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Above downtown streets, Concord committee is trying to make development add up

It all comes back to the numbers.

That refrain set the tone for last night’s meeting of the upper-floor redevelopment committee, which is studying development in the upper stories of downtown Concord and Penacook. Convened this year by Mayor Jim Bouley, the committee asked property owners last night for input on how to encourage projects in underused spaces above the street.

“It’s really the goal to make it easier, whether it be commercial or residential, to revitalize the downtown as best we can,” Bouley said.

Some ideas, such as cutting down on the time it takes to get building permits or re-evaluating the city’s charges for impact fees, would have to happen in city hall. Others, such as encouraging local banks to more actively encourage redevelopment projects downtown, would not be in the hands of Concord officials.

“I find the city can’t always have the ability to do something,” Bouley said. “But we have the ability to stand up on the bully pulpit and yell loudly.”

Not many came to listen last night, however. The city sent invitations to 90 building owners and developers; only a handful showed up to the meeting. Among the attendees were staff members from CATCH Neighborhood Housing.

Ward 7 Councilor Keith Nyhan questioned CATCH President Rosemary Heard about upper-story housing in Concord’s downtown.

“Is there a desire in the community? Do people come to you and say, ‘How do we do this?’ ” Nyhan asked. “Or is this a pipe dream?”

“I think there absolutely is a desire to have more housing options in the downtown,” Heard said. “Trying to make the numbers work is the dilemma.”

Arthur Aznive, whose family owns several Concord buildings, said the cost of buying property and renovating it becomes too expensive to turn a profit.

“Everything basically comes down to money,” Aznive said. “You talk about taking a building and renovating it so it meets code so the fire department’s happy and the city’s happy and the landlord’s gotta be happy, and suddenly it doesn’t work. . . . People are not going to invest where they’re not going to make any money.”

Building codes are guided by state statutes, but building owner Mark Ciborowski suggested the city could restructure its own system of impact fees for building projects. He also zeroed in on the issue of parking, saying the tenants for quality downtown housing would expect to have their own parking spaces.

“The numbers (to build a parking garage) don’t work for a private developer,” Ciborowski said. “That’s where the city does need to step in as a municipality.”

In Penacook, building owner Beth Gabrielli said she wanted to convert vacant commercial space at 316-322 Village St. into five more apartments. The renovations, however, would have been too expensive.

“We would have needed to put a commercial sprinkler system throughout the building,” she said. “That itself was high, costwise. That didn’t include the price of renovations.

“We would put housing in there if financially it was feasible. It just didn’t make sense, the numbers.”

The numbers could make more sense, Heard said, if local banks got more involved. She suggested tapping local financial institutions to help projects with supportive financing and creative solutions, such as buying tax credits dedicated to projects involving historic properties.

“To me, it makes sense to keep it in the downtown, to keep it in the local lenders,” Heard said. “This is just a lending pool. This is our banking community coming together to support something that is really fresh and innovative.”

Bouley said the committee would continue to hear ideas about the upper floors.

“We’re struggling as a committee to figure out what the answer is,” Bouley said.

In coming months, the committee will likely meet twice more and write a report for the city council with specific recommendations to improve development upstairs in Concord and Penacook. Presentation materials and meeting minutes for the upper-floor redevelopment committee are available at concordnh.gov.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

Legacy Comments13

For businesses, no free, easily accessible parking is a deal killer. All other factors being equal,I would rather do business where I'm not hassled by parking meters, or these stupid kiosks, where you lock your car, walk to pay, walk back and unlock the car, so you can put the ticket on the dash, which then falls into the defroster, and finally go about your business, while playing beat the clock. Visits to government offices and lawyers are always a bother, because you don't know if they are for five minutes or five hours. As far as living downtown, I'd love to consider it; if there is reasonably priced parking 24/7. The price of the apartment/ condo added to the price of parking has to make sense. You need a car; this is Concord, NH, it ain't Boston or Toronto; buses and subways don't go everywhere, every five minutes, and as far as I know, there is no Zip Car franchise in Concord.

Hey, My e-mail to ALL the City Councilors yesterday * got not one reply of even the courtesy of them having received it, let alone of to talk about how their appointed City Manager Aspell who in turn hires the City Assessing Director Temchack who does totally ignore the fact that "they"/ The City had a P.I.L.O.T. with the Feds years and decades ago, of in effect saying to the owners who pay property taxes, of to heck with you owners, of we will NOT comply with the law by RSA Ch. 123:1 to send Uncle Sam / the Feds a property tax bill even when they FAIL to provide the paperwork for to get only their land exempt by RSA 123:2. Or in other words: The City to keep the taxes jacked up on everybody while letting Uncle Sam get away with not paying their over $2 million on their $100 million non-assessed but appraised http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taj_Mahal * = And phone calls to two councilors of one saying that I do not work in his ward of to try another who said the first one was wrong, and even so of that I be not a resident and so have no official gripe of he, in effect, could not care less about those within his ward of thus paying more than their fair share. Plus those of us in the surrounding towns paying more in that County slice of the property tax pie too. So this looking for tax breaks while letting Uncle Sam off the hook is absurd! These City Councilors being officials supposedly took the RSA 42:1 + 92:2 oaths to obey the law, but allow their employees to evade the law! Why doesn't some property tax payer file a claim on their RSA 93-B:1-5 "faithful performance" bond of each one insured for up to $100,000 and get the COPs to prosecute these Councilors who act illegally as against this statute put on the books by Legislators like Councilor Candace Bouchard who wears these two hats, but is two-faced of like her just talking into a mirror to herself!

