Planning Board Raises Concerns about Proposed Beacham Street Gas Station

Plans for a proposed gas station at 410 Beacham Street failed to gain the support of the Planning Board at its meeting last week.

The board voted unanimously to recommend that the Zoning Board of Appeals not approve the requested special permit and variances for the project when it comes before the ZBA on July 9.

ZBA members cited traffic and flood plain concerns with the project, as well as it being short-sighted for the future vision of the waterfront area.

Representatives for the developer of the 410 Beacham Street site, however, said the location is currently an empty lot in an industrial area, and that the eight dispensers for cars and three high speed diesel dispensers for larger trucks would serve residents and the nearby produce markets.

The plans also call for a convenience store as part of the development.

“Right now, it is just an empty lot and it’s ugly and it’s useless,” said attorney David Mindlin, representing the 410 Beacham St. group. “There are still needs for infrastructure and industrial-support type businesses. They have to go somewhere, and the best place is somewhere like this, where it will be nicely designed and unobtrusive.”

However, several ZBA members noted that building a gas station on the property would hamper further, more desirable development of an area near the waterfront and the commuter rail.

ZBA member Sarah Ritch said building a gas station would only reinforce the image of it being an industrial area and do nothing to unlock the city’s waterfront for development.

“It’s hard to wrap my head around a gas station in this area in 15 years,” said ZBA member Mimi Rancatore. “Chelsea deserves better.”

ZBA member Eric Czernizer agreed that the proposal was shortsighed for the specific property.

“It de-incentivizes development in the area to create housing in the area, which is critical,” he said.

The Planning Board also continued two earlier proposals that were on the agenda last week.

A request for a curb cut at 25 Beacon Place was continued until August so the property owner could revise plans that would address drainage concerns and increase permeable surfaces on the property.

The board continued a request for expansion of a two-family home at 49 Harvard St. to its July 23 meeting. ZBA members were generally receptive to plans to expand the third floor by raising the eaves, but had concerns about an extension of the front of the building cutting down on the frontage of the property.

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