Monday June 11, 2012

BECKET -- Undeterred by opposition from some townspeople, two brothers have moved forward with their plan to build what would become the only gas station in Becket.

Michael and Jack Conboy formally filed for a special permit with the town's Planning Board, although it's not clear when their application may be heard, according to board Chairwoman Gale LaBelle.

Since a preliminary discussion at a Planning Board meeting in March, local residents who oppose the proposed gas station and convenience store at Andrews Corner in West Becket have been contacting state agencies and preparing their arguments, according to resident Karen Karlberg. Their concerns range from fears that the business would compound traffic hazard to worries about noise and light pollution as well as the impact on drinking water and nearby wetlands.

"People are very active in the town, trying to let the Planning Board know that they're not happy with this idea," Karlberg said. "The residents of Becket are very worried about it. The residents are the ones who feel that their lifestyle will be impacted."

Michael Conboy has remained steadfast in his resolve that the town could use a place for people to pump gas or pick up a snack.

"We still feel like we have a good idea, and we think it's gaining support," Conboy said. "It's pretty obvious that there is a gas station needed in town."

LaBelle, of the Planning Board, told The Eagle that the board has not yet seen the application to be able to determine if it is complete. The board may also need to have legal consultations before proceeding, she said.

If approved, the gas station would be the only one in Becket, although at one point in the town's history there were as many as nine. The business would be situated nearby the Conboys' Turn-Key Modular Homes, where Route 8 south breaks off from Route 20 in West Becket.

Engineering plans for the gas station are being completed by Kelly, Granger, Parsons and Associates in Great Barrington.