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July 31. 2014 11:50PM

Developer Anagnost sues city over parking lot denial

MANCHESTER — A dispute between the developer of the Elliot at River Edge’s medical complex and the city Planning Board has spilled into the legal arena.

Developer Dick Anagnost has sued the city over the board’s denial in April of his proposal to use a parcel of land adjacent to River’s Edge as a parking lot from which employees would be shuttled to the Millyard.

The suit is pending in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

The Planning Board had already approved the use of the parcel, on Hancock Street immediately east of the medical complex, for a residential building that would cater to patients and their families. Anagnost said the residential project has been put on hold and is considered a final phase in the build out of River’s Edge. In the meantime, he wants to use the 47-space parking lot component of the development for a shuttle service to the Millyard.

However, a majority of Planning Board members voted against the plan. Their main objections were that the parking lot was inconsistent with the larger River’s Edge “planned development area”; that it lacked proper screening features, such as sidewalks and landscaping; and that it would produce traffic that would affect the nearby residential neighborhood and create safety hazards.

Planning Board member Jim Roy led the opposition at a meeting in March.

“This board can’t grant something that’s temporary,” Roy said. “I’m concerned about this being a parking lot in perpetuity.”

Roy did not return a call for comment earlier this week.

In the lawsuit, Anagnost’s attorney, John Cronin, argues that the board did not give Anagnost a “meaningful opportunity” to address the concerns raised about the proposal and that the board arbitrarily rejected it by citing its “temporary” nature.

In its response to the suit, the city Solicitor’s Office rejected the claims.

City attorney Peter Chiesa said he was limited in what he could say about pending litigation, but he maintained that the Planning Board’s decision was “both legal and reasonable.”

Anagnost said he wants to use the lot in conjunction with a shuttle service his company has started that ferries employees in the Millyard from seven other satellite lots in the downtown vicinity.

Demand for parking in the Millyard has increased in recent years as companies have expanded there.

Anagnost said operating the shuttle facilitates that growth.

“Without a doubt, this will spur economic development downtown and in the Millyard,” he said of parking lot shuttle service.

tsiefer@unionleader.com


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