Remember the proposal approved by the Planning Board to re-open the Gulf Station across Warren Street from the Concord High School? Details of that process can be found here and here (see Feb. 15 minutes).
The School Board, motivated by concern for the health and well-being of the students at Concord High, and arguing that the Planning Board did not adequately meet the standards for granting the exceptions, filed a legal appeal to the Board’s decision.
The hearing to appeal the Planning Board’s decision is TODAY, FRIDAY, AUGUST 25TH, 1:30 PM @ Merrimack Superior Court, 5 COURT ST. This hearing is open to the public and the School Board needs community support!
Reasons to oppose re-opening a gas station at 188 Pleasant St.:
WORSENING the already dangerous traffic and pedestrian situation around the High School, as presented by the City’s own Transportation Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC).
The location and size of this property, in a small wedge of land between Pleasant and Warren Streets, and at an already complicated and busy 5-way intersection, does not conform to the size appropriate for a gas station and requires several variances to function, including excessively wide driveways. This is directly across Warren St. from Concord High School where parents are picking up and dropping off students and students are walking and biking. Anyone who has gone through this area during peak times knows how dangerous this area is with cars stopping and kids crossing Warren and Pleasant Streets. Adding an extremely vehicle-heavy use to this area is unsafe! The previous gas station was grandfathered in and these issues existed then. The City should learn the lesson from this previous experience, not shrug its shoulders and recreate these issues.
Such development is inconsistent “with the future plans for this neighborhood or for the City’s transportation infrastructure,” according to City Planner Heather Shank.
This corner is considered a Gateway intersection for those entering downtown Concord from I-89. Do we really want to welcome visitors to Concord with another gas station?
Though today’s appeal does not name risks of benzene emissions from gas stations, however, they are well-documented and should be of concern to us all! The World Health Organization Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality states there is no safe level for benzene. There is an existing Irving Station at this intersection, and adding to the emissions load by allowing another gas station in close proximity to the school violates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s School Siting Guidelines. The proposed station on Pleasant St. is a mere 50 feet from Concord High School, as opposed to the recommended 1,000 feet.
Today’s hearing will run less than an hour and community support is VITAL to the School Board’s efforts to protect Concord’s kids. Please come to 5 Court St. at 1:30 today to take a stand for the health and well-being of our community’s children!