Effingham Gas Station Case: News Stories

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Search Ends for Letter in Effingham Case

Town says it cannot find the letter that Select Board member Chris Seamans referred to at a ZBA appeal hearing last month. 

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ZBA Decision Appealed in Effingham Gas Station Case

Appellants say the board’s January 3 hearing was “replete with deficiencies.”

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Source: Town of Effingham

Effingham Board Approves Controversial Ordinance Changes

Critics say the rewrites are regressive and will create an environmental loophole.

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Hazardous

Zoning Change Would Nix Conservation Commission Reviews

The Fire Chief is not the only one that Effingham’s Planning Board wants to eliminate from required reviews of plans to handle and store hazardous materials.

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Effingham Sets Hearing on Limiting Fire Chief’s Role

The Planning Board wants the Chief removed from zoning’s chain of oversight in regulating potentially hazardous substances.

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Document Sought in Effingham Gas Station Case

A letter is said to explain why the town withdrew a zoning enforcement action against Meena’s convenience store last year.

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Effingham ZBA Denies Appeal in Gas Station Case

The attorney for the abutters says the next step would be to file for reconsideration at the ZBA.

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Water

The Year in Review 2023

A major environmental case grinds on.

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EDITORIAL

The Curious Case of Item 12

Effingham is having a “Rashomon” moment.

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Effingham's Planning Board at work.

ZBA Pushes Gas Station Appeal to January

Error in notifying neighboring towns is cited.

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Effingham Planners Say Gas Station Conditions Have Been Met

Members of the public say the discussion isn’t finished.

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Gas Station Soil Went to Lake Campground

Transfer appears to have been permissible under state law.

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Convenience Store Part of Effingham ZBA Appeal

Abutters say the former Boyle’s Market store lost its grandfathered status after Meena kept it closed for more than two years.

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Effingham Board’s “Findings of Fact” Questioned

An independent review of the document used to approve the Meena LLC gas station raises questions.

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New Conservation Group Sponsoring Newton Presentation

“OWL” is advancing the water protection debate and advocating for the homeowners behind the legal appeals in the Effingham gas station case.

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Effingham Gas Station Hearing Continued

December 6 is the new date, allowing time to notify Lakes Region Planning Commission and the nine additional towns affected by the development.

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Effingham ZBA to Hear Gas Station Appeal

October 25 hearing will focus on claims the Planning Board violated the zoning ordinance when it granted conditional approval in July.

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New Appeal Filed in Gas Station Case

Abutters say Effingham’s Planning Board violated the zoning ordinance when it conditionally approved the controversial development.

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Abutters Appeal Effingham Gas Station Decision

“The Planning Board appears to have erroneously believed that because Meena received a variance for a gas station…approving the site plan application was inevitable, regardless of environmental concerns.”

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Former Chair Says Select Board Authorized Gas Station Construction

Michael Cahalane tells Effingham’s Planning Board there was a “consensus” to allow the work to proceed without an approved site plan.

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Effingham Board to Discuss Gas Station Legal Expenses

A public hearing will take place on Monday, August 7, to address issues raised in the wake of the board’s conditional approval of the development.

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Planning Board Document Revives Gas Station Construction Issue

Effingham’s Select Board says there is “nothing to substantiate” one of the items in the Planning Board’s “Findings of Fact” that was used as the basis of its July 11 gas station decision.

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Effingham Releases List of Gas Station Conditions

Addressing the location of the diesel pump and making changes in the design of the bioretention basin are among tasks that must be completed before a final sign-off.

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Controversial Effingham Gas Station Approved

Conditions that will be attached to the approval have not been made public.

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Additional Views on Gas Station Now On View

Newly released to the public, letters asking Effingham to deny the Meena gas station application come from an array of people and organizations.

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ALS/LIDAR technology graphically illuminates the extent to which the proposed gas stationsite was mined for gravel, making it hyper-vulnerable to contamination. Photo: Robert Newton

Former Effingham ZBA Member Opposes Gas Station

Calls Meena LLC “arrogant” in its attitude toward scientific concerns.

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Meena Poised for Decision on Gas Station In July

Planning Board members seem to agree that conditions would need to be met before they would sign off on the plan.

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Abutters Lobby Against Gas Station

“This affects you, it affects me, and this affects the future the water in this town,” said teenager Stella Lunt, who lives nearby.

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EDITORIAL

Editorial: The Value of Public Input

Effingham’s June 13 hearing revealed what the Planning Board has been missing for the past two years.

