EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

June 11, 2014

State Supreme Court supports Hampstead gas station

HAMPSTEAD — The state Supreme Court has given a green light to a contentious gas station project first approved by town officials two years ago.

Depot Crossing, a gas station, convenience store and coffee shop project at the corner of Derry Road and Main Street (Route 121), was approved by Hampstead’s Planning Board in November 2012.

But neighbors appealed that decision. A Rockingham Superior Court judge denied reconsideration of the project a year ago. The neighbors appealed again, this time to the state Supreme Court. But the state’s high court reaffirmed the lower court’s decision on May 21.

“We’re happy that the Supreme Court ruled the way they did,” said David Rayment, an attorney representing developer Bruce Worthen.

The 11 neighbors were represented by Joshua Gordon, who argued the proposal was similar to one rejected by the town a decade earlier.

The high court disagreed.

This plan is for a one-story building, not two, and it’s about 1,500 square feet smaller, the court ruling said.

The court also highlighted that the building had been redesigned to look like a railroad depot building, which fit the historical use of the area.

“The Supreme Court agreed with us that there was plenty of evidence on the record to suggest this was a different project,” Rayment said.

The appeal also challenged the accuracy of a traffic study done for the project.

Again, the Supreme Court supported the lower court’s ruling.

“The Superior Court’s role is not to determine whether it agrees with the board’s finding, but whether there is evidence upon which they could have been reasonably based,” the decision read. “We cannot conclude that the Superior Court’s decision ... was either unsupported by the evidence or legally erroneous.”

Neither Gordon nor the neighbors could be reached for comment yesterday.

Rayment said he wasn’t involved in the project prior to the recent appeals and wasn’t sure what the next step for the project was. Worthen couldn’t be reached for comment.

“As far as I know, everything is in line,” Rayment said. “And they’ll proceed based on their schedule.”

Depot Development Decision

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