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Planning Board signs off on plan for furniture store

Union Leader Correspondent

February 20. 2014 9:21PM

SALEM — After clearing up some issues regarding signs and parking, the Planning Board has approved a site plan that will allow the construction of a 24,000-square-foot furniture store on Kelly Road.

The owner of the Ashley Furniture store on Kelly Road is looking to open the new store as a place to sell high-quality, mainly American-made furniture. Ashley Furniture itself is only allowed to sell Ashley furniture products.

The Planning Board originally approved the plans for two buildings on the site in 2007, but that plan included a 13,000-square-foot retail building next to Ashley Furniture and not a second furniture store.

The site plan initially came before the Planning Board last November, and board members had some questions about parking and the request for several large signs on the new building.

At the recent Planning Board meeting, the board had little issue with the parking situation after hearing from traffic consultant Steve Pernaw. The board granted a conditional use permit for 111 spaces on the site, where 125 would be required under the town’s zoning requirements for the commercial/industrial district.

“I asked Steve to review the parking situation, and he came back with the recommendation that providing 111 spaces would be a reasonable request,” said town Planning Director Ross Moldoff.

The conditional use permit request for signs for the furniture store wasn’t quite as straightforward.

Because the building would be on Kelly Road and set back from Route 28, the applicant requested three signs, a 100-square-foot sign on the side of the existing building, a 100-square-foot sign on the new building facing Kelly Road, and a 160-square-foot sign on the corner of the new building with greater visibility toward Route 28.

Under the zoning ordinance, the store would be allowed only one 100-square-foot sign by right. Moldoff said he didn’t recommend the approval of the sign on the existing building and added that he would be okay with two signs on the new building provided the total area of both signs was 100 square feet.

Several Planning Board members said they did not want to see a second sign on the existing building, but that they would support two 100-square-foot signs on the new building. The applicant agreed to change the request to the Planning Board recommendation, and the conditional use permit for the signs was

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