EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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August 7, 2013

Neighbors continue to fight proposed Hampstead gas station

HAMPSTEAD — A group of Hampstead residents is still unhappy with a proposal for a new gas station/convenience store.

“It just doesn’t belong here,” said resident Gary Cyr, whose property abuts the proposed site. “There was no reason this plan should have even been discussed.”

Depot Crossing, a project proposed by Depot Development LLC, is a gas station, convenience store and Dunkin’ Donuts at the corner of Derry Road and Main Street (Route 121).

The Planning Board approved the project, 4-2, in November. That was after the Planning Board had denied a similar proposal in 2002.

“This shouldn’t have even been talked about since it was denied,” resident Chad Bennett said. “The only things that were changed was getting rid of an office space and changing some of the siding.”

Bennett holds a unique position, having been elected to the Planning Board in March. When the case is brought up at meetings, he recuses himself.

In response to the Planning Board vote, the 11 residents appealed the decision to Rockingham Superior Court. But the decision was upheld in June and the court denied reconsideration last month. Now, residents are considering taking it to the state Supreme Court.

“It would be nice to bring it there,” Bennett said. “But it costs a lot of money and lawyers to do that.”

Bruce Worthen, who co-owns Depot Development, said they are in wait-and-see mode.

“We feel the court made the right decision,” he said. “But for now we’re just waiting to see what they want to do.”

He maintains the plan is significantly different than the one proposed a decade ago.

“The design of the building and the square footage is different,” he said.

The proposal originally called for a 6,400-square-foot building. The new plan is for a 4,800-square-foot building.

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