Traffic Concerns Slow Down Proposed Gas Station Plan

The Hudson Planning Board had a rather lengthy hearing continue on the Central Gas Plan at 77 Central Street. The plan was left unresolved from earlier meetings in December and January. The main issue being discussed is the traffic being created by adding the station to the area.
After nearly three-hours of debate on the plan, the board voted to continue the discussion on May 8.
Peter Madsen, Project Engineer with Keach-Nordstrom Associates, was at the Feb. 28 meeting with Project Attorney, Andy Perlman, and Tony Basso from Keach-Nordstrom.
“With the most recent plan set that was submitted, we have addressed the remaining peer review comments,” said Madsen.
In an early public session, many Hudson residents expressed skepticism whether the town needed another gas station, especially in an area where traffic was already seen as a problem. There were questions from the Planning Board regarding the placement of a winter salt shed, and the position of lighting, all of which Madsen claimed would be resolved in the modified site plan.
“The last point brought up by some of the abutters was regarding contamination and spill prevention for a gas station,” said Madsen. “As far as what we’ve done to address spill prevention, all catch basins are proposed with snout debris and oil-water separators.”
The Planning Board scheduled a site walk for Saturday, March 9, at 9 a.m. to get an idea of what the layout of the gas station would be like in practice.
“Where are things out there?” asked Board member, James Crowley. “I think that’d be good to know.”
“I can picture the land, I can’t really picture the driveways and everything on where the layout is and how everything will flow,” Board member, Victor Oates, added.
They asked Perlman and Madsen to add markers to the area for the walk, showing where things like the driveways and detention pond will be.
“We’re happy to do a site walk, we can stake out a location to whatever you guys want,” promised Madsen.
The board also expressed interest in getting information on how loud a completed station might be, including an analysis of the potential impact on surrounding residential properties.
“In this site plan, they have a drive-thru and a gas station, with a 24/7 operation, I think we’re treading on thin ice here,” said Crowley. “Background noise, we know there’s probably a problem.”
Basso questioned how useful a noise study would be before construction.
“If we put noise sensors all over the property, what is it? If you want us to build a gas station, get it operational to use a noise study, that’s meaningful,” said Basso. “But a noise study can only be meaningful if there’s some real thing to study. I mean, what are we studying? The noise that’s out there right now?”
He raised the possibility of measuring ambient noise and one that would estimate the decibel level at a certain distance to get at least an idea of the situation. Basso promised to talk to a sound engineer, although he emphasized it did not qualify as a formal sound study.
Another request included an environmental impact report in keeping with chapter three of Hudson’s Master Plan. Crowley worried about what a below-grade structure like the underground storage tank might have on groundwater. He asked for field information on the topic.
“It’s just there’s a lot of information that is lacking,” said Crowley.
“You folks aren’t being fair, my client has been before you since August of 2022, this was subject to substantive review time and time again, the application has been submitted conceptually, gone through design review, and a site plan,” said Perlman. “We believe we’re ready for a conditional approval.”
He questioned whether there was a precedent for calling for an environmental study at a late stage. A motion to include such a study was eventually voted down.
The Planning Board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the Buxton Room of Town Hall.

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