Hampton planners don’t like the idea of hotels and casinos being included in plans to redevelop the Hampton Liquor and Wine Outlets sites on Interstate 95.
The planning board will continue its hearing on the “Interstate 95 Corridor Overlay District” on Jan. 19. The overlay district will be voted on by town meeting in March.
The state liquor commission hopes to sell the approximately 88 acres in Hampton to build new twin 22,000-square-foot liquor stores and other welcome center features, such as a gas station, stores and restaurants.
“I don’t think a hotel is in the cards. I don’t think games of chance are in the cards, no pun intended,” said Chairman J. Tracy Emerick, during a public hearing last week.
The redevelopment is being modeled after the Hooksett welcome centers along Interstate 93, which opened in 2014. That project involved a 35-year lease with the Department of Transportation.
Eight developers are vying to team up with the liquor commission on the development.
Andrew Davis, the NHLC’s real estate and planning project manager, asked why the board was opposed to hotels and motels.
Hampton Town Planner Jason Bachand said it is not a typical use of a highway rest area. He mentioned the fact that Hooksett doesn’t have one.
“It just doesn’t seem very fitting to me,” he said
Davis said a hotel would not fit on the land in Hooksett. He mentioned several new hotels on the I-93 corridor.
Some members thought a hotel off the highway would take away from other hotels near the beach and discourage travelers from visiting town.
Members of the planning board said developers could return to change the zoning to include other uses.
“The sale of the property is here and now,” Davis said. “The more uses that we eliminate here and now diminishes the attractiveness of this opportunity to the point where it might not become an opportunity.”
A request for proposals to develop the property will go out after the town meeting.