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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Trucking facility approved in Atkinson

Article Submission:

Trucking facility approved in Atkinson

By Emily Moffett
emoffett@eagletribune.com

ATKINSON — The Planning Board granted approval for a 24-hour trucking facility on Industrial Way last week, angering residents concerned about the noise the business will create in their neighborhood.

More than 30 residents from Atkinson and Salem were on hand as the board voted 3-2 on Wednesday in favor of P.J. Murphy Transportation Inc.'s proposal. Industrial Way is located near the Salem town line.

The main concern for Christine O'Hara Tremblay and Keith Wolters, both of Salem, is the noise from the company, which is expected to have heavy truck traffic in the early morning. But residents' opposition to the trucking facility wasn't enough to sway the board.

"What they have essentially approved is the use of any amount of trucks and any hours of operation," Wolters said.

To minimize the noise, Planning Board member Paul DiMaggio proposed an amendment to limit the number of vehicles the company can operate to seven trucks and 14 trailers. But that amendment was rejected.

Board member Ted Stewart, who is also the town's road agent, said an influential factor in the decision not to include the amendment was that Dickie Construction, another trucking company, has been in the area for eight years without restrictions on the number of vehicles it can operate.

"There's no legal stipulation that limits the number of trucks a trucking company can own." Stewart said. "To limit one company and not another without any legal stipulation doesn't seem fair."

Residents said Dickie Construction is too far away to be a disturbance.

Stewart, who voted for the project along with board members Mike Fletcher and Joe Guischard, said he stands by his decision and wants residents to know he took their concerns seriously.

"I was really put back by how strongly people were offended," he said. "The amount of hate and discontent astonished me. ... We didn't really break new ground anywhere. People were concerned with the noise and they got an 8-foot berm and a 5-foot fence. So to me, everyone won."

But neighbors are not convinced the barrier will block sound.

Wolters, who lives on Christine Lane in Salem, said the town's consultant, Robert Berens of Acentech Inc., reported there was still a potential for disturbing noise.

"People on the board would not listen to logic," Wolters said. "They wouldn't even listen to their own consultant." Even DiMaggio, a board member who voted against the proposal along with Tim Dziechowski, admitted his board was in error.

"I think the Planning Board made a bad decision," DiMaggio said. "I'm absolutely baffled at the process. Major concerns were totally ignored."

Some residents said they doubt the company, based in Methuen, Mass., can legally operate at the site. DiMaggio said the zoning was originally intended for an outgrowth of home businesses and that he believes it has been misinterpreted by the board.

"Transportation terminals are not on the permitted use list" he said. "And if it's not on the list, it's not allowed."

In addition to the noise, Tremblay, who lives on Christine Lane in Salem, said she is concerned about the potential hazard the company poses to neighboring wells since the trucks would transport fuel.

Wolters said abutters will likely challenge the decision before the zoning board.

"We're hopeful that a different group will take a different approach and be open-minded and willing to listen," he said.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too bad that the citizen warrant article for an elected planning board was destroyed at the deliberative session. The officials are not representing the citizens. I will remember this on tuesday, even though I don't live near there, the wishes of the residents are not respected.

Anonymous said...

To bad those two or three hundred didn't show up to deliberative session, to vote those warrant articles through to the ballot unchanged.

Perhaps next year will be the year where people show up to stop this foolishness.

To bad we have to wait another year.

tim dziechowski said...

An elected planning board warrant article was on the ballot twice in the 80's and didn't pass then either.

But you don't have to wait until next year to change the planning board. Joe Guichard, Ted Stewart, and Harold Morse all have appointments expiring this month. If three people filled out the volunteer form in the back of the town report, you could make a real difference.
It's a lot easier to volunteer for office than to run for office.

I tried at deliberative session to amend the elected planning board article into something which was RSA compliant and could pass. It came closer to reaching the ballot than the other petition articles.

There could be unintended consequences to an elected planning board. If candidates don't run and there are vacancies, they are filled by appointment by the planning board, not the selectmen. Are you feeling lucky?

Anonymous said...

One word GREAT

Anonymous said...

You should not run for office if all you want to do is prevent people from using their property as is legally allowed in this State. If that is what your intent is then you should move to the land of Duval Patrick (Massachusetts) where that sort of thing is commonplace.

Anonymous said...

I bet when your next door neighbor decides to take up pig farming, you'll support his use of his property.

Anonymous said...

What ? You have a problem with us pig farmers too. Seem to me, if you have a problem with pig farming you probably shouldn't have moved next a allowed pig farming district. We have rights to be able to make a living. So stop your whining !

Anonymous said...

oink oink