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A House divided

Public support was part of original Loudon House approval, but where was it coming from?

The former Eamonn's Loudon House was an Irish bar that was demolished by BCI construction in 2008 to make way for luxury condominiums. Construction came to a halt after the downturn of the economy but the project has made its way back into the public a developer Mike Benson said he plans to finish the job.

The former Eamonn's Loudon House was an Irish bar that was demolished by BCI construction in 2008 to make way for luxury condominiums. Construction came to a halt after the downturn of the economy but the project has made its way back into the public a developer Mike Benson said he plans to finish the job.

— “Part of the reason why I think the Planning Board approved it was the neighborhood association, the homeowners association at Loudonwood East, supported it,” Sheehan said of the 2007 decision. “The association came and expressed support for the project. … Hayes went through great pains, and it fit into the community character.”

Several residents have recently come out and said the Loudonwood East Homeowners Association does not speak for them, and they have taken up the task of keeping themselves and their neighbors informed of meetings dealing with the development.

Jim and Elizabeth McGuirk, residents of the town who live a stone’s throw from the site, have come out in force against the project.

Elizabeth McGuirk said Hayes came to her door back in 2007 and notified her of the proposed project. She told him that she was not impressed.

“I told him his project was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of,” she said. “I’ve lived here for 45 years. It was a cow pasture before. There are two roads surrounding the condos. I wouldn’t be able to open my windows because of the car fumes.”

Elizabeth McGuirk said she believes the developers then went to the neighborhood associations to get its support. Jim McGuirk said this tactic would make it easier for a politician to hear there is support from the public, but it doesn’t take into consideration actual proximity to the project.

“It’s convenient for the politician to say we talked to an association, but [they] don’t ask the question, ‘What does the association have to do with the project?’” Jim McGuirk said. “The association lives up on Route 9 and near Siena College, and they’re talking about a project across the street from us.”

Jim Leach, current president of the Loudonwood East Homeowners Association, said the association did back the project, but he said he was originally hesitant. At this point, though, he said he just wants to see the project followed through on.

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