Act 250 permit in hand, but new local permit required for Price Chopper project

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MANCHESTER — Although the proposed demolition and replacement of the local Price Chopper supermarket has received a necessary permit from the state, the town will ask the plaza's owner to return for a new local permit.

And while the renovated plaza will have space for a grocery store, it's not set in stone that Price Chopper will remain the tenant.

The permit issued on Feb. 24 by the state's Act 250 Commission grants permission to demolish an existing 50,000 square feet of commercial space at the shopping center at 263 Depot St. It also approves construction of 39,400 square feet for a new, freestanding grocery store; the renovation of another 27,3700 square feet of business space; and allows for a total of 212 parking spaces. Demolition would work around the existing grocery store, which may stay open until the new grocery store is open.

The plaza's owner, Crosspoint Associates, will have to return to Manchester for an amended permit, according to Zoning Administrator Janet Hurley.

"They received a local permit in late 2014," Hurley explained. "However, there have been changes to the site plan due to the Act 250 review process. So, it will have to come back to the town for an amended permit."

The state's Act 250 permit is still subject to a 30-day appeal period.

Crosspoint, the New Hampshire-based company that has owned the plaza since 2013, has no intention of giving up the project, according to Tricia Hayes, a spokesperson for the company.

"We're hoping we come out of the Act 250 appeal process and then will start with the town's permitting process," Hayes said.

It's not certain when the town's permitting process would begin or how long it would take. But Hayes said that "it would be idea to break ground and prepare the site this spring so we have a good, long building season."

It's not known whether the new tenant would be a Price Chopper supermarket, she said.

"It won't be until after all of the permits are received that there will be negotiations with a grocery store," she said.

Crosspoint first submitted its redevelopment proposal to the town in October 2014. An application for an Act 250 permit was submitted in January 2015.

The current project calls for razing the old 10,000 squarefoot vacant bowling alley behind the shopping center, as well as the retail space to the left (west) of Price Chopper. Existing tenants, including the Sherwin-Williams and Village Picture Shows, would be offered new spaces within the new building.

The project also includes carving out a section of hill behind the plaza and erecting a nine to 10 foot retaining wall.

If the project receives necessary approval, Crosspoints will use BMA Architects of Manchester to oversee construction.

Hayes said Crosspoint, with properties all over New England, has lots of contacts with grocery stores and the company can't comment on what tenant may be in the new space.

Hurley said the project would need to go in front of the town's Development Review Board (DRB). And any design changes would have to be reviewed by the Design Advisory Board (DBA), which would make advisory determinations for the DRB.

Residents have previously expressed a concern the project would bring noise, light pollution and idling delivery trucks. The permit addresses those concerns by mandating "sound abating wall systems" around loading docks and roof-mounted refrigeration units. The permit also requires only native species be planted between the plaza and the nearby Batten Kill.

Other conditions set by the Act 250 commission are that crews control dust during construction and limit heavy equipment operations and other activities that will cause noise between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with no work to be done on holidays.

When completed, deliveries would only be allowed between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

A spokesperson for Price Chopper did not return a request for comment.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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