Ordinance repeal will allow convenience stores at gas stations

By Adam Swift

Chelsea is joining the modern age when it comes to allowing convenience stores at gas stations.

The city recently amended its zoning ordinances so that gas stations throughout the city may also operate convenience stores. The Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and city’s administration supported the change.

But there was one technical hangup the city council had to clear up before gas stations can start adding on convenience stores in the city.

“Since the change, we have not been able to allow the use of a convenience store or the sale of food at locations selling or (storing) gasoline because the Building Inspector is bound to enforce our ordinances,” stated City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher in a letter to the council. “Section 14-2 of the Chelsea Code of Ordinances specifically prohibits the sale and consumption of food near gasoline. I recommend that section 14-2 of the City Code of Ordinances be repealed.”

The council voted 6-1 in favor of the solicitor’s recommendation.

District 8 Councilor Calvin Brown voted against the change, and councilors Tanairi Garcia, Norieliz DeJesus, Damali Vidot, and Melinda Vega were absent from Monday’s meeting.

Brown said he wanted more information about the ordinance change and said the city has to be careful about opening up to development.

“I just like to be careful, and specifically, I would like to know more about it,” said Brown.

District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero spoke in favor of repealing the ordinance.

“Every place we go, we see gas stations and we see convenience stores all combined,” said Recupero. “I don’t know why we can’t have it if everybody else has it.”

With a limited number of gas stations in the city, Recupero said allowing convenience stores could open up the market allowing for more competition and lower gas prices.

In other business Monday night, City Manager Ned Keefe requested additional funds for the construction of a new city park at 88 Clinton St.

The council moved the request to a second reading at its next meeting, when it will be able to vote on the request.

The city, through the Department of Housing and Community Development, secured a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the National Parks Service for the creation of the new riverfront park on Clinton Street.

“After our most recent round of value engineering on the project, the projected budget remains above what has already been appropriated; due to rising inflation, particularly in the construction sector, we are requesting Council release $225,000 in order to fully cover the costs of the project and ensure the city has an adequate contingency on hand,” stated Keefe.

The proposed source of the funds is free cash appropriated for a PARC grant to renovate Voke Park which is now complete, and for which the funds are held in a required match reserve but may now be released for another park purpose, according to Keefe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *