By Dustin Luca firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — HAMPSTEAD — A proposed gas station is expected to get state support, but residents are still fighting to block its approval locally.
Depot Crossing, a project proposed by Depot Development LLC, aims to build a gas station, convenience store and Dunkin’ Donuts at the corner of Derry Road and Main Street (Route 121).
The Planning Board expected to go over the project and its expected state Department of Transportation approval Monday night, Planning Board Chairman Randy Clark said.
But because the project affects two roads, the DOT is splitting its decision into two parts, according to Clark. That decision wasn’t available before the meeting Monday.
Instead of hearing from the state, the Planning Board heard from a room full of residents who aren’t happy about the plans, Clark said.
The hearing went on for two hours. Residents raised “many of the same kind of issues we’ve heard before,” he said.
They voiced concerns over how the project would increase traffic and how much noise it would create, according to Clark.
A similar project at the same location came before the Planning Board in 2002. The board rejected it because it “wasn’t safe to add another traffic generator,” Clark said.
Depot Development took the town to court to overturn the decision, but the court sided with the town.
This time around, the plans are smaller. Depot Development had a traffic study done that showed the station would have little impact on traffic in the area. Clark said a resident may be commissioning a separate traffic study to take a second look.
Partners with Depot Development couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.
The project will require a well to be drilled to provide water to Depot Crossing. Depot Development is waiting on that part of the project until they get Planning Board approval, Clark said.
The well would require state Department of Environmental Services support to move forward, according to Clark.
Until the state’s decision comes in, the Planning Board itself is holding off on making its own decision.
The developers have already made some changes in response to residential concerns. Landscaping was added and the site’s grading was changed to block lights generated by its four gas pumps and Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through.
The project will come before the Planning Board again at its next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 5.