AMESBURY — A suggestion to move the town's public works garage to the former truck-stop property on Route 150 isn't feasible, because there are other plans for the site that could possibly include a hotel, the mayor said this week.
Former Municipal Councilor Alison Lindstrom recently touted the Route 150 former truck-stop site, which has been owned by the town for a decade, for the new home of the public works garage,
The Municipal Council is still mulling whether to approve an $8 million bond for the public works project, which is being proposed for South Hunt Road. A vote is expected at the council's April 10 meeting at the earliest.
"It's a desirable site for commercial development," Mayor Thatcher Kezer said. "I would rather have commercial development that benefits from high visibility than a DPW ... possibly for another hotel."
There's already one hotel in Amesbury, Fairfield Inn on Clarks Road. A second hotel on Elm Street near Carriagetown Marketplace is making its way through the Planning Board.
Town planner Nipun Jain said hotel developers are working to address the final recommendations by the Planning Board's consultant.
The truck stop was one of 26 sites considered for the garage by the consulting firm, Pace Corps. The old truck stop was not recommended because of its proximity to residents.
The site has been used as the town's snow dump for years, and nearby residents of Woodridge Lane have complained to officials about the constant noise from dump trucks all night.
Lindstrom said plans for a hotel at the site are nothing new.
"(Kezer) said that five years ago," Lindstrom said.
Building the public works garage on the Route 150 site wouldn't hinder the commercial development, but help it, since building a public works garage would attract developers, she said.
"Done right, a DPW can make the property more attractive, and if a developer finally shows up who likes the site, he can buy the DPW, and we can easily move the steel building," Lindstrom said.
Just how easy moving a 17,779-square-foot building isn't known, and Lindstrom didn't know where the building could be moved to.
Building the DPW on the truck-stop property would also keep the snow dump there, which wouldn't sit well with nearby residents.
"It's not something you want to have near houses," Council President Anne Ferguson said. "People were begging for two years to have it moved. There were a lot of reasons why the site was not chosen. That was one of them. It is a valuable piece of land."
Lindstrom said noise from the snow dump occurs only a couple of times a year, and downtown residents also have to hear the trucks working to remove snow in the winter.
Changing the proposed DPW garage site from South Hunt Road to the former truck stop may be difficult. The council voted to endorse South Hunt Road as the preferred site last year.
Under the plan, the town would acquire 3.27 acres of Waste Management's land in exchange for hooking up the leachate from the landfill to the sewer system.
The town expects to spend $180,000 to extend the sewer line to the property, but officials say they would need to extend the line anyway to hook up the public works building.
Public works director Rob Desmarais said the town has the capacity to handle the amount of leachate that would be collected, as well as the capability to treat it. Since January, the town has been receiving the leachate from Waste Management.