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June 26. 2013 10:31PM

Two-building Epping retail project gets OK

EPPING — A developer is moving ahead with plans for the construction of two new retail buildings on Route 125.

The planning board recently gave conditional approval to a project by property owner Jack Murray that calls for the construction of a 7,803-square-foot building and a second 6,350-square-foot building.

The buildings would be built between Route 125 and Railroad Avenue on 1.56 acres of commercial land next to a Shell gas station near the intersection of routes 125 and 27.

Wayne Morrill, a project engineer with Jones and Beach Engineers in Stratham, did not identify potential tenants for the project, but said they would offer “dry goods” and may include some office space. The plan does not include restaurants, he said.

The project originally called for a 4,500-square-foot building that was later expanded to 15,900 square feet. However, following a meeting with the planning board and neighbors earlier this year, the single building was split into two smaller buildings.

Morrill said several changes have been made to reduce the impact of the project, which has been criticized by some neighbors on Railroad Avenue and Acre Street, which is located off of Railroad Avenue.

Morrill said other changes have been made as well and that improvements will be made to Railroad Avenue.

“We’ve done everything we can to be able to have a tasteful development on this site,” he said.

But residents who live in a neighborhood next to the planned development have expressed concerns about the additional traffic that will be generated because the site includes access to Railroad Avenue.

Some have complained that drivers caught in heavy traffic on Route 125 will cut through the retail plaza to reach Railroad Avenue, which connects to Route 27. The short cut would allow drivers to avoid the traffic at the intersection of Routes 125 and 27, but the developer has taken steps to discourage drivers from using the plaza to bypass Route 125 traffic.

Morrill said the site will be designed so that it’s not a straight shot through the plaza from Route 125 to Railroad Avenue. At least two speed bumps will also be installed, and signs warning against traffic cutting through will also be erected.

But Acre Street resident Joe Gauthier said he’s more concerned about the traffic generated by customers who shop at the plaza and use the access from Railroad Avenue instead of Route 125. He said Railroad Avenue isn’t wide enough to handle the traffic.

Planning board members said they understand the concerns of residents living in the nearby residential neighborhood, but felt efforts have been made to reduce the impact.

“They’ve done a lot of things to make appeasements,” said Selectman Robert Jordan, the selectmen’s representative to the planning board.


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