NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 18, 2014

Opposition mounts to Storey Ave. pharmacy plan

NEWBURYPORT — Almost two dozen residents gathered Wednesday night at a Planning Board meeting to express opposition to a pharmacy-convenience store-gas station complex proposed for the corner of Storey Avenue and Low Street.

The board took no action but the presence of energized opponents appears to reflect ongoing concerns that a commercial complex at that corner will increase traffic and congestion.

Presenting before the board was Tropic Star Development LLC, which is seeking approval of its site plan for parcels it controls at 75, 79, 79R, 81 and 83 Storey Ave.

It plans to construct a pharmacy with a drive-through window and a convenience store. The New Hampshire company is also planning to reconstruct the Shell filling station there so traffic can move more easily.

Tropic Star sought approval two years ago, but was unable to acquire the re-zoning.

Now zoning issues have been resolved, and executives and lawyers have appeared before planners several times in seeking site-plan approval.

Wednesday night’s meeting was chaired by board vice-chairman Jim McCarthy, who told the gathering that chairman Dan Bowie is on vacation.

Bowie has recently been the target of criticism by executives of a development firm with business before the Planning Board, who say that Bowie resides in Maine and should not be permitted to chair the panel.

McCarthy structured the meeting so that residents could air their concerns about traffic — and soon the atmosphere was full of objections and complaints.

Many of the speakers were from the Woodman Way-Clipper Way neighborhoods, located near the intersection of Storey and Low.

Several residents said they were concerned that a vehicle exiting the pharmacy could not make a left turn onto Storey Avenue.

They said that would involve moving across up to three lanes of traffic, plus there is a steady stream of cars leaving a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street.

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