Smell, truck traffic concerns raised over proposed Epping asphalt plant

An asphalt plant is being proposed for Shirkin Road in Epping.

EPPING — A proposal to operate an asphalt plant is raising concern among neighbors who say they’re worried that the plan would generate odors and bring more heavy truck traffic to the area.

Sam Patterson Real Estate Development LLC is proposing the asphalt plant on property adjacent to its New England Paving facility on Shirkin Road.

The company plans to use the plant to make asphalt and recycle old asphalt in small batches that would be used mostly by New England Paving.

“This is not a large commercial operation like you might picture,” Joe Coronati, an engineer from Stratham-based Jones and Beach Engineering working on the project, told the planning board at a meeting last week.

The area is zoned for commercial and industrial use.

While company officials insist that the operation won’t create a lot of odors and that the only time anyone nearby could smell the asphalt is the few minutes when it’s being dumped into trucks, some neighbors aren’t convinced.

“How many of you guys want a hot top plant in your backyard? I mean, it’s going to stink,” neighbor Scott Barthelemy told the board.

He said he wants to be a good neighbor and that New England Paving is a good neighbor, but he’s still concerned about the odor.

Coronati said the plant would have to meet air emission standards and would need a permit from the state.

“This is not an unregulated situation,” he said.

Fremont resident Gary Cloutier, who lives on nearby Martin Road, is among those concerned about additional heavy truck traffic.

“If this is approved, I think your residents in Epping are going to be very, very upset because they’re probably going to be the recipients of all the traffic,” he said.

The planning board agreed that the project would have a regional impact and planned to contact the Rockingham Planning Commission to schedule a meeting that would include the neighboring town of Fremont.

Fremont Town Administrator Heidi Carlson recently submitted a letter to the Epping Planning Board expressing concerns, especially since much of the traffic accessing Shirkin Road businesses from Exit 6 on Route 101 must pass through Fremont.

“For many years we have received complaints regarding businesses permitted on Shirkin Road in Epping, many of which can, and have been approved without notice to or input from Fremont. While not all generate noise on site, the vast majority of traffic, including significant heavy truck traffic, travels through Fremont day and night to access NH Route 101. So, Fremont residents and taxpayers pay the huge price of the added noise, breakdown of our roads, concerns about water and air quality, and parking/congestion, with no easy ability to be part of the process,” Carlson’s letter said, in part.

The Epping board is expected to discuss the proposal again at its meeting on May 9. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the town hall.