Welcome to Issue 11 of the NABGAS newsletter where we discuss updates to the Chevron near Bethany Lake proposal (L2100244) and Washington County land use code updates regarding gas stations.
Washington County has posted digital copies of all of the public comments made on the Chevron near Bethany Lake proposal. There were over 78 comments! Nice work everyone.
As a reminder the Hearings Officer granted the applicant a continuance and a new Public Hearing on January 20, 2022 at 9 a.m. There isn’t much we can do about the Chevron near Bethany Lake application until Bob Barman submits the revised application documents sometime before the hearing.
While we wait, we can still make an impact by pushing for land use code updates to limit the areas gas stations can be built. As a reminder the Board of Commissioners is unable to do anything about the Chevron near Bethany Lake BUT they can change land use codes to ensure a future application like it would never get accepted in the first place.
Every month I think we should have one person testify about implementing land use updates for gas stations at the Washington County Board of Commissioners’ meeting. Their meetings are on the first and third Tuesday @ 10 am and the fourth Tuesday @ 6:30 pm every month.
On Nov. 9th I gave a two minute testimony about my desire to see Washington County implement land use codes to protect sensitive areas from gas stations (see example codes). It has been about month- so, lets show up again!
It takes a bit of practice to nail a two minute speech but it is well worth the effort to keep this on their radar. If you have the time to write and rehearse a respectful two minute script please sign-up below. If you prefer, you could also submit a written testimony.
I think our best strategy is to be consistent squeaky wheels on gas station land use codes instead of overwhelming the Board with lots of comments all at once. So, I will keep a list of volunteers and email y’all once a month.
Many different government organizations have advice on how to site gas stations to protect sensitive areas from their dangerous petroleum leaks and air pollution. As an example, the guidance from this New Hampshire Dept. of Environmental Services is refreshingly candid and clear:
Given the likelihood that UST systems will release gasoline constituents (most commonly in the form of vapor leaks from underground piping systems or overfills of the UST, vehicle tank or portable container) and the possibility that spilled fuel will be carried off the fueling area by stormwater, municipal officials interested in providing the highest possible level of protection for groundwater used for drinking water should consider restricting the siting of gas stations as they would any other land use that is likely to contaminate groundwater. If the municipality’s zoning ordinance prohibits the location of certain high- risk land uses in wellhead protection areas, aquifer protection areas, or other areas of high-value groundwater, gas stations should be considered for inclusion in the list of prohibited land uses.
With this continuance we have even more time to organize. Please share nabgas.com with neighbors and ask them to subscribe to these emails with the link below.