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Neighbor fights plan for Dollar General store in Raymond

Union Leader Correspondent

October 30. 2015 8:35PM

RAYMOND — A local resident is taking legal action against the town to stop plans to build a Dollar General store next to his home.

Robert Perron is appealing the zoning board of adjustment’s approval of a variance that would allow the retailer to build a 9,313-square-foot store on property located at 98 Fremont Road.

In his appeal filed last week in Rockingham County Superior Court, Perron argues the ZBA acted “unreasonably and unlawfully” and that its decision should be overturned.

Perron, who lives next door at 100 Fremont Road, has voiced several concerns about the store and its potential impacts on the area.

A local zoning ordinance requires any commercial or industrial building proposed next to a residential area to have a minimum setback of 50 feet, which must include a 20-foot dense vegetative buffer and a fence to shield it from homes.

The variance was needed because the setback for the retail project would be 16.4 feet and it would have less than the 20-foot vegetative buffer.

The ZBA unanimously approved the variance on Aug. 6 by a 4-0 vote.

According to the appeal, a variance can only be granted if five criteria are met during the review process.

Perron’s appeal said that while the variance was approved, board members Charles White and Joyce Wood stated that at least one of the criteria wasn’t met when the board discussed the plan before voting. Because of their statements, Perron argues the two members should have voted against the variance.

Wood said Friday that she was unaware of Perron’s court appeal, but that he had made similar arguments when he previously asked the ZBA to rehear the case and it refused.

Perron also maintains that the variance violates the objectives of a zoning ordinance designed to prevent overcrowding of land, lessen congestion in the streets and promote adequate light and air between properties.

“It is without question, considering the scale of the proposal, that it will increase traffic congestion in the area, a topic which the applicant presented no testimony on and for which the ZBA failed to discuss in detail,” the appeal said.

Perron maintains that the project will create more parking and traffic issues in an area where traffic already becomes congested at certain times of the year, especially when athletic fields across the street are in use.

Perron’s appeal further argues that “placing a large box store where no others like it exist next to a residential property/district that is isolated from other commercial development in Raymond would unquestionably alter the essential characteristics of the area in which it is being located.”

The town has not yet filed a response to the appeal.

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