To the Editor,

Over the last several weeks I have been attending the Zoom meetings discussing affordable housing options for Manchester and after careful consideration I do not consider the SLV proposal a viable option.  I agree that the town must offer more affordable housing but the SLV project on the far side of 128 has far too many issues including damage to the environment, negative impacts on the town’s infrastructure and traffic, as well as segregating residents from the rest of the town. 

The SLV plan includes a single, steep road in and out of the housing project. Such a road would hamper emergency services access and the lack of sidewalks and distance from the town would be risky for the children residing there who would be attending school and other events on the opposite side of 128.

All runoff, including but not limited to snow clearance, and most especially salt would negatively affect the vernal ponds, conservation lands and wildlife in that area such as the wood frog, beaver, and most especially the endangered blue spotted salamander. 

In addition, I understand that Shingle Hill has a history, and this construction would involve blasting the ledge and rock, clearing the forest, and trampling the lands where the indigenous Algonquin once lived.

There is another option that would be far less disruptive to wildlife and the environment; a location already exists and would require only a few upgrades; a location that would be more inclusive for its residents given that it is a short walking distance from the center of town, the schools, the harbor, the beach, the train station, shopping, dining and other amenities; a location that would reduce the need to drive and, consequently, reduce noise pollution, air pollution and traffic congestion.  The Powder House Lane location already exists and its residents would have only a 50 percent median salary requirement, as opposed to the 80 percent requirement of the SLV project. 

North Shore Community Development Coalition is a LOCAL non-profit business that, unlike SLV, is focused on finding affordable housing not on making money.  Their recommendation of the Powder House Lane project would cost only $4 million as opposed to SLV’s $69 million project.

Having weighed all the Pros and Cons I respectfully and fervently urge the Board of Selectman NOT to endorse the SLV project. 

Karen Bennett, Manchester