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February 07. 2013 10:52PM

Nashua planners approve car dealership

NASHUA - City planners on Thursday approved construction of a used car dealership and service center at 635 Amherst St., a site that has been vacant for several years.

With a unanimous vote, the Nashua City Planning Board granted an application from Whitcher Builders to construct Key Auto Center, a pre-owned car dealership with an oil lube and automobile service complex.

The current site has been used for vehicle sales for nearly 40 years, according to engineer Earle Blatchford of Hayner Swanson Inc. of Nashua.

The property was previously housed by Demers Truck Sales and Service, and in the 1990s it was used by Saturn of Nashua.

"We are proposing basically the same function, but just a little different setup," said Blatchford.

An existing building will be demolished, and two new buildings will be constructed, according to the engineer. A 2,325-square-foot sales office will be built in addition to a seven-bay oil and lube shop consisting of nearly 6,000 square feet.

"The design of the new building is an upgrade in comparison to the existing structure, which dates back to the 1970s," says a memo written by Matthew Taylor, deputy planning manager.

Key Auto Sales will operate the new dealership, according to John Tuttle of TW Designs, adding the company is also in the process of building another dealership on South Willow Street in Manchester near Barnes and Noble.

"We tried to keep it simple and economical," said Blatchford, adding the Nashua lot will be reconfigured, landscaping will be added, new utility services will be installed and a few pole-mounted lights will be erected.

One resident spoke in opposition to the plan on Thursday.

Lester Gomez of Corner Road said he was concerned about the 1,000-gallon drums of motor oil that will be stored on the site, questioning whether they will be housed above or below the ground.

"You need to come up with a method to contain the new and used motor oil," Gomez said.

Tuttle said all of the tanks will be stored inside of a closed, tempered building on a concrete slab abiding codes by the National Fire Protection Association.

Gomez also questioned whether the proposed lighting could possibly pose a problem for the low altitude aircraft flying about a quarter of a mile away at the Nashua Airport.

City Engineer Steve Dookran reassured the public that the highest light pole - about 25-feet high - will not impact any planes taking off or landing nearby. Only two-acres of the seven-acre site on Amherst Street will be developed. The future Key Auto Center is housed near CVS Pharmacy. The car dealership chain has another location in Somersworth.

khoughton@newstote.com


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