There has been a lot written and said recently about proposed zoning changes impacting Carr’s Store on the Dublin ballot. Researching online, I was able to clarify the issue for myself. The following is what I found out. If the changes are adopted, drive-through windows will not be allowed by right in any district except the Neighborhood Commercial District. The Dublin Zoning Map shows that this district is one small area on the northeast corner of Routes 101 and 137 where Carr’s Store is located.
Drive-through windows would not be allowed in the Mountain District. In the Rural and Village District they would only be allowed by a special exception granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The special exception rules show that many conditions would have to be addressed before a special exception would be granted. They include surrounding land uses, effect on property values, traffic, health, safety, and conservation commission concerns among others. There would be ample ammunition for opponents of a future proposal to use if it became necessary. I was unable to find any reference to drive-through windows in the Master Plan online.
There has been a gas station and store at 101 and 137 for as long as most people can remember. The site is large, there is good visibility for traffic entering and leaving and the intersection also is open and as safe as any intersection can be. The weaknesses of the present facility are congestion at the pumps, mostly haphazard parking, and a store with an interior layout that is cramped and difficult to navigate.
It would be nice if Carr’s was still locally owned and operated as it was, but times change. The present owner, Cheshire Oil, is a Keene-based company with several well-run facilities in the Monadnock region. Local people of all ages are employed at Carr’s and they have items from local vendors. The staff goes out of their way to assist customers with their needs. If the present owners of Carr’s want to upgrade their facility to keep it a viable business they should be encouraged. It seems wrong to deny them because of a very slight chance that something offensive would be proposed in another area of town.
All of us would like to reduce the residential property tax burden without cutting services. A new facility at Carr’s Store would have an increased assessment, generating more tax revenue without requiring increased town services.
Environmental concerns are important to consider. The runoff at present goes into wetlands eventually. A new facility can be required by the town and state to have a state-of-the-art drainage system which would control pollutants entering the wetlands.
One other observation is that when some opponents of an issue use scare tactics and childish methods, it generally means that they don’t have good quality points with which to make their case.
Last, thanks to the town of Dublin for having a user-friendly website, enabling a person to research the facts of an issue from home. I encourage others to use it to make up their own minds.
Steve Black lives in Dublin.