Town Fair Tire Center Would Replace Route 102 Gulf Station

The Connecticut-based Town Fair Tire Centers is proposing to build one of its stores at 31 Nashua Road (Route 102) by Exit 4 in what is now a Gulf gas station between Hampton and Palmer drives. Representatives presented a conceptual design for the shop to the Planning Board at its Wednesday, July 9 meeting.

“It’s a fairly small lot and we’re proposing a redevelopment of the site,” said Attorney Hollis Morgan, who represents Town Fair Tire Center. “The redevelopment would be the removal of the gas station, which includes the pumps, and the removal of the repair shop, which means a complete rebuild.”

Morgan said the proposed building would be 7,000 square feet and would be used to sell and install tires.

“There will be no automotive repair activity on the site,” Morgan added.

He said the business would be making greater use of the site than currently.

“We propose two ent-rances, one from Palmer Drive and one on Hampton Drive, because of the nature of the site and the ordinances of the town,” he explained. “There are some restrictions which impinge on any kind of development. The current site is non-conforming use – that is, it’s developed within the landscaped setback from Nashua Road as well as from Palmer Drive and Hampton Drive. The proposed use would be the same, but to a lesser extent. We would not be encroaching so much in the front.”

Morgan said the site has a “fairly steep grade.”

He said the developer wants to hear from the board on the overall general plan and the planned use of retaining walls.

“We are proposing to install a fairly high retaining wall to the rear, which we think gives the site the best development potential,” he said.

Mike Laham of Engineering Alliance said there was a drainage system that culminated in a swale and a small wetland area that was the result of the drainage design.

“We will be going before the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance because the retaining wall at the rear corner of the site is higher than the 3 feet allowed,” Laham said. “The land drops off about 10 feet to the rear of the site. What we’ve done is come down at about 4 percent (grade) and are trying to get as low as possible coming from the front of the site to the rear. That put us in a situation where we need a retaining wall at the rear and along Palmer Drive to the rear. The maximum height (of the retaining wall) would be 8 feet at the rear and then as it met the slope on Palmer Drive, it would end.”

“A taller wall, although requiring a variance, would allow for better landscaping than a tiered wall,” Laham added.

Board member Jim Butler asked where used tire storage would be and Laham said there would be a tire corral near the Dumpster. There would not be a trailer on site for that purpose.

Board member John Laferriere asked where the drainage would go and Assistant Public Works Director John Trottier said it would flow to a pond beyond the Hannaford supermarket.

Board member Mary Wing Soares asked if oil changes would be done at the business and Laham said there would not. “There will only be tire changing and repairing tires done on the site,” Laham said.

Board Chairman Arthur Rugg said the developer would have to go to the Heritage Commission to discuss landscaping and design.

He asked about snow storage and John Wypychoski of Town Fair Tire said they were used to removing snow.

“My advice is to talk to your abutters. The worst thing is to come in here and have the abutters all upset. It makes the process longer,” Rugg said.

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