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Planning board gives Market Basket the go ahead



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Last Thursday evening, Will Davis of Horizons Engineering held the plans for a new Market Basket in his hands as he and property owner Michael McGinley of Riverside Landing, LLC celebrated the approval of their proposal to bring the popular grocery chain to Plymouth. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
December 12, 2018
PLYMOUTH – For many, it's been a long and winding road to bring Market Basket to Plymouth, but last Thursday night, the town's Planning Board gave the company the green light to build a 69,000 square foot store at Riverside Landing on the Tenney Mountain Highway, and everyone present at the final public hearing couldn't have been happier.

The meeting last week was a continuation of an initial public hearing that began on Nov. 15. At that time the board, in a split decision, voted to delay the approval pending further feedback from surrounding towns whom they felt may be impacted by this latest development proposal. Land Use and Planning Director Brian Murphy was then instructed to contact those towns and advise them of the Market Basket proposal.

After contacting officials in Ashland, Bridgewater, Campton, Groton, Hebron, Holderness and Rumney, Murphy reported he heard feedback from only two towns. Campton's Board of Selectmen said they were in favor of the construction of a Market Basket supermarket in Plymouth, and surprisingly, the town of Warren, not on the abutting towns list, chimed in with a letter as well, saying they would "cheerfully" welcome Market Basket to the region.

Residents from Plymouth and neighboring towns who were present at the hearing last week echoed those sentiments.

Plymouth's Town Clerk/Tax Collector, Karen Freitas, was one of only a few members of the public who stood up that night, all voicing their approval of the proposal.

"Over the past few years, we have become the regional hub for many nonprofits, and we're proud of that," she pointed out. "Along with that, however, is that 50-percent of the property in our town is nontaxable."

Freitas went on to say that that percentage rate puts a lot of stress on property owners, many of whom struggle to pay their taxes. Knowing that, she welcomed a new business to the town, one that could ease that stress and help tax payers survive.

One concern of the Planning Board last month as they worked their way through a checklist for major projects provided by the Lakes Region Planning Commission, was how a large addition to any town might impact emergency services. To that point, Jim Martin of Rumney spoke up last Thursday. He pointed out that the increase in taxable income would help offset any minor impact a business like Market Basket might bring to a community as far as fire and police response was concerned and asked the board to support the proposal.

Will Davis of Horizon Engineering, LLC, was called upon to address a few concerns the board had after hearing a standard report from Plymouth's Town Engineer on traffic and environmental impact. Davis and developer Michael McGinley were able to quell those concerns however through their own communications with the engineer and proof that, for the most part, most of those issues already been resolved.

Planning Board chair Rebecca Hanson then took a moment to assure Davis and McGinley that the board tried to make the approval process as quick as possible as they worked to ensure due diligence to the town and neighboring communities had been addressed.

Board member John Randlett, as the selectmen's representative to the Planning Board, made a motion to approve the proposal, contingent upon the completion of conditions set forth by New Hampshire Department of Transportation and other minor site plan recommendations as laid out by the town engineer.

A vote was then taken and the board was unanimous in their approval.

McGinley said he was very pleased with the outcome and, thanks to prior approval for the footprint of the building, announced that construction should move along quickly next spring. Contractor Bud Crane of Andrews Construction has been part of McGinley's development projects at Riverside Landing since its inception and said that with better weather and a completion of the permit process, the site for Market Basket was good to go.

"I think they're in good shape," Crane commented after the meeting.

McGinley said he was glad that Andrews Construction worked hard to get everything ready this fall, pending the final approval from the board, and he looked forward to things moving forward in the spring.

"Right now, we have a planned opening of Plymouth's new Market Basket in the late fall (of 2019). Before the holidays would certainly be ideal," he said.

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