Letters

Bon Terrain/Northern Blvd Trucking Warehouse

To the Residents of Amherst and surrounding Towns:

      There is a proposal to construct a 1,000,000 sq ft warehouse in Amherst near Route 101A.  The developer plans to build approximately 20% of the warehouse on a parcel of land zoned rural/residential.  The developer is seeking three variances from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to allow the warehouse on the rural/residential lot. 

      This smaller portion of the warehouse will have 314 trucks driving on 101A and surrounding roads, daily.  The remaining 80% of the warehouse will be on an abutting industrial parcel of land.  There is a potential for an additional 1500 trucks on our roads every day!

      If the Zoning Board says NO to these variances, they will have reduced daily truck traffic by 314.  The remaining 800,000 sq ft building could potentially still be built on the industrial lot.  In addition, the developer also wants to build another warehouse (200,000 sq ft) on the same industrial lot, which may add another 300 trucks per day on our roads.

      For Amherst residents that may be concerned about any loss of tax revenue they will have the opportunity to speak if this goes to the Planning Board.  In the meantime, let’s all unite and stop any warehouse from being built on Rural/Residential land.

      I urge Amherst residents to attend the Tuesday, June 21st ZBA meeting at 7:00PM at Souhegan High School.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Mullen

Amherst

Hold Their Feet to the Fire 

To the editor:       

      Many of you may not be aware that Amherst ZBA is currently considering variances to change a 15 acre Rural/Residential plot through a Conditional Use Permit to enable building a warehouse on that land. So why should you as a citizen of Amherst be concerned.

      First if you care about the Constitution and Democracy, you should be concerned as the Town previously voted on this issue in a warrant article in March 2015 voted 1963 to 556 NOT to allow this change, almost a 4 to 1 margin, which was an unequivocal NO. What is a citizens vote worth if it can be overturned by a group of five? The clever little legal, it seems to be legal, trick to overturn your vote is called a Conditional Use Permit obtained by a Variance.

      Answering 5 subjective questions to the satisfaction of 5 members of the Board and you have an approval of the variance. Your fair and unbiased Democracy at work.

      What will the impact of approval to change this decision be? While the variance will only enable the building of a 184,000-sf warehouse it will be merged with an adjacent lot to build a 1.0 million sf warehouse. Additionally, there is another lot where it is possible, they will build another 200,000-sf building. So, what if they build it, it is a warehouse in the Industrial area. It is the impact of the trucks that will saturate our roads and the health implications of the particulates that are spewed out by diesel trucks that we must be concerned about. Let’s take a look at the numbers. As filed by the applicant their traffic study states that weekday trips, read diesel trucks, would increase by 314. This of course is a study produced by a group paid for their opinion by the applicant. Using a study created by Consumer Investigative Reports December 2021 done on a 680,000-sf warehouse would result in number of more than 700 trucks per day. Extrapolate that number to the 1.0 million sf warehouse and you have 3,800 trucks per day, or 1.4 million trucks per year. Those trucks will cause serious safety issues on Route 101a and all surrounding roads. The applicant assured the ZBA that trucks would not use local roads, an assurance that they will be unable to enforce and not care about after they have their approvals.

      Let’s take a look at health issues. The particulates enter the air as microscopical particles, they travel in the air currents, so areas such as the village of Amherst and surrounding towns will not be protected from potential impacts. All age groups are subject to serious health issues. Infants are particularly susceptible, causing lungs not to develop properly, there are at least 5 nursery and private schools on 101a. Problems can actually occur before birth, causing miscarriages.  A longitudinal study completed over 22years in Denmark shows a direct correlation between traffic pollution and heart disease, first signs emerged after only 3 years. Senior citizens with preexisting conditions such as COPD, heart disease and multiple forms of cancer are susceptible to impact from these pollutants resulting in early death. All of these statements are supportable by well-respected independent studies. The Attorney for the applicant never addressed the health impact issues at May 17th hearing before the ZBA, in fact stating that he could not comment because he was not an expert. Interesting he found other experts to support his position on a multitude of issues. Not surprising as this is literally where the killer issues are.

      Of course, I have already heard the argument that this will bring in major tax dollars. Well maybe, other Towns who have hosted these facilities report that they regret the decision, and the benefits have eroded. Let’s face it how many politicians see an increase in revenue and are totally unable to find a way to spend it!  A reduction of taxes for individuals, probably not in the cards. Do not be fooled by the applicant who is motivated totally by self-interest. You will almost certainly see a PR firm pushing the ”positive impacts” soon if they hit roadblocks.  If this is such a great deal for the town why are groups in 10 states currently fighting similar battles to keep these polluters out. Another argument is that in will bring in new jobs NH unemployment rate 2.9%, effectively full employment. These are not good jobs, low pay and will be easily replaced by automation. I am not against development especially in the Industrial Zone but it should be responsible development.

      The negative implications of this are potentially catastrophic to our community. Through the enabling legislation from the State of NH the Zoning Board is responsible for “PROMOTING health, safety and welfare” of the citizens. Certainly not achieving that objective. Hold their feet to the fire, go to the next ZBA meeting, June 21st 7pm at the Souhegan High School.

 

Paul A.Philp

Amherst