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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Atkinson Zoning Board rejects trucking plan

Article Submission:

Atkinson Zoning Board rejects trucking plan

By Eric Parry

ATKINSON SEmD The Zoning Board ruled a trucking company is not allowed to locate on Industrial Way at a meeting that didn't end until early this morning.

Board members concluded the company, P.J. Murphy Transportation Inc., was not a permitted use in the commercial industrial zone, an area that lies along the Salem town line.

The 3-2 vote represented a major victory for neighbors, who appealed the Planning Board's decision last month to approve the project.

Attorney John Ratigan represented a group of about 10 abutters who appealed the Planning Board ruling, claiming the 24-hour trucking facility should not be allowed in their neighborhood.

"This plan has regional implication," said resident Keith Wolters.

The trucking facility would have operated 24 hours per day and only been closed Sunday mornings. There would be seven trucks and 14 trailers parked on the property, which would also house a small office and maintenance garage, according to Paul Murphy, who was looking to relocate his business from Dracut, Mass. The firm transports petroleum products and water.

Residents, who waited in the audience at Town Hall for more than three hours before the board heard the appeal after 10 p.m., said they were mostly concerned the business would create loud noise in the middle of the night.

Murphy argued that his business included a parking lot, office building and garage - all permitted uses under town zoning - but residents said it was the combination of all these that created the problem.

"The concentration of trucks and traffic are unique to a transportation terminal," said resident Ed Tomasi.

Murphy said he was disappointed with the board's decision, which came shortly after midnight, but planned to file another appeal. He noted the case could eventually end up in Rockingham County Superior Court.

"It's been a tough struggle," Murphy said after the board's decision.

The proposed plans had been discussed by the Planning Board since November but were just approved in March. Members of that board wrestled with the noise issue for months and even had a sound study conducted at Murphy's expense.

Atkinson's zoning regulations specifically identify what is allowed in the commercial and industrial zone, and the trucking facility didn't fit the requirements despite similar businesses being located in the same area, according to some board members.

"Just because something was happening doesn't mean it was permitted," Susan Miner said of other businesses in the zone. Sam Zannini and Sandy Carter cast the dissenting votes.

Planning Board Vice Chairman Paul DiMaggio told the Zoning Board he voted against the plan because he didn't think it was right for that zone. DiMaggio, who was on the Planning Board when the commercial industrial zone was created in the 1980s, said it was intended for home businesses that outgrew residential neighborhoods.

"We are a bedroom community, not an industrial community," he said.


Anonymous said...

I still Dont't get it ?
This SMALL BUSINESS wants to park seven trucks and fourteen trailers on this property which is located in a Commercial industrial zone?
Yeap,parking is a permitted use in a C-I zone.
repair and maintain these same vehicles on this property which is located in a Commercial industrial zone?
Yeap, repair shops are a permitted use in a C-I zone.
This SMALL BUSINESS wants to maintain a small office staff on this property which is located in a Commercial zone?
Yeap,offices also are a permitted use in a C-I zone.
This SMALL BUSINESS paid out of there own pocket to have a traffic impact study prepared.
Results; There will be minimal traffic impact.
Then we go onto the two, that's right, two independent sound (noise) studies funded by this SMALL BUSINESS.
Results; Both studies found that day and night sound levels were below our own noise levels listed in our regulation book!
Finally, Code enforcement investigated if there where any light issues.
Results; There were NO light issues!
Common sence tells me this SMALL BUSINESS was a permitted use in a C-I zone. So can someone,anyone tell me why and how the ZBA can rejected this approval?
In case you haven't notice I also own a SMALL BUSINESS in town and think this decision was just WRONG!

Anonymous said...

Ask Frank, after all he IS the smartest man in town.

Anonymous said...

I say build a private gentlemans club there.

Anonymous said...

A 24 hour boiler factory would also include parking, office and repair as secondary uses... but we shouldn't allow that either.

Changing over 7 (for now) diesel tractor trailers at 4 AM each day is just not what Atkinson should be trying to promote... we can leave that sort of development to Plaistow and Salem.

I think they decided a tough issue correctly.

Anonymous said...

If parking,office and repairs are a secondary use of a trucking company,explain to me just what the primary use would be?

Anonymous said...

I second the private gentlemens club there.

Anonymous said...

Where do they put 24 hr. boiler factory now. In a commerical-industrial zones, you think, or do they have special 24 hr. boiler factory zones.

The ignorance of some people amaze me. They complain just because they can.

Anonymous said...

Private club N N N Y[4] Y[4] Y[4] N Y chart from zoning book.

Private clubs allowed just no definition of use? Frank can we have a ruling on this?

Anonymous said...

I applaud the ZBA for their decision. Also Paul Dimaggio, for standing up for the neighbors & our town. Would Sue Killam or Ted Stewart want a trucking operation close to their homes??? I don't think so! This is a pretty small New England town & I for one, do not want it spoiled by unsightly & noisy businesses.

Anonymous said...

As a local business owner who happens to live within a 1/16 mile of Paul Murphy Transportation, I think he should be allowed to operate his business in this commercial/industrial zone.
Living next to this business, myself and all of the surounding neighbors have never had any complaints or issues with this SMALL BUSINESS. As you can see they fall under the SMALL BUSINESS classification and not only have they paid their own way, they have passed all sound/nosie tests.
I think the problem is that here is a Business owner who has and is doing everything by the book to operate a sucessful business correctly and the town/neighbors are trying to change the rules that have already been made for this Commercial/industrial Zone.

tim dziechowski said...

Nobody is trying to change the rules. Permitted uses are listed in the table in the zoning book. Truck terminal is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Truck terminals are define as "one who operates on networks, with physical facilities,labor forces,and equipment spread over an extensive geographic area". You can find this information in the SIC code(1987) and NAICS codes (2002). Parking of seven trucks would not fall under truck terminal code.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous APR 18 at 7:04 PM

Your question as to where we would put a 24-hour boiler factory assumes we MUST put it somewhere. The town has no such obligation.

The very concept of zoning is to control the use of land within a town. Towns (like Atkinson) decide what uses they want, publish those uses in the Regs and exclude all other uses.

The essential activity of the business in question is the coming, going, staging and trailer-switchovers of diesel tractor trailers at 4-to-5 AM and PM seven days a week. Nothing in the Regs comes close to describing such core activity as a permitted use.

Can anyone honestly say they'd want that activity a few hundred yeards from THEIR home?

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