Effingham Releases List of Gas Station Conditions

Effingham—July 16, 2023—Effingham’s Planning Board on Thursday released the Findings of Fact/Notice of Decision document it reviewed at the July 11 hearing before conditionally approving Meena LLC’s gas station Site Plan Application.

The document was not made available prior to the hearing, and was not read aloud during it, leaving the audience, including Meena’s attorney, in the dark about its contents, according to reporting by the Conway Daily Sun.

The now-released document, prepared by Planning Board attorney Christopher Boldt, contains eight “precedent conditions,” which are actions the applicant must take prior to the board signing off on a final site plan that would allow the company to complete the development, which was partially constructed more than two years ago.

The precedent conditions include items previously identified but not addressed, and those identified during recent hearings.

The board said the location of the diesel gas pump must be changed so it is at least 15 feet from the apartment building, and the area between the pump and the building must be blocked off from traffic. The pump must also be 25 feet from the right of way.

The latter requirement may conflict with the parking area for the apartments. If the developer changes the traffic pattern, the board said, it must submit a revised site plan.

The developer must also provide additional spot elevations for the drainage area between the buildings, and spot elevations and drainage flow arrows around the main gas pumps. Both issues, and the location of the diesel pump, were noted to be missing by members of the public after the board’s technical advisor, North Point Engineering, declared the plan was complete in April.

An impermeable liner must be added to the sides of the bioretention basin as part of the stormwater management plan, and the basin spillway must be moved to the east away from the site’s “steep slopes.” Both issues were identified by geoscientist Dr. Robert Newton, also after North Point signed off.

The soil under the basin must be tested for VOCs from the site’s previous gas station, which was closed and removed in 2015. If VOCs are found, the developer will need to redesign the bioretention basin.

There are also a number of “conditions subsequent” to a final site plan approval, such as submitting an Inspection and Maintenance Manual with the Carroll County Registry of Deeds, and conducting quarterly water tests for the presence of VOCs in the site’s Public Water Supply well. “As built” plans must be submitted after construction is complete.

The board decided that North Point Engineering’s Jeffrey Lewis and Board Chair George Bull will jointly determine whether the conditions precedent have been met. Meena is required to pay for North Point’s reviews.

The board was under pressure to rule on the Site Plan Application before August 4, at which point the variance granted by the ZBA in 2021 would have expired.

No timeline was discussed in regard to meeting the conditions precedent. The property remains fenced off and closed to the public, except for the apartment building.

5 Comments

  1. JD 8 months ago July 17, 2023

    So the EPB approves a gas station where by law, on record, it is illegal to build. BUT….to do so they will lay out a mine filed of conditions before it can be built AND only then will they sign off on the final plan?? IMO…..it should never have been approved…..but approve or don’t approve it!! Period! Are some of these conditional requests an attempt to make board members less evil in the court of public opinion? “Sure we approved the gas station……but look at all these hoops we’ve laid out to make the owner go through before we sign off”.

    Certainly there are the obvious conditions surrounding safety, ground water protection, spillage protection, etc. But some of these seem to be a thin veil of conditions to try and save face. You forgot to ensure they paint the diesel pump green and make sure the store entrance welcome mat is 4 inches from the threshold. No more ….no less. Ridiculous.

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  2. Neil Brown 8 months ago July 18, 2023

    I am a resident and 32-year lakefront property owner about ¼ mile from the gas station site. I am so disappointed in the Effingham decision. The list of conditions does not come close to making it palatable. It amazes me that a couple of individuals can disrespect the requirements mandated by a dozen towns in the Groundwater Protection Ordinance. This is not democracy.
    So, let’s look at reality. If Effingham, in its final ruling, had not allowed the gas station it would likely be sued by Meena to recover all the costs, material, technical, legal, etc., because of the initial ‘go-ahead’ given by the ZBA. That would be uncomfortable and a significant cost to the town and they would likely lose. This was less than creatively avoided with the permit and “conditions.”
    What immediately comes to mind- Can the towns on the Ossipee Aquifer, who unanimously agreed to an Groundwater Protection Ordinance prohibiting gas stations and had their mandate violated by one signatory, Effingham, sue that town for breach of the ordinance? Or is there another way, e.g., a class-action suit, to tie this up in the courts for another couple of years?
    I look to the Alliance, Green Mtn. Conservation Grp., etc., to craft obstacles, as I don’t want any chance of the aquifer and my water being compromised.

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  3. P. W. H. Tung 8 months ago July 18, 2023

    Are the Planning Board members trying to whitewash their obvious guilt in giving Meena the greenlight by insisting that certainly safety measures be in place before they sign off on this? What supersedes safety and health issues? Tax benefits for the town’s coffers? Or pride?

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  4. Willy Whittaker 8 months ago July 19, 2023

    All this whining will be music to my ears the first time I pull in, fill up, get a slice of pizza and a cold six pack! Might even put the boat in later at the 25 ramp and go to the marina and fill up…I’ll try not to spill to much gas into the Lake from my overflow!

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  5. Admin 8 months ago July 19, 2023

    This is a reminder that all comments are welcome, but those using multiple fake names will have their posts removed and be banned. We have just taken down a number of posts to previous stories about the gas station, and will continue to do so.

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