One of Derry’s most famous buildings and businesses is looking to make some upgrades to keep up with today’s market.
Sam Patel, owner of the East Derry Store, has been looking to add room to his store that will include a 25 seat restaurant. Patel proposed the idea to the town’s Planning Board on Sept. 20, so they could review and hopefully accept the current site plan.
Patel was accompanied to the meeting by Tim Peloquin of Promised Land Survey, who further explained the details of the plan.
According to Peloquin, Patel is hoping to make this addition because he feels that general stores like his are a dying breed and he needs this restaurant to help keep his business strong.
“It would greatly increase his business motto and his opportunity to survive and thrive,” Peloquin stated.
The building itself has already been framed and built, but Patel is unable to properly open the restaurant until he gained the proper approval from the town. He and Peloquin were also seeking acceptance of plans for additional parking next to the store. Although the new parking would be abutting the Upper Village Hall, Patel had reached an agreement with the East Derry Improvement Society to push the idea forward for the benefit of both sides.
Members of the society were also in attendance to voice their support, one of whom was David Mills, one of the directors for the society, who stated that they and Patel had come to a verbal agreement on the matter.
However, members of the board began to express some confusion over the site plan and what exactly was being done to the surrounding area to produce this new parking lot. They were worried about the lack of a written easement between the two sides and the complications that would cause. There was also concern over the effect that this would have on the Upper Village Hall, which has been a major historical landmark in Derry since 1875, even serving as Derry’s Town Hall at one point.
“This is clearly a unique situation,” member Jim MacEachern noted.
Jurisdiction for the plan was accepted by all members except for Mark Connors and Brian Chirichielo, on the grounds that they felt not even jurisdiction should be accepted without a more complete site plan. As a result of this confusion, review and acceptance of the site plan was moved to the board’s next meeting on Oct. 4, giving the applicants time to clear up the blueprints for the board.