Joe, your letters are so long, maybe they haven't finished reading it yet. Sorry, had to say it.

Good one.

Bloseph, Problem is, there's no ebb & flow to any of your messages. It's full-on tsunami, every single time, which is no day at the beach for anyone. Don't blame them for turning you off. Time to get real and tone it down...several notches. Question is, can you? I have my doubts.

Thanks to rhe49 too, of your replies remind me of: "The title comes from an incident that took place during the 1948 Presidential election campaign. In Bremerton, Washington, Truman delivered a speech attacking the Republicans. During the speech a supporter yelled out "Give 'em Hell, Harry!". Truman replied, "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell." Subsequently, "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" became a lifetime slogan for Truman supporters. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Give_%27em_Hell,_Harry! Maybe they need a surfboard? If over $25 in value of forbidden by law, so gotta be a used one from a Yard Sale.

BSHaas, But you're not President Truman. You're not even Truman Capote. You're just a local nut-job, who appears to be in need of some serious professional help.

But he could be the heir to an avocado empire, we will never know.

Thank you Dr. Dirt, of prescribing just what the sociopaths want of to indoctrinate others with their extreme denials of the truth. You're like a mushroom needing shade and so tie on the blinders so as to try to avoid too much truth. How pathetic is that of always commenting on with worthless dribble of like never getting down to brass tacks.* The "legal profession" would probably agree with you of that when somebody rubs them the wrong way by saying that they are not lawful that instead of getting a diagnosis from a jury they merely dismiss it off as the antics of a raving lunatic. Unfortunately for them it's not a full moon day as their lies continue to be combatted until they either 'Wise Up" on the outside or need to be put into jail of being forced to be corrected to what is the truth. The force being of to have to concentrate on what IS the law, not what they think it is or ought to be as in their custom over-ride of such. In other words they of who deny the truth are like The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandering_Jew of they never are there at the harvest of having taken to be the mocking crow ending up becoming a scavenger, like not even trying to that of digesting words from here but http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/regurgitating such of like vomit to your brethren of they welcome your daily doses of contempt for the law! to which you ought to run for office like them too as they seem to enjoy that the masses take pleasure in their arrogance.

BlosephSHass, I got your BRASS TACKS right here, pal. Everyone should check out the following CM article, written by Annmarie Timmins; "Meet Joe Haas...And Be Careful!". I hope this satisfies your penchant for TRUTH from me, Bloseph....lol. Like I said, you're just a local nut-job. ..........................................................http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/meet-joe-haas-and-be-careful

Hey Larry, You're calling that "BRASS TACKS" is WRONG, in that is only the tip of the iceberg, of errors therein that I do thank you for the opportunity to correct now to some degree. (1) the 62-days was not for the assault of the tax collector, it was for the contempt of court charge for supposedly not paying the 10% tax/ penalty assessment on top of the fine that was paid as proven at the bank as pre-paid to then Clerk Paul Gruber who was subsequently indicted for felony fraud; BTW Marie's husband works for the A.G.'s office and so the slant at not anti-gov't, but what people call the C.I.G.'s: Criminal Elements In Government, of I could go on with other errors in detail but will try to stick with the issue here of property taxes mostly, but to get the others out of the way first: (2) Bill Vickers was also investigated into the bombing but that the only connection we had was our joint testimony against Judge John C. Fairbanks at the time of going after one of the "Brothers of The Bar" and so this retaliation, (3) not "legal" money", but "lawful" money, (4) the stun gun case involved the judge not answering the jury correctly by the Jury Instruction # of they've been in "Draft" form for too long: over 25 years now! of it about time to become adopted! that case is on line too and in that a "set-up" is an inducement is an entrapment, (5) my NOT truck, BUT car was parked next to the State Library that night because it was leaking oil, and so onto the leaves that of when the City Street Sweeper was on "vacation"; i.e." What's orange and sleeps six?" (;-), (6) of all servants (public private) have got to obey the "forward" master too (see the Bible on this), (7) the violation by Ayotte on the Bretton case was that of the "Speedy Trial Rule" of 4 months of: figures don't lie, but that liars figure, I merely made reference to The Plague and Pharaoh, (8) judge opinions based on when the process to get them the evidence is crooked makes the judges of bad in quality to their quantity, (9) praise be to Kirby J. Hensley of Modesto, CA for his U.L.C./ Universal Life Church in telling the gov't what we will donate for services rendered like a gov't collection plate! (;-) , (10) more case law of when the judge changes the position of the parties in a preliminary injunction he makes the court/ the State a party-to-extortion, of thus the thief to restore sevenfold per Proverbs 6:30-31 as cited in RSA Ch. 651:63 for restitution by the Blackstone's Commentaries through the State v. Fleming case annotated there for 1984, (11) check out how long it took http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zerubbabel to build the Temple, plus (12) of: "I'm angry now, but I'm not angry enough to do something like Carl Drega.'" nor The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Abbeville,_South_Carolina_right-of-way_standoff aka The "Abbeville Horror" with Rita Bixby from Warren, N.H. of you can ask Judge Dalianis about this. (;-) But like I wrote of this property subsidization we have now is against what Rose & Milton Friedman wrote about back in 1980 of it about time "you people" do "Wise Up", of reminds me of the old German saying of: "Too soon old, to late smart", but then of better late than never. Thanks again.

blah, blah, bleeping blah...tell it to the judge, Bloseph.

Shot a police officer with a stun gun (lucky for you cop didn't shoot back with a real gun), assault after assault, person of interest regarding pipe bombs, threatened death to Kelly Ayotte's newborn baby...you're quite a guy, Bloseph.

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