Will wetlands sink Costco's gas station plan? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Will wetlands sink Costco's gas station plan?

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COLCHESTER, Vt. -

Costco received an Act 250 permit in January to build a three-island, 12-pump gas station next to its store in Colchester. The land was originally classified as a class III building site, qualifying it for the projected gas station. But Costco's competitors-- including Skip Vallee of Maplefield's-- filed a petition requesting that the land be reclassified as class II, which means building on that land would be a threat to the environment. The petition was granted, creating a roadblock for Costco.

"If we get a petition like this and the wetland is functional for flood storage, which floods have been a big issue in Vermont water quality, the petition may be granted and that was our preliminary decision in this case," said Jon Groveman of the Vt. Agency of Natural Resources.

Skip Vallee's original concerns were the effects a big corporation like Costco would have on local businesses. That focus has now shifted to the effects a gas station would have on the wetland.

"Nobody should be allowed to build too close to a wetland and that's really what environmental protection is all about," said Jon Anderson, the lawyer fighting Costco.

But Costco's attorney says the corporation is now working to meet the new requirements to build on the wetland.

"We're not going to contest the reclassification, we are going to work with the Agency of Natural Resources in terms of allowing the project to go forward," said Mark Hall, the attorney for Costco.

There will a public meeting where citizens can share their opinions on the proposed gas station. Maplefield's attorney says they will bring experts to thwart Costco's plans.

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