Lyme Road housing project resumes with modified location

The proposed apartments — which would house 400 undergraduate students — will be relocated across Lyme Road to the north end of the golf course.

by Daniel Modesto | 6/23/22 1:05pm

by Caroline Kramer / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The College announced on Thursday that the housing project on Lyme Road — a proposal to create undergraduate housing on Garipay Fields, around 30 minutes north of Baker-Berry Library by foot — will move forward, with one substantial change: The proposed apartments will relocate west, across Lyme Road, to the north end of the former golf course and Pine Park. 

The College intends to build three apartment-style buildings with 128 units. According to the announcement, this would house approximately 400 undergraduate students or 300 graduate and professional students. 

The original proposal, announced in January, was met with criticism from different community members. The Garipay Neighborhood Association sent a letter to the College outlining environmental impacts and community disruptions to the area, while students and faculty expressed concerns about its distance from campus. Fueled by these concerns, faculty members voted 89-4 to pause further development during the annual winter term faculty meeting in February.

Following the faculty vote, the College held sessions with faculty members and other members of the community, such as the Garipay Neighbors Association and the Pine Park Association, according to vice president of campus services and institutional projects Josh Keniston. These conversations provided “good reflections on how Dartmouth land interacts with the community” and how the College should think about subsequent developments, Keniston said. 

While the west side of Lyme Road wasn’t initially considered for the housing project — as it had been designated for future academic use by the Planning for Possibilities strategic framework — Keniston said that the College’s planners “reengaged” on how to utilize the west side of Lyme Road. The College now plans to utilize the area for both academic and residential use moving forward.

In the announcement, the College noted that the Lyme Road apartments will be able to house students while ensuring “flexibility to renew existing undergraduate housing stock over the next 15 years.”

Although the new location is slightly further away from campus than the original proposal, it is walking distance from a Co-op Food Store and Hanover Fire Department, according to executive vice president Rick Mills. Mills said that this development is “significant” since students would be able to buy groceries easily, as opposed to being far away from a Co-op.

“Being further up on Lyme Road from a livability standpoint is almost better than being closer in but not directly in the core of campus, because if you [were at] the southern end of the golf course, you wouldn’t actually be that near campus, nor would you be near places where you can buy milk and eggs and bacon,” Mills said.

According to Keniston, the Board of Trustees voted in their June meeting on the direction of the College’s plan and approved $3 million for design and permitting work. 

The College will hear feedback from the community in the form of structured community meetings, the first of which will be on July 11, according to Keniston. Future meetings throughout the summer will discuss other topics, including recreational spaces and sustainability in the Lyme Road apartments, Keniston added. 

In particular, Keniston said the College is interested in receiving feedback from students who have lived in the Summit at Juniper apartments, noting that the Lyme Road apartments will be “very similar” to those offered at the Juniper apartments in terms of the “lived experience, apartment style housing and the types of amenities [offered].”

After receiving feedback from the community and finalizing design elements for the apartments, the College will start the permitting process with the town of Hanover in the late summer or early fall, Keniston said. When construction begins will be contingent on the permitting process.

Mills said that given the current housing crisis, the plan is a way for the College to move forward, noting that he doesn’t think there will ever be a universally accepted proposal for housing on Lyme Road.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to find a plan that everyone says ‘this is perfect,’” he said. “[The current plan] is a good aspiration and it’s certainly what we’re trying to shoot for. But inherently the moving ahead is going to involve compromises by all parties on what can work, and it just feels like we’re at that point.”

Correction appended (June 23, 6:25 p.m.): This article has been updated to clarify that the proposed apartments are located 30 minutes away from Baker-Berry Library by foot. 

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