Bedford permit denied for Hess gas station on Route 101

On April 15, Bedford’s Zoning Board of Adjustment denied a proposal from the Hess Corporation for a permit that would enable the building of a gasoline service station on Route 101.

The proposed site was within the commercial zoning district, an area at 2 Hardy Road, where such a project is not an allowed use.

The outcome of copious discussion that evening was a motion by Town Councilor Bill Jean that the request be denied. The motion was approved.

Two additional applications related to the Hess project were withdrawn after denial of the permit. They pertained to the building of a retaining wall, canopy and monument sign within a wetland setback area, and to a permit for a changeable reader-board sign.

An attorney for the Hess Corporation, Bill Tucker, of Manchester, early on responded to some concerns from residents who opposed the gas station. Many wrote letters to the editor to the Journal, stating their opposition to the project. Some feared that underground gas tanks would leak. Tucker said Hess would use state-of-the-art installations in full compliance with all state and federal regulations. He cited a stellar safety record at other gas stations.

Other concerns addressed by Tucker related to a potential for increased traffic accidents and the potential for crime. He said the projected layout of the site was thoroughly studied. He said that the gas station would not be a destination, rather it would be a place where people passing by would get gas and be on their way. Tucker, who may appeal within 30 days, also noted higher potentials for crime at sites, such as banks.

For a 24-page report on the meeting, including comments from Bedford residents, visit Click on Boards & Committees, Zoning Board, Zoning Minutes, 2014. Select minutes of April 15, 2014.