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Epping eyed for flagship liquor store, location TBD

Union Leader Correspondent

January 22. 2014 9:19PM
The state is hoping to build a new liquor store and wine outlet at the Epping park and ride lot on Route 125. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

EPPING — The state Liquor Commission continues to eye the Epping Park and Ride as the ideal spot for a new state liquor store and wine outlet.

Plans to build a 10,000 to 12,000-square-foot flagship store in Epping are in the works, but the final location hasn’t been determined.

The Liquor Commission has identified the area of Exit 7 off Route 101 as an “extremely desirable location” given the development in the area, according to commission spokesman E.J. Powers.

The state has already appropriated $3.85 million to construct a liquor store somewhere in Epping.

“We’ve been working to try and advance the project at the Park and Ride since about 2010,” Powers said Wednesday.

The Park and Ride located on Route 125 near Route 101 was purchased by the state Department of Transportation with funds from the Federal Highway Administration. If the DOT were to sell a portion of the property for the liquor store, Powers said some of the funds from the sale would have to be returned to the Federal Highway Administration.

The DOT is conducting an appraisal of the property and a feasibility study to determine the best place to build on the site.

“In the last several months we’ve been assured by the Bureau of Public Works at the DOT that an appraisal was being undertaken for us to figure out if we can move forward and purchase an area on that site,” he said.

Questions about the liquor store plan were raised at a selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night.

Selectman Jim McGeough asked state Rep. Jeffrey Harris, R-Epping, why the store hasn’t been built yet. Harris said he was told two months ago it was being held up because of wetlands issues.

The property has some wetlands, but Powers said the project would require only minimal mitigation.

The commission hopes to move forward with the project once the DOT appraisal is finished and all of the details are ironed out.

Powers said the commission is looking at other potential locations around the junction of routes 125 and 101 if the Park and Ride option doesn’t work out.Town Planner Brittany Howard said the state hasn’t submitted any plans for the project to the town or met with the planning board.

Once the plan is finalized, Powers said it would go through the normal town approval process.

“The Liquor Commission would like to move on this as soon as possible,” Powers said.

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