Temple ZBA approves Ben’s Maple Products facility plan

  • Ben's Sugar Shack owner Ben Fisk plans to consolidate his operations to a new facility on a lot along Route 101 in Temple. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/3/2021 6:48:04 AM

The Temple ZBA approved an expansion of Ben’s Maple Products LLC on Thursday evening. The decision allows the 16,080-square-foot building proposed for the corner of Route 101 and Webster Highway to go before the Planning Board and Select Board.

“Everyone’s very excited at work today,” applicant Ben Fisk said on Friday. Although the ZBA mulled the proposal since September 2020, Fisk said he expects the rest of the process to be easier as the proposal moves through its other approvals.

“We’re very excited here that we got a yes from the Board,” Fisk said. “There are some stipulations that they want to put in, but we can work through those.”

Board members assembled a preliminary list of conditions for their approval at Thursday’s meeting. Fisk said he wasn’t particularly surprised by any of the conditions they brought up, and noted that the Board intended to consult further with him before finalizing certain aspects of the agreement.

Among other stipulations, the Zoning Board discussed conditions related to traffic, such as daily limits for tractor trailer traffic, prohibiting truck traffic on Old Revolutionary Road and planting a tree buffer on that side of the property. They also discussed conditions regarding the store, such as specifying that the new building can only be used for maple processing and retail, at least 1,000 of the 3,000-square-foot retail space must be dedicated to maple products, and no beer, cigarettes, or lottery tickets be sold.

The proposed building will house all maple processing and packaging activities for the company. Members of the public will be able to tour the maple syrup making process, and the retail space will offer maple products and premade deli items, as previously reported.

“This is the largest structure ever built in Temple,” ZBA Chair John Kieley told other Board members before the vote.

The Zoning Board will finalize the conditions of their approval on Tuesday, May 4, at which point they’ll also take up an ongoing discussion about the town’s process for appointing new ZBA members.

Earlier this year, Fisk paid the town $2,580 after the Conservation Commission billed him for the past five seasons of maple tapping in the Town Forest. The money went to the town’s conservation fund, Conservation Committee Chair Scott Hecker confirmed. Fisk declined to comment on the situation. The Conservation Commission declined to renew Fisk’s contract for sugaring in the Town Forest in December 2020, as previously reported.


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