To the editor:
I would like to make the residents of Effingham, Ossipee and Freedom aware of an upcoming town of Effingham Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting on July 20 at 6 p.m. where Meena LLC, represented by Mark and Jacob McConkey, is requesting a variance from Article 22, Section 2207(A)(8) to allow the installation and operation of a gas station in a groundwater protection district. The property is on Route 25 (Effingham Tax Map 401-5) in the Ossipee aquifer primary recharge and well head protection area.
As the Effingham representative of the Green Mountain Conservation Group, which promotes an awareness and appreciation for clean water and the wise use of shared natural resources across the Ossipee watershed, I would encourage concerned citizens to attend this Effingham ZBA meeting where they can express their views regarding this variance.
Effingham adopted a Groundwater Protection Ordinance over 10 years ago. The purpose of the ordinance is to preserve, maintain and protect from contamination existing and potential groundwater supply areas and surface waters that are fed by groundwater.
Gas stations are among a handful of activities recommended by the state as a prohibited use within sensitive drinking water zones given the inherently high risk of contamination from underground tanks, vapor release and surface spillage.
This request does not meet any of the five conditions required for a variance to be granted by the ZBA. If approved, it would allow a use that is expressly prohibited and set a precedence for future prohibited uses in sensitive drinking water protection areas. The best way to safeguard critical drinking water supplies for present and future generations is to prohibit such development in a groundwater protection district.