The Board of Selectmen voted 4-1 Monday night in support of the Town Meeting warrant article that would allow self-service gasoline in Arlington for the first time in the town’s history.
“I enthusiastically support this,” Selectman Joseph Curro Jr. said Monday during the article’s hearing.
Once Town Counsel Juliana Rice crafts the exact wording of the article, the board will take a final vote, most likely Monday, March 18, recommending “favorable action” on the article at Town Meeting in late April. Then, it’s up to Arlington’s 252 Town Meeting members to decide whether it passes or fails.
Town Meeting member Carl Wagner, of Precinct 11, submitted the article by petition. On Monday, Wagner, an Arlington native and longtime resident, told the board that he did not know the town had a bylaw banning self-service gasoline until last year.
“I never really thought about it,” he said.
Wagner said the ban is out of date.
Three of Curro’s colleagues also supported Wagner’s article.
“I support this 100 percent,” said board chairman Kevin Greeley, who thanked Wagner for bringing the issue forward.
“We’d be keeping up with the times to a certain extent,” Selectman Steven Byrne added.
Selectman Daniel Dunn also voted in favor of the motion.
Selectman Diane Mahon did not.
“I haven’t heard from a person in my precinct, including business owners, who is in favor of this,” she said of her dissenting vote.
Full-service would still be allowed in town, he noted.
The board considered making full-service a mandatory option at every station in the wording of the article but ultimately decided