EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 11, 2012

Hampstead planners OK controversial gas station plan

By Dustin Luca dluca@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAMPSTEAD — A gas station proposal that’s been 10 years in the making finally was given the green light last week by the Planning Board.

Depot Crossing, a project proposed by Depot Development LLC, calls for build 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, Planning Board Chairman Randy Clark said.

The project also received state Department of Transportation approval.

There is some fine print in the Planning Board’s decision. Any future changes to the use or size of the building must come before the Planning Board for approval, according to Clark.

“The vote still requires them to get approval for a well, which they’re going to drill and test, and, after that, get approval from the (state) Department of Environmental Services,” Clark said.

The timeframe for that approval isn’t known. Clark said the well could be drilled before the ground freezes, but that would require quick approval from the DES.

Even then, construction would not likely start until next year.

During the final hearing, attorneys representing the project’s partners and neighbors fighting the plans argued over a variety of topics, including the station’s traffic impact, effects on crime, impacts on property values and more.

The proposal first appeared before the Planning Board in 2002 as a two-story building, which included the current amenities and also second-floor office space, according to Clark.

That plan was rejected, appealed to court and stood.

Now, the project is smaller and has been redesigned to look like a train stop that used to be down the road.

Partners with Depot Development and an attorney representing neighbors to the project couldn’t be reached for comment.