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Meena Gas Station Hearing Continued to June 13

“We can’t just arbitrarily decide that we think this is a bad idea and refuse it,” said Effingham Planning Board Chair George Bull.

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All Eyes on Effingham Board

The board has a legal responsibility to protect the public by making a reasonable and lawful decision based on facts—all of the facts.

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Gas Station Drainage

Meena Gas Station Plan Is Not Approvable, Newton Says

After his credibility is questioned, the geoscientist identifies four critical ways in which the plan fails to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare.

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Meena Presents its Gas Station Plan

The developer calls it the “best” plan. Critics promise a rebuttal.

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Questions Raised About New Planning Board Members

Nate Williams and Michael Cahalane, whose votes on the ZBA helped Meena LLC obtain a zoning variance for a gas station, will now deliberate the company’s Site Plan Application on the Planning Board.

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Town Halll Storage

Neighboring Towns in the Dark About Gas Station Proposal

Days away from a hearing, there is still no unified Site Plan Application for Meena’s Development of Regional Impact.

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Special Meena Hearing Set as Application Confusion Continues

Impact of zoning officer’s ruling remains one of a number of unknowns.

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Effingham Board Faces Array of Meena Gas Station Issues

Planning Board Chair George Bull calls for a retraction of a ruling by the zoning officer, while a board source says Meena may have submitted materials directly to the independent advisor.

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Former Boyle’s Market Loses Protected Status Under Meena Ownership

The Conway developer’s decision to close the convenience store after buying it more than two years ago has voided its legal status as a protected non-conforming use.

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Focus on State Permits Hobbled Meena’s Gas Station Goal

Newly released public documents show the company’s failure to consider zoning regulations led to a series of missteps that stalled their plan.

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Effingham Planning Board Member Declines to be Seated

Newly elected Victoria Garceau has bowed-out, according to the Conway Daily Sun.

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She Wanted Officials to Know Her Story

Ossipee resident Leona Simon’s opposition to the Effingham gas station proposal was based on personal experience.

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A Teen’s Environmental Education

High school student Stella Lunt of Ossipee is learning a lot from the Meena gas station case.

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Months After Deadline, Meena Submits New Gas Station Documents

Whether Effingham’s Planning Board will accept the material is unclear, given its September cut-off date and a court-ordered stay of the proceedings.

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Key Official in Gas Station Case Stepping Down

Effingham’s Planning Board will have new leadership when it resumes consideration of the controversial gas station plan.

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Court Dismisses Appeal of Planning Board Decision

The ruling comes as officials in neighboring towns say they want the additional environmental assurances a Special Use Permit would require.

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Spotlight Returns to Effingham Board Next Week

The ZBA on February 1 will continue deliberating whether a Planning Board decision in the Meena case violated the Zoning Ordinance.

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EDITORIAL

A Matter of Fairness

An Effingham Planning Board decision inequitably favors a Conway developer and deprives the board and the community of required environmental information.

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Gas Pumps

ZBA Defers Decision on Gas Station Permit

Discussion will continue on February 1.

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An 12/21/21 Site Plan Application illustration designed by Jacob and Mark McConkey shows the location of the Public Water Supply Well without specifying the distance between it and the USTs. A recent revision by another designer omits the well.

Effingham Gas Station Proposal Remains on Hold

Appeals of the Planning Board’s decision regarding the need for a Special Use Permit are pending with the ZBA and Superior Court.

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Gas Pumps

Another Appeal Filed in Gas Station Case

Meena LLC’s need for a Special Use Permit is once again the focus.

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Effingham GPO

Effingham Has a Groundwater Protection Ordinance for Moments Like This

Gas station technology has improved, but that doesn’t change anything about the original basis for the ordinance.

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Water Seeps Into November’s Election

Concerns about protecting drinking water are rising, and local candidates have taken notice.

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Focus Switches to Court in Gas Station Case

Hearing is continued as Effingham’s Planning Board is told to file a certified record of the case’s proceedings in response to a lawsuit.

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Court Halts Planners’ Gas Station Review

Effingham Planning Board is told to provide the court with a certified record of the proceedings.

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Low Marks for Latest Gas Station Plan as Judge Pauses Review

An August decision about a Special Use Permit is now in court.

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Geologist Critiques Proposed Effingham Gas Station

“It (spilled gas) is going to end up here,” said Newton, pointing to Ossipee Lake at Thursday night’s public presentation.

