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Hess Corp. delays variance hearing on gas station-convenience store plan in Bedford

BEDFORD — The Hess Corp. has postponed a variance hearing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment scheduled for today. As Hess was the only application before the board, the meeting has been canceled.

“They are withdrawing while they consider design changes. We do expect that Hess will reapply for the March 18 ZBA meeting,” said Rick Sawyer, planning director.

In December, the Amerada Hess Corp. representatives met with the Planning Board to gather opinions on a conceptual plan. The proposed 2,480-square-foot convenience store and 16 self-service fueling stations — eight bays serving two vehicles each — would be located diagonally across from Hannaford supermarket on Route 101 and Jenkins Road on a 30,000-square-foot lot.

The station would provide left- and right-turn access from Hardy Road and a right-turn only entrance and a right-turn-only exit on Route 101. Single-family homes abut the site to the north and northwest behind the wooded wetlands off Hardy Road.

The original building had been redesigned after discussions with the town’s planning staff, but at the December meeting planning board members raised concerns about zoning ordinances that restrict fast-food restaurants and limit automobile services along that section of Route 101, and how Hess plans to provide curb cuts to accommodate fast-moving traffic along Route 101.

The Hess station would be in the commercial zone and needs approval from the ZBA, including a variance for a fueling station at the location; allowing retaining walls, propane tank, sign, canopy, and store within the 50-foot wetlands setback; the canopy within the 60-foot front setback to Route 101; a gas-pricing sign; a rooftop sign on the canopy; more than one building sign; and a waiver for a dumpster within 30 feet of a property line at Route 101.

On Jan. 28, Hess’ attorney, Bill Tucker of Manchester; Luke DeStefano of Bohler Engineering; and Andy Lotenbacker and Phil Lombardo of the Hess Corp., presented their project to the Conservation Commission. The company said its project has no direct impact on wetland areas, DeStefano said, but the proposed building is within 50 feet of two wetlands on or adjacent to the property, the biggest wetland is in the north section of the site and a small isolated wetland area in the southeast corner of Hardy Road and Route 101. Also within the buffer are a 840-square-foot building, two retaining walls and a 110-square-foot canopy. The retaining walls are the largest encroachments on the wetlands, he said.

DeStefano told the commission that the two 20,000-square-foot storage tanks will contain four grades of fuel within double-wall fiberglass tanks with double-wall piping system and line leak dispensers.

“If a leak is detected and the pressure drop is great enough, it will shut the system down. The tanks are being monitored 24/7/365 all electronically,” said DeStefano.

The commission approved the Hess Express variance request for construction within the 50-foot wetland setback with concerns: There be a review of the boring logs, how ledge on the property will be addressed; any blasting is needed the company must provide insurance or a New Hampshire LUST Fund for leaking underground storage tanks that cover any potential leaks; the project consider a state spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan; and detention basins be monitored.

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