Those who live or work in Derry will have one more chance to wake up and smell the coffee after the Planning Board approved the site plan for an Aroma Joe’s coffee shop on the site of the former Pinkerton Tavern.
The Town of Derry is the owner of the property at 13 Manchester Road, PID 08274. The town acquired the small strip of land when Manchester Road was expanded and is marketing the property with Realtor Beverly Donovan of Colliers International. The town has a purchase and sales agreement with Whitcher Builders, developers of the site.
Michael Whitcher, principal in Whitcher Builders, was at the meeting Wednesday, July 16, along with Steve Smith and Bill Stack of Aroma Joe’s.
Stack said the proposed building will be 840 square feet, with a single drive-up window accessible to Manchester Road and a bypass lane around the site. He said they filed a traffic plan with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and were told they needed a second exit lane, which they have added to the plan. The drive-up allows for “stacking” of seven to eight vehicles, he said.
The area is required to have 66 percent green space, and the Aroma Joe’s plan will have 83.2 percent green space, he said.
The project will tap into existing town water and sewer and will have surface drainage from the high point on the lot to a detention basin, he said. The detention basin is sized to handle peak development run-off, he said, but with so much green space there will be less run-off.
Aroma Joe’s is primarily a drive-up operation, he said. There is no indoor seating, though this model will have a patio area for people who walk up and buy coffee.
The project has received a favorable response from the Technical Review Committee, Conservation Commission and Highway Safety Committee, Stack said.
The lighting plan has been submitted and will feature downcast LED lighting, he said.
The facility will have six parking spaces, four for the public and two for staff, Stack said. With most of the trade being drive-up, he does not anticipate a need for more, he said.
Whitcher said the focus will be on coffee. A limited amount of packaged baked goods will be available, but not made on-site, he said. The hours of operation are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and deliveries will be twice a week.
Alternate member Marc Flattes observed that there were some fairly flat areas on the site and requested they do more with drainage. Stack said they had elevated the site, adding some grading, and “it will drain.”
Flattes also expressed concern about older residents and the handicapped, and Stack told him the patio area will be accessible.
Stack circulated a photo of an existing Aroma Joe’s, a small clapboard structure in blue and gray. Board member Ann Alongi expressed concern as to whether the building would fit with the general tone of the area. “We’ve worked hard to make this area happen,” she said of the improved Manchester Road.
“It is a franchise,” Whitcher said. “We are subject to their designs.” However, he added, he was willing to adapt the design where he could.
Member Randy Chase said he didn’t see why it wouldn’t fit in, noting, “The Pinkerton Tavern was dark red.”
Chase added that the design was similar to the Wells, Maine shop, which he had seen in person. “The colors are not obnoxious,” he said of the blue and gray of the Wells store. “It fits the general theme of the town. Every building can’t look the same – that’s what America is all about.”
The board voted 9-0 to accept jurisdiction of the project and to accept the application.