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Family Dollar store proposed on Main Street 2 houses would be torn down

June 23, 2011
LANCASTER — A proposal to tear down the houses located at 181 and 185 Main Street (Routes 2 and 3, so that JDH Capital of Charlotte, N. C., can clear space to build a new 9,000-square-foot Family Dollar Store received its first airing at a June 8 informational meeting in front of the Lancaster Planning Board.

Donald Bouchard and Andrew Nadeau of Horizons Engineering of Littleton represented JDH Capital. Nadeau, a Planning Board member, surveyor, and part-owner of Horizons, recused himself and then assisted Bouchard in making the presentation.

According to the minutes, Bouchard said that this preliminary meeting was designed to introduce himself and the project to the Planning Board and to gather any questions and concerns that should be addressed in its final proposal.

The two buildings that JDH Capital plans to purchase and then remove are directly north of the Rite Aid Store on a parcel that is approximately 1.5 acres, all zoned commercial. Bouchard said that Horizons has been working with the Town to address its concerns and conditions, based on regulations and its Master Plan. Planning board member Mark Frank suggested that Horizons look to page 20 of the Master Plan when they are putting things together.

As now envisioned the proposed one-story building with a pitched-slope roof would be 90- by 102-feet in size. Nadeau noted that it would be smaller than the adjacent Rite Aid building. Horizons listed 32 parking spaces, each 9- by 18-feet in size, on a large preliminary schematic that Horizons had prepared for the meeting. Bouchard said no traffic study had been done, but that Horizons had relied on information provided by Family Dollar, based on their national store averages for similar-sized buildings.

When Planning Board member Steve Young asked if Horizons had considered putting the building close to Main Street with all the parking located behind the building, Bouchard replied that it would mix parking and deliveries, now planned to be located behind the building.

In answer to a question posed by Planning Board member Frank, Nadeau replied that the truck turnaround space, snow storage, retention pond and lighting were all being addressed. An onsite retention pond at the back of the lot would handle runoff and snowmelt, and NHDOT would monitor it. Nadeau said that it appears that a new regulation would require a retention pond, and the State favors them so that neither the town nor abutters are "overburdened." Bouchard is already working on a driveway permit with District 1 Assistant Maintenance Engineer Leon Geil at the Lancaster office of the state Department of Transportation, he reported.

All of the traffic into the new Dollar Store would use the same driveway, Bouchard said.

When Frank suggested moving the existing crosswalk so it would not be in line with the proposed driveway, he was assured that NHDOT would address that issue.

Bobbi Mastriano, owner of one of the two houses that the developer is seeking to purchase, said that she is concerned about the safety of the McKee Inn residents on that crosswalk. When the town plows Main Street, its plow drivers do not take care of the ramp that allows pedestrians to walk from the sidewalk to the crosswalk. Mastriano said that she worries that pedestrians crossing Main Street would use the store entrance to reach the sidewalk, posing a safety issue.

Bouchard said that he believes that the proposed building and site will conform to the town's lighting regulations. He is not looking at variances at this time, but wanted to hear the Board's comments and concerns so he could take them back to their client. Horizons hopes to have an application submitted by the deadline tomorrow, Thursday, June 23, which would allow them to be on the agenda of the Planning Board's next meeting on Wednesday, July 13.

There must be a minimum of two meetings for this major subdivision, explained Ben Gaetjens-Oleson, the town's

Planning-Zoning Coordinator. Horizons will likely seek to have its application accepted as complete at the first meeting, and approval at the second, likely on Aug. 10.

A site plan is now being developed.

Nadeau said Horizons would seek to merge the two lots.

Preliminary plans indicate that only one of the five trees along Main Street would have to be removed.

Gaetjens-Oleson said that that Horizons will likely have to seek a special exception for the proposed signs from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

AJ Coleman
Varney Smith
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