Plaistow and Atkinson officials agreed last night to prevent a controversial site from being considered for a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority train station in New Hampshire.
The agreement comes after talks between the two towns and the state, after the state said it would not provide money for a feasibility study if there was not support from both towns.
Plaistow officials have been hoping to bring the commuter rail and a layover station into town for many years. State transportation officials had previously approved spending $659,000 for a feasibility study to determine a possible location. The agreement prevents the Westville Homes site on the border of Atkinson and Plaistow from being studied.
The agreement was passed by a 4-1 vote by the Plaistow selectmen, with Daniel Poliquin being the lone dissenter. Atkinson selectmen unanimously voted in favor of the agreement.
Despite the majority vote, Plaistow selectmen made their displeasure with the process known to Executive Councilor Christopher Sununu before signing the agreement at their weekly meeting.
“We thought we had an agreement with the Department of Transportation that this would go forward.” said Plaistow Selectman John Sherman. “We were caught a bit off guard with these additional stipulations.”
While many of the Plaistow selectmen wanted a study to be done to determine whether the Westville site was feasible, Sununu maintained that it would be a waste of time and money to study a site that is not a real possibility.
“We have removed the risk of failure for a project that you want to see go forward,” Sununu said. “The facts that the state has in its possession is that the site will never happen for a layover station. I don’t want to go forward with a study that may say it is and be doomed to failure.”
In addition to the Westville Homes site, the Pen Box site on Main Street will also not be considered as part of the study.