Parking lot expansion OK'd at Wally's Pub

Neighbors air concerns to the Planning Board

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, November 23, 2012

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Wally's Pub, located at 144 Ashworth Ave. in Hampton Beach, received approval to expand its parking lot. [Rich Beauchesne, photo]

HAMPTON — The town's Planning Board recently signed off on a project to allow Wally's Pub to remove a nearby duplex on Johnson Avenue so it can expand the parking lot for the rock 'n' roll club and biker bar at Hampton Beach.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday, Nov. 7, to approve the project despite past complaints from neighbors about noise from the pub and alleged illegal activity going on in the current parking lot.

Attorney Ted Morris, representing owner Al Fleury, said the new parking lot will consist of 24 parking spaces with room for additional motorcycles to park.

He said the new lot will only be used for employees and patrons of the bar and will hopefully improve congestion and safety while addressing some of the neighbors' past concerns about the establishment.

Morris said they also incorporated recommendations that were given to selectmen by Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan on what can be done to mitigate noise and alleged illegal activity in the parking lot.

Included in the plans he said is a proposal to install an 8-foot-high fence to squelch noise and "night friendly" lighting on 18-foot poles.

Morris said they will also follow the chief's recommendation to have a full-time parking lot monitor during the bigger shows at the establishment.

One of the complaints from residents made to selectmen was that there was alleged drug use, public drinking and other illegal activity going on in the parking lot.

Morris said the lot will be monitored at closing through 1:30 a.m.

"I don't want anything going on down there because it's on me if it does," said Fleury, who said he will do whatever is "acceptable to the Hampton Police Department."

Richard Nichols, the selectmen's representative to the board, noted that complaints at the pub have lessened after all the controversy this past summer. He said the owner appeared to be doing what he can to be a good neighbor.

Nevertheless, several residents expressed concern with the proposal including Sandy Marsolini, who said she believes the project will "devalue her property."

Others expressed concerns with the additional traffic on the residential road.

Town Planner Jamie Steffen said the plan is not perfect but is an improvement of what was originally proposed and what is there now.

Planning Board member Brendan McNamara said the new plan along with the chief's recommendations should alleviate a lot of the neighbors' concerns.

"I think the parking lot is going to be an improvement," said Planning Board member Mark Loopley.

Nichols said if the board approves the project he would like to see a note in the plans that the use of parking lot attendant will be at the Police Department's discretion.

The board agreed to make that along with other recommendations by the town planner as conditions for approval.