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Nashua officials deny request for five-story storage facility

Union Leader Correspondent

September 05. 2018 11:34PM

NASHUA — City zoning officials have rejected a proposal to construct a large, five-story storage facility near Amherst Street.

Weston Associates was hoping to build the proposed 123,000-square-foot structure at the rear of a parcel located at 4 Blackstone Drive. As part of the project, a new gas station and convenience store was also proposed at the front of the property along Amherst Street.

Attorney Gerald Prunier, representing Weston Associates, told the Zoning Board last week the area was rezoned from park industrial to general business in 2013, meaning a use variance would be necessary in order for the storage facility to be built.

“It is not out of character within the zoning ordinance because it was allowed previously,” said Prunier, stressing the building would be designed to look like an office building but would not generate as much traffic.

He reminded the board that the neighborhood is not residential, and five-story structures are permitted in that section of the city.

“There is no new traffic. The traffic already exists in that particular area,” Prunier said.

Several zoning officials said they had concerns about the proposed storage facility, mainly because it is not permitted in the general business zone.

“I think the two things are very different, in my mind,” Robert Shaw, zoning board member, said of the proposed storage complex and the proposed gas station.

One neighbor argued that the proposed building would tower over nearby homes and look out of place in the area. Others raised concerns about nearby Round Pond, operational hours, light pollution and more.

“I am in concurrence with my fellow board members. The biggest issue for me with the storage facility is the zoning laws were just changed five years ago and it doesn’t seem logical …,” said Mariellen MacKay, Zoning Board member, adding she cannot support the storage complex.

The board voted 5-0 to deny the use variance for the storage facility. However, the board did unanimously approve an area variance to allow the construction of a gas station and convenience store.

Prunier said there is already an entrance and exit on Amherst Street for the future gas station. Plans include a new 5,300-square-foot convenience store that will be about 500 feet away from an existing Speedway gasoline station and store at 543 Amherst St.

Gate City Collision, a local auto body shop and storage yard, is housed just to the west of the property.

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