Proposed Fueling Center Still Awaits State Permit

HAMPSTEAD – The Planning Board continued once again a hearing on the proposed Tropic Star Development gasoline fueling center, as the state Department of Transportation permits have not been issued.
Tropic Star is a plan for a gasoline fueling center and convenience store at the intersection of Route 121 (Main Street, which becomes Stage Road) and Route 111. The development would have a 4,146-square-foot convenience store and six fuel sites servicing 12 pumps. The lot has 284 feet of frontage on Route 111 and 370 feet of frontage on Route 121.

Planning Board Chairman Randy Clark asked Monday night that a letter granting the continuance be sent, and included in the letter the proposal of board member Paul Carideo for widening and lengthening the right turn lane going north on Route 121 to Route 111. He also asked that Carideo provide his sketch in the letter for the company’s consideration.

In other business Monday night:
• Michael Hall, Hampstead School District Facilities Director, told the board he had intended to present the engineering plan for a proposed second emergency access road from Hampstead Middle School to Emerson Avenue, but “issues with the project that are well above my head” must be addressed before the plan reaches the Planning Board.

Clark asked if the proposed access road was to be a single lane gravel emergency access or a two-lane paved road that would be used routinely by bus and car traffic. Hall said the initial concept had been a single lane, gravel, gated emergency access road but that at the Facilities Committee meeting it had been expanded to a two-lane, paved, full access road.

Farwell Engineering Services, hired to do the engineering study, admitted there were significant wetland issues in the proposed road site plan but said they could be managed. The access road has been a topic of discussion on several occasions since 1978, when the school was built. The need for a second emergency access road has been expressed recently by the Hampstead Police and Fire Departments, leading to this latest effort.

Hall said the School Board had approved funding for the engineering design only, which would include estimated construction costs, but at this time construction is neither funded nor scheduled.
Hall said he would present the plan at a later date when all the internal issues had been ironed out.
• Recreation Commission member Brian Goode gave the board two plans, one proposing a basketball court in place of the T-ball field off Veterans Way, and the second to install a T-ball field at Depot Fields in the newly cleared area.

The board said the Veterans Way T-ball field is the best place for the basketball court but the change would require a new alteration of terrain permit from the state. The project has an estimated cost of $30,000 to $40,000. However, as the new police station will have to do this as well, it would be possible for Recreation to piggyback on that application, as it is in the same parcel.

The board suggested the Recreation and the Police Building Committees should get in touch with Mark Gross, the engineer on the project when the T-ball field went in, to see if he still has the data used for the initial permit from the state. Jon Worthen, a member of the Police Building Committee, said he didn’t think the committee was aware of this situation but would learn of it at its meeting this week.

As for the T-ball field being switched to Depot Fields, Carideo made a strong case for the parcel the Recreation Commission wants to use as not being suitable for anything, much less a T-ball field. It is a wetland area that can’t be used for any recreational purpose, he said. A space further down at Depot Field could be used for a basketball court, although this wouldn’t be anyone’s first choice – Recreation, Planning Board or Police. Goode thanked the Planning Board and said the commission would consider the input provided.

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