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Bedford zoning board says no to Hess

BEDFORD — Hess Corp. will have to find another location to build a gas station and convenience store in town, or take its chances through an appeal if it wants to pursue the project.

After hearing concerns from residents and rebuttal from Hess Corp. attorney Bill Tucker on Tuesday, the Zoning Board of Adjustment denied the company’s request to build a gas station within the commercial zone along Route 101, where it has not been a permitted use since a 1967 town ordinance.

After the board’s decision, Tucker conferred with company representatives and withdrew the two remaining variance requests to permit a retaining wall, gas pump canopy and monument sign within the 50-foot wetland setback, and permit a changeable readerboard sign.

The board had to base its decision on certain criteria – granting the variance would not be contrary to the public interest, the spirit of the ordinance is observed, granting the variance would do substantial injustice, values of the surrounding properties will not be diminished, and the literal enforcement of the ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship.

While the board was torn on whether there was sufficient evidence to support the company’s claim that property values would not be impacted, members said the application did not satisfy the remaining criteria. The board also said hardship is being created by the proposed use.“It would be against the spirit of the ordinance. It’s been specifically restricted for automotive use,” said Bill Jean, the town council’s ZBA representative.

Per zoning board rules, the applicant has 30 days to file for a rehearing if they want to pursue the project.

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