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The Story Meena Doesn’t Want You to Hear

It’s not clear whether Dr. Robert Newton will be allowed to present his research on the proposed gas station site at next week’s Effingham Planning Board hearing, but he will be at Runnells Hall, and on Zoom, this Thursday night to speak and answer questions.

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Effingham Select Board Defers Action on Meena Issues

Ossipee and Effingham petitioners want to know if their water is safe to drink.

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State Says No to Key Part of Gas Station Plan

Meena LLC cannot use DOT’s abutting property to meet its regulatory requirements for gas station runoff.

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Frustration and Confusion at Effingham Gas Station Hearing

More than 100 people who were prepared to have a discussion see red after public comment is barred and the proceeding is postponed until October.

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EDITORIAL

It’s Time To Say No

Effingham’s Planning Board should deny Meena LLC’s Development of Regional Impact application when it meets on Monday night.

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Meena Digs In Ahead of Monday’s Gas Station Hearing

In a late Friday letter to the Planning Board, the company’s attorney said Ossipee Aquifer expert Dr. Bob Newton should not be allowed to speak, and a petition calling for a more complete independent technical review of the plan “has no bearing on the application.”

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Required buffer for the DOT wetlands is shown in orange. Source: Dr. Robert Newton

Meena’s Use of State Land Questioned

In advance of a special August 22 hearing in Effingham, two State Representatives last week asked the Department of Transportation to deny the use of State property for gas station runoff.

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Screen grab from a video produced in June by the Alliance and Green Mountain Conservation Group shows the proposed gas station location relative to the lake.

Gas Station Opposition Grows as Hearing is Set

“The Ossipee Aquifer can’t move. A gas station can be sited in a different place,” says the head of national non-profit American Groundwater Trust.

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Gas Station Hearing Continued to August 22

An expected outcome at a sparsely attended meeting.

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An 12/21/21 Site Plan Application illustration designed by Jacob and Mark McConkey shows the location of the Public Water Supply Well without specifying the distance between it and the USTs. A recent revision by another designer omits the well.

North Point Report Spotlights Public Well Issue

Gas station opponents say Meena LLC cannot meet the requirements of an important environmental regulation.

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North Point's report said it is "not evident" how Meena's proposed stormwater plan will meet  industry standard "primary treatment" standards. Illustration: Horizons Engineering

Technical Review Finds More Flaws in Gas Station Plan

As some previous issues are addressed, further complications arise.

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New Information Scuttles Effingham Gas Station Hearing

Conservation groups scrambled to spread the word after the Planning Board Chair said members needed time to review an independent professional evaluation of Meena’s newly submitted materials.

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Key Questions As Meena Review Continues

An unresolved waiver request, the need for a Special Use Permit, and a nine-town petition are likely to be on the agenda when the Effingham gas station hearings reconvene on Thursday, July 7.

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Petition Seeks More Detailed Gas Station Review

More than 500 people from nine towns say they want Effingham’s planners to obtain a full, not partial, independent review of the Meena LLC gas station Site Plan Application.

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Video Puts Drinking Water at Center of Lake’s Future

It may not be as visible as our gorgeous surroundings, but clean drinking water is critical to our way of life and our tourism economy. A new video explains.

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Meena Abutters Want Wells Tested

Demands that the company be held accountable are rooted in fear that last year’s illegal excavation might have caused naphthalene and other petroleum contaminants to migrate to the groundwater.

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Judge Upholds Effingham Gas Station Variance

The town’s Planning Board will now determine whether the controversial “Development of Regional Impact” is a threat to the public’s health, safety and welfare.

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Meena Attorney Disputes Key Recommendation of Independent Panel

Meena LLC has a variance to build a gas station but needs a Special Use Permit to operate it, according to Concord-based Northpoint Engineering. Meena’s attorney says that’s “legally incorrect.”

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Ossipee’s Puzzling Position

Ossipee’s endorsement of an Effingham gas station struck some as an outlier decision, but it’s part of a years-long pattern.

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ALS/LIDAR technology graphically illuminates the extent to which the proposed gas stationsite was mined for gravel, making it hyper-vulnerable to contamination. Photo: Robert Newton

Meena To Address Site Plan Issues, Fight Special Use Permit

Effingham’s Planning Board has continued the gas station hearing to July 7 as attorneys for the applicant and abutters debate Northpoint Engineering’s conclusion that a Special Use Permit is required.

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Independent Evaluation Underscores Issues With Gas Station’s Site Plan

Concord-based Northpoint Engineering’s findings are consistent with local assessments that the Meena LLC site plan is insufficient, and that an Environmental Impact Analysis is needed.

