpatients on a daily basis. Several representatives from the city, CVS and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center met last November to further study the sensitive parking issue.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said earlier that other possibilities are being explored that will hopefully resolve the situation. Without going into specifics, she said discussions are ongoing to find a solution.

Cote echoed her comments, saying Wednesday that he remains hopeful an agreement can be reached that will please everyone involved.

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