Heavy Equipment DealershipEyeing Airport Area Location

LONDONDERRY – Milton CAT, a family owned and operated heavy equipment dealership with 13 locations across the Northeast in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, upstate New York, Maine and New Hampshire, told the Planning Board it is interested in building a dealership at 30 Industrial Way.

“We are the authorized dealer for Caterpillar products in six Northeast states,” Brad Farrin, Milton CAT Corporate Facilities Manager, told the Planning Board at its Wednesday, Jan. 8 meeting. “In Massachusetts, Milford is our corporate headquarters. We are the authorized dealer for all Caterpillar heavy equipment, heavy trucks, marine power as well as stand-by generators. We have about 800 employees in the 13 locations and it is a family owned business with three generations that originally started in New Hampshire up in Hopkinton.”

Farrin said a North Reading, Mass. location is their latest addition, a 23,000-square-foot full service warehouse. He said the company had some “challenges” there as the facility was on an aquifer.

“You talk about bringing in a heavy equipment dealership and people think of rusty pieces of iron sitting around,” Farrin said.

Farrin said what is envisioned for Londonderry is a 65,000-square-foot or larger sales and service facility.

“I think it’s important for you folks to know where we are in the process,” he said. “We are doing our due diligence. We have signed an agreement to pursue whether it’s feasible for us to build the facility that we want to do here in Londonderry. So we’re doing all the title research, phase one environmental, geo-tech piece, boundary surveys to make sure we can put on here what we want to do.”

He said one of the first steps was to meet with Londonderry officials and said they had a “very nice meeting” with Town Manager Kevin Smith, Town Planner Cynthia May, and Building, Health and Zoning Officer Richard Canuel.

“I can’t tell you 100 percent what the size of the building is going to be because I haven’t spent that money for engineering design and everything else until we know that we can do what we want to do,” he explained. “I can tell you what the functions of the facilities are and that’s the discussion that we had with the town officials, and that it is basically one-third, one-third, one-third – we do warehousing, sales and service.”

Architect Gary Collette said the facility, resembling an upside down ‘T,’ would be the main building for sales and service, with a 14,000-square-foot utility building to the left. Farrin said new equipment would be parked in an area towards the road so prospective buyers “can kick the tires.”

“The Gateway Business District was created several years ago, and we are now starting to see the first couple of projects that would be under the jurisdiction of that district,” May said, noting the Planning Board has jurisdiction over dimensional things in the Gateway District, including equipment storage. She said the way the ordinance reads, 10 percent would be the maximum.

Board member Chris Davies said this business is the type that would fit into the area and asked if a waiver would be required because of the need for extra storage space.

May said that under the conditional use permit, they would have to satisfy the criteria that’s established and give the board justification why more is required.

Board member Scott Benson asked about the hours of operation and Farrin said it would be from 7 a.m. to about 5 p.m. for the warehouse, with a second shift for repair, as determined by the local regulations.

Board member Mary Wing Soares asked about outdoor storage space in the back. Farrin said the storage area was for contractors dropping off equipment for repair or being picked up and dropped off by a customer and it needed to be near the repair building, but the new equipment would be displayed out front.

Collette said there were are precautions and that anything that would “leak or be dripping oil would not be put out there.”

Farrin said that if everything worked out, there could be a 100,000-square-foot building on the property. “That’s what the land lends itself for,” he said.

Farrin said there are two portions of the property, one at 3.77 acres that they might use for storage if the need arose but have no current plans for it, and another at 9.3 acres that has wetland. They could use only about 4 or 5 acres that are high ground.

“To be honest, if we had our druthers, we probably wouldn’t be purchasing that piece,” Farrin said.

Farrin said 75 to 100 employees are anticipated at the Londonderry location.

In other business:

• The Nevins over 55 community requested a 90-day extension to finalize an agreement to remove a walking trail around the property. The request was granted unanimously.

• The reconstruction project at Aranco Oil, otherwise known as the Sunoco Station at Exit 5, was found not to be of regional impact by the planning board.

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