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Plaistow board says no to commuter rail

Union Leader Correspondent

April 01. 2015 10:18PM

PLAISTOW — It doesn't look like the MBTA's commuter rail service will be running through Plaistow any time soon.

“We voted to notify the (state's) executive council that we have chosen the no-build option in Plaistow,” said Selectmen Chairman Steve Ranlett. “This is probably a dead issue now.”

The commuter rail feasibility study was scheduled to be completed and presented to the board of selectmen by the end of April. But the impetus for that rail study has fizzled out.

Under the original plan, the board could either move forward with the build option, or it could make the decision it did for a no-build option and choose not to move forward with a commuter rail project.

That feasibility study was going to be followed by an environmental assessment study of the preferred site for a station and layover facility.

The governor’s executive council voted last month to postpone making a decision on whether to move forward with the environmental evaluation pending the outcome of several warrant articles on the March town ballot concerning the rail station.

In a nonbinding vote in March, voters overwhelming voted no on an article asking residents if they approved of a rail station and layover facility in town.

In the wake of that town vote, the executive council then voted not to move forward with the environmental assessment.

A site on Joanne Drive off Main Street was chosen as the preferred site for the commuter rail station because of its access to Route 125, lower noise impact than other sites that were considered, the fewest number of residential properties within a half mile, and the potential for a connection to Plaistow center.

Consultants estimated that there would be about 300 people boarding the train each morning.

With the commuter rail extension no longer an issue, the group Citizens Against a Train Layover Yard in Plaistow is looking to branch out into a more broad-based discussion of town issues.

Citizens for a Better Plaistow is looking to provide a civil forum for discussing quality of life issues in town with a membership focused on current and former Plaistow residents, according to James Peck.

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