Say ‘no’ to Hess and ‘yes’ to Bedford

To the Editor:

In case you haven’t heard, a proposed Hess fueling station and convenience store of unprecedented scale has been proposed to be developed at 2 Hardy Road – at the intersection of Route 101 and Hardy Road.

When I first learned about the proposed station at the end of December, I thought to myself, “Don’t worry, this will never be approved by the town of Bedford.” I was shocked and puzzled to recently learn that the proposed project is quickly advancing.

How could this be? After all, the property is zoned commercial. A variety of retail, office and related uses are permitted in commercial zones. Fueling stations are prohibited, and they are prohibited for a reason.

Bedford’s Route 101 Corridor is described in the town’s Master Plan as playing “an important role in knitting together the past, present and future Bedford. Too much commercial development will undermine this role. … Design guidelines should be established for (key intersection) nodes to ensure a design vocabulary consistent with creating a scale and style that is ‘village’ in its nature rather than that which is more typical of suburban highway commercial zones.”

A number of outstanding establishments exist along the corridor, which exemplify this goal, such as the Copper Door Restaurant, the Bedford Village Inn, the Bedford Town Common, Bedford Fields, Goedecke Design, the Weathervane Restaurant and LaBelle Winery – to name just a few. These businesses add value to the community; They bring friends, neighbors and passersby together in the vein intended by the Master Plan, and transform Route 101 into a destination corridor. They knit together the past, present and future of Bedford in a way that a massive Hess station cannot.

Development of the 2 Hardy Road property in accordance with Bedford’s Master Plan, and in accordance with town ordinances is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to preserving Bedford’s character and preventing a domino effect of nonpermitted uses from cropping up along the corridor and transforming it into a suburban highway commercial zone.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the ZBA will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. at BCTV to discuss whether to grant the Hess Corporation a number of variances to allow it to develop its proposed fueling station and convenience store along the Route 101 Corridor.

I encourage all of you who care about the development of this corridor to attend and show your support for the future of Bedford by saying “no” to Hess and “yes” to Bedford.