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Ossipee Endorses Effingham Gas Station

The surprise decision to support a commercial business in a neighboring town has abutters angry and others wondering why.

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Gas Station Plan Will Receive Third-Party Review

Acting on a recommendation by Lakes Region Planning Commission, Effingham’s Planning Board will have the Meena LLC site plan application vetted by a professional engineering firm before hearings continue.

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Freedom Joins Effingham Gas Station Debate

Citing concerns about water quality, town officials plan to argue the Meena LLC site plan application should not be approved.

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Different Gas Stations, Different Risks

New and improved equipment and DES tank permits are only half of the story. It’s the other half that Effingham officials need to address.

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Tamworth Board Opposes Effingham Gas Station

Exercising their recently-granted abutter status, Tamworth joins a growing number of towns expressing concerns about the proposed development’s environmental impact.

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ALS/LIDAR technology graphically illuminates the extent to which the proposed gas station site was mined for gravel, making it hyper-vulnerable to contamination. Photo: Robert Newton

Effingham Gas Station on Freedom Select Board’s Monday Agenda

Anticipating a crowd, the 7 p.m. meeting will be held at Town Hall.

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Gas Station Impact Spans Ten Towns

Freedom, Ossipee, Tamworth and Madison are among the communities receiving notice that the Effingham gas station proposal is a “Development of Regional Impact.”

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Board: Gas Station Could Have Regional Impact

The Conway Daily Sun’s reporting on last week’s Effingham Planning Board hearing.

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Gas Pumps

Effingham Gas Station Has Potential Regional Impact

Planning Board votes 5-2 to invite neighboring communities and the Lakes Region Planning Commission to help deliberate the controversial development.

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Gas Station Hearing Continues on Thursday

Regional impact and a recusal request are likely to be on the agenda.

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Gas Station Pumps Up Concerns

Attorneys faced-off Friday in an initial court hearing on the proposed gas station on the Effingham-Ossipee border.

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Effingham Gas Station Proposal Prompts Regional Concern

The reaction to Professor Bob Newton’s video shows the public understands towns must look beyond their borders to ensure the protection of their community’s drinking water.

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Gas Station Site Plan Will Move to Hearing Stage

A vote by the Effingham Planning Board to accept the application as complete means public debate will start on February 24.

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ALS/LIDAR technology graphically illuminates the extent to which the proposed gas station site was mined for gravel, making it hyper-vulnerable to contamination. Photo: Robert Newton

“Worst Possible Location” for a Gas Station

Noted geoscientist says pumping gas at the site of a former gravel pit in Effingham could threaten the wells of dozens of Ossipee property owners.

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New Date Set for Gas Station Review

After three postponements, the Effingham Planning Board is scheduled to review Meena LLC’s site plan application on February 3.

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A Resolution Made

Some New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken. Here’s one we plan to keep.

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What’s the Big Deal About the Effingham Gas Station?

It’s a question we hear every day. This is what we think, and why we believe you should be concerned.

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Effingham Board to Review Gas Station Site Plan

Meanwhile, opponents have filed an appeal with State Superior Court.

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Location of proposed gas, center, is on the Ossipee-Effingham border, and adjacent to Phillips Brook (in blue), which empties into Leavitt Bay.

Two Meetings, Two Competing Agendas in Gas Station Application

Two days before Effingham’s Planning Board is scheduled to conduct a site plan review of the proposal to convert Boyle’s Market into a gas station, the ZBA will consider an appeal to reverse its approval of the project and re-hear the application.

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Group Asks Select Board to Intervene in Gas Station Case

Local residents want Effingham’s Select Board to determine whether the ZBA erred when it approved a variance to pump gas at Boyle’s Market.

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Effingham Board Grants Variance for Gas Station

On a 4-1 vote, the ZBA last week granted relief to a Conway businessman for his proposal to pump gas at Boyle’s Market, which is in the Groundwater Protection District.

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Is Protecting Our Drinking Water Still Important?

As Effingham’s ZBA prepares to address that question, we offer our opinion.

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Effingham Gas Station Deliberations Continued to Next Week

Tuesday’s ZBA meeting didn’t produce a decision on the controversial project, but it did answer a number of outstanding questions.

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Effingham Board Hears Objections to Proposed Gas Station

Boyle’s Market on Route 25 closed its gas station six years ago. A new owner wants to start pumping again and has already installed the tanks.

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