June 09, 2015BARNSTEAD — The Barnstead Planning Board met on Thursday, June 4, and the most pressing item on the agenda was a design review of the new Dollar General store going in behind the Barnstead Country Store, which is on the corner of Maple Street and Route 28.
Austin Turner, an engineer from Bohler Engineering and John Scribner, a developer from Lisciotti Development, met with the board to review the site plan for the business.
The board touched on issues such as setbacks for storm water, lighting, fire department access, traffic flow and pedestrian paths.
Planning board secretary Karen Schacht questioned if the developers had met with the fire department regarding access roads all the way around the building.
Turner replied that he had "reached out" to the department, but a meeting had not yet occurred.
There was also some discussion regarding the possibility of a town ordinance requiring sprinklers even when the state does not.
Planning board alternate Chris Carazzo encouraged Turner and Scribner to look into that as well.
Schacht, who is an architect, had some concerns regarding how bright the parking lot lights would be for this location.
She recommended the developers look at a Goodwill property on Route 28 toward Manchester. Schacht stated this was a good example of effective lighting and uniformity.
Schacht also offered to share the contacts of the company that did the lighting for that project if Turner and Scribner were interested.
Chairperson Nancy Carr questioned if they had met with DOT (Department of Transportation) about traffic flow since the entrance and exit for the store will be on Route 28.
Turner replied they had and DOT was comfortable with the current layout.
The meeting was then opened up for the public to have their say, starting with any abutters to the property who wished to speak.
Gail Forrest, who stated she lives diagonally across the street on the north side, said she was pleased to hear there would not be any turn lanes added to the traffic in that area and that she believed that decision was a "win-win" since it was a "tight" and busy area there.
The rest of the public were then invited to speak and Barnstead resident Jimmy Locke spoke up to thank the applicants for showing an interest in Barnstead.
Resident Clark Goodrich also spoke, saying as long as everything was done within the ordinances of the town and state, the planning board should be careful to not "drag their feet and should get this rolling."
Goodrich also saw this business coming in as a positive for the town. He stated he is a "pro business person" and he thinks Barnstead needs retail businesses like Dollar General.
Clark did question, however, why the store chose to build so close to a community who also had a Dollar General already, Epsom in this case.
Turner replied the business sees their stores as part of the community in which they are located. When they look at building in Barnstead they only look at Barnstead and not the surrounding communities since they also recognize they are not the type of store that typically draws people in from other areas.
Carr encouraged the project to keep moving forward saying, "I like what I've seen so far."
Barnstead's capital improvement plan is moving forward and the planning board will be meeting the second and fourth Wednesday of each month for the next several weeks with the various department heads. Meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the town hall and they are looking for volunteers to help. If interested, the planning board asks those interested to contact the town hall.
The planning board meets for a business session every first Thursday of the month in the town hall at 7 p.m.
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