WOBURN - The City Council this week granted an Andover-based company permission to renovate and expand a Washington Street gas station to make room for East Woburn's second 7-Eleven convenience store.
In an unanimous vote during a regularly scheduled meeting in City Hall, the aldermen on Tuesday night issued a special permit to Petrogas Group, LLC, which intends to add a 720 square foot addition towards the rear of the half-acre BP Station property by the busy intersection of Washington and Cedar Streets.
The petroleum station already includes a small store that shares space with a Dunkin' Donuts. Per the proposal, once the building addition is finished, the Dunkin' Donuts enterprise will be shuttered and replaced by a 7-Eleven, which will operate the entire retail sales operation.
The petitioner is also being allowed by the City Council to extend its hours of operation at the businesses. Though initially apprehensive about that particular change, the aldermen allowed Petrogas New Englands' request to stay open longer after discovering a number of competing gas stations have been allowed to do the same.
The gas station and retail store, which presently closes at 10 p.m., can make sales until midnight on Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, per this week's council vote, the BP Station can stay open until 1 a.m. The business will also start its day at 5 a.m., exactly one hour earlier than currently allowed under its original special permit.
The Washington Street convenience store, to be situated fewer than 1.5 miles away from another 7-Eleven in East Woburn along Montvale Avenue, will become the chain's third franchise in Woburn.
According to Worcester attorney Joshua Lee Smith, representing the Andover company, his client is making a significant investment in the property, which straddles the Cedar and Salem Street line that splits the residential and commercial sides of Washington Street.
Besides erecting the small addition, his client intends to make a host of exterior alterations to the main building, which Smith contends will be more aesthetically pleasing.
"Four [parking] spaces are being removed to accommodate the rear addition, but otherwise the canopy is remaining, the drive-aisles are remaining, and there will be just a small modification to the curb-cut," added Lee.
Though the aldermen had little to say about the special permit petition this week, city officials have shaped the project extensively since it was first introduced in Dec. of 2017.
Initially, Petrogas Group New England also sought permission to erect a non-compliant sign, which would stand 25-feet tall and include displays that far exceeded Woburn's square footage restrictions, directly by the intersection of Cedar and Washington Streets.
However, after the ZBA and other city leaders balked at that variance request last December, Smith agreed to withdraw the application.
During a subsequent council meeting in the beginning of January for the special permit, Ward 5 Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen, whose district includes the property, questioned whether the expansion on an already congested site would cause traffic issues by the busy intersection.
City Council President Richard Haggerty also urged the applicant to incorporate more landscaping along the perimeters of the property into the proposal.
Late last month, the council's Special Permits Committee forwarded the petition back for action after Woburn Police Sgt. Raymond Mooney, the city's traffic bureau head, agreed the changes to the business would not cause any major traffic disruptions along Washington or Cedar Streets.
Project engineer Huseyin Sevincgil, of MHF Design, also submitted a much more robust landscaping plan, which was comprehensively reviewed in planting-by-planting detail by Special Permits Committee members.