Is it sanctuary or another?
Same here, Starlight is always my quest settlement. Quick to get to and easy to clear. No quest to go on to clear it. And it is an easy one to build being there is a lot of reasonably flat space. Sanctuary takes too much prep work for me to start there.In my own current save, I did use Sanctuary, but I used the quest-skip holotape to 'start' from quest "Where There's Smoke" so I didn't do those early few 'tutorial' bits. Stodge and his crew got Sunshine Tidings.
On the playthroughs where I actually did all of the questline, which has been a while, I usually used Starlight Drive In because it has so much empty space.
And once I finish tweaking this load order and start over again, I'm going to only build in the settlements that already had people living in them before I got there, so most likely Abernathy will be the 'main quest' settlement.
Maybie Stodge reminds you of Handcock? Or to snub the Mayor by having a prosperous settlement run by a ghoul under his nose? :PI use Sanctuary as the quest hub. Stodge and his crew I've sent to Hangman's Alley in the two playthroughs I've done so far. Not sure why.
i will frequently leave Red Rocket empty, or even salvage away everything from that settlement to avoid the triagle of doom