Boscawen planning board discusses Dollar General, delays vote to Nov. 7

Monitor staff
Published: 10/4/2017 12:20:38 AM

Those hoping to find out whether a Dollar General store will be built in Boscawen will have to wait a bit longer.

“I thought there were going to be some decisions made tonight,” Boscawen resident Laurie Murphy said at the planning board meeting Tuesday night. “I guess we’re on for another month.”

The planning board began deliberating the store on Tuesday following two sessions of public hearing on Aug. 29 and Sept. 12, after the board accepted Dollar General’s proposal for a 7,500-foot store as complete.

Following two hours of discussion, the board voted to postpone its final decision to another night. But that was not without drafting a list of conditions for the proposal’s approval.

The board addressed concerns that have been repeated by residents in the last year, like whether delivery trucks will be able to safely maneuver on King Street and in the store’s parking lot.

The board created a condition stating that Dollar General use no truck larger than a WB-50, which is a smaller truck than the WB-67 – about 70 feet in length – that the company was approved for by the Department of Transportation.

The board also mandated that delivery trucks, storage and signage not obstruct the store’s 30 approved parking spaces. The store will not be permitted to place loudspeakers or display merchandise outside.

“I’ve seen other Dollar Generals where it looks like a plastic explosion out the front door,” board member James Scrivens said.

The board requested that Dollar General’s building and grounds be “maintained consistently in good order.”

One question brought up during past meetings by David LeFevre, attorney for two abutters, was whether the proposed driveway for Dollar General flares out in front of a neighbor’s land.

The board concluded that Dollar General’s driveway plan meets Department of Transportation conditions.

Bohler Engineering first submitted plans on Dollar General’s behalf for a 9,100-foot store in May 2016. After two rounds with the zoning board, each including several continued hearings and multiple variances denied, the store made adjustments to their plan and resubmitted their application. Bohler Engineering representatives went back before the Boscawen planning board in January with a proposal for a 7,500-square-foot store.

The planning board issued a conditional approval for the site plan in April, a decision that was contested in Merrimack County Superior Court by abutters Andy Newcomb and Elaine Clow, who said the town violated townspeople’s rights when they didn’t give residents an opportunity to voice their opinions when Dollar General submitted plans for a smaller store.

The lawsuit was dropped when the town agreed to rehear the planning board application and allow for public comment after a decision was made on whether to accept the application as complete.

Dollar General plans for 10 transactions an hour between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week. Deliveries and pickups will occur during off-peak hours between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

If Dollar General is allowed to build, the company will pay for town of Boscawen engineers – Underwood Engineers Inc. – to oversee construction and make sure the store meets the board’s requirements.

Boscawen Planning and Community Development Director Alan Hardy said the planning board should think about what precedent they would like to set for future businesses in Boscawen.

“It’s not who’s behind; it’s who’s coming forward with the next application,” Hardy said.

Deliberation on whether Dollar General will be allowed to build in Boscawen will resume on Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

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