Planning Board mulls Exit 11 proposal

MERRIMACK – The area near Exit 11 of the F.E. Everett Turnpike will soon get a multiplex cinema and perhaps retail stores.
And maybe, just maybe, drive-through doughnuts and coffee.
The Planning Board on Tuesday received an application for a site plan to build a 3,600-square-foot gas station and convenience store at the intersection of Continental Boulevard and Amherst Road.
The store would also include a drive-through window, where motorists could purchase coffee and doughnuts.
The board’s action is an early step in the approval process, allowing for an engineer study before the site plan goes before the board for approval.
The site now is the expanded parking lot behind Burger King. It’s a de facto commuter parking lot, and on Friday nights during the summer was the location of car shows to benefit the town’s DARE program.
Though the property is owned by Burger King, Bedford resident Jack Nasr has a purchase and sale agreement to buy the property if the store is approved.
In response to a question, Nasr told the board he hasn’t yet signed a contract with any coffee or doughnut retailer. But it was clear whom some board members and residents would like to see, as several yelled out “Krispy Kreme!”
“We’d have to have a workout facility,” joked Steve Keach, a civil engineer representing Nasr.
The gas station-convenience store would be Nasr’s third. He now owns similar businesses in Bedford and Loudon.
A traffic study by McMahon Associates, Inc. of Boston showed the business would only result in an incremental increase in traffic in the area. Sixty-six percent of its business would be “captured” from motorists already drawn to the area, Keach said the study determined.
The store would include 12 gasoline pumps and three, 15,000-gallon underground storage tanks. There would be access only to the site from cars headed west on Amherst Road. The main entrance and exit would be off Continental Boulevard.
The only person in the Town Hall Courtroom audience to comment about the proposal was Manchester attorney Matthew Lapointe, who was representing the owners of the Exxon station across Continental Boulevard from the site.
Lapointe questioned traffic flow and which roads tanker trucks would use to bring fuel to the proposed station.
Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or