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Nashua Zoning Board to review Amherst Street development plan

Union Leader Correspondent

January 13. 2014 8:07PM

NASHUA — A contaminated parcel along Amherst Street that once housed a former trucking operation could soon be converted into a large retail development.

Tonight, the Nashua Zoning Board of Adjustment plans to review a proposal to demolish the old Nashua Motor Express Inc. site at 270 and 274 Amherst St.

According to Carter Falk, deputy planning manager for the city, preliminary plans have been submitted to construct a 40,000-square-foot retail center at the property, which includes four potential storefronts. A separate 4,500-square-foot pizzeria restaurant — Papa Gino’s, which closed a few months ago just across the street — is also being suggested for the property, Falk said.

“I think this will be a good retail use that is permitted along the Amherst Street corridor, and will bring some activity and possibly some jobs to the area,” said Falk.

Falk said the future tenants of the four proposed retail units have not yet been disclosed. The property, located next to Pep Boys, is owned by 270 Amherst St. LLC and EDCO Nashua LLC, and the applicant is Saxon Partners LLC of Plymouth, Mass.

Other proposed site work includes removing pavement near Colerain Brook, restoring a wetland buffer, improving site drainage and mitigating environmental contamination from the former trucking operation.

“Gasoline compounds, volatile organic compounds and buried asbestos have been discovered, and the applicant is working with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to develop a remediation plan to address all of these issues,” according to the application on file at Nashua City Hall.

Nashua Motor Express Inc. operated its trucking business at the site from 1959 until early 2013. Before that, a chicken farm was located on the property.

The Brownfields Remedial Action Plan for the site was initiated late last year after environmental investigations found chlorinated solvent-related compounds in the groundwater.

The Remedial Action Plan is designed to treat the contaminated groundwater, while the zoning plan proposes the installation of storm water treatment areas.

The Nashua Conservation Commission has approved the plans, according to Falk, who said the Zoning Board will consider tonight whether to grant a special exception to allow pavement adjacent to Colerain Brook to be removed, a wetland buffer area to be restored and drainage to be improved.

Falk said he did not anticipate any controversy over the proposal, which will also need to be reviewed by the Planning Board for final authorization.According to the application, construction is expected to begin in April if approved, and the project may be completed by Nov. 1.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Nashua City Hall.

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