Hess withdraws from Feb. 18 Bedford Zoning Board of Adjustments hearing, but is expected to return in March

To the Editor:

Amidst growing opposition to Hess’s proposed gas station and convenience store on Hardy Road/Route 101, Hess withdrew its variance applications, which were scheduled to be heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustments on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Hess intends to revise its site plan to reduce the number of fueling stations and is expected to submit revised applications at the end of the month in time for a March hearing.

While it seems that Hess recognized that a 20-dispenser gas station would be a hard sell, Hess is failing to recognize that the issue is not one of “scale” but of “use.” Fueling stations (of any size) are not permitted uses under the existing commercial zoning restrictions applicable to the property. The zoning ordinances were well thought out and were designed to promote residents’ health, safety and welfare by, among other things, prohibiting persistent uses, such as fumes, noise, or similar conditions, that are dangerous to the community’s comfort, peace, enjoyment, health and safety.

Whether it’s two or 20 dispensers, residents will still be exposed to increased congestion, noise, odors, safety and security risks, as well as environmental risks associated with underground fuel storage tanks and related gas station/convenience store dangers. Such a use flies in the face of the ordinance and will result in a domino effect of other non-permitted uses seeking similar concessions along the corridor.

Please be sure to check the town’s calendar on upcoming meetings for updates. This is not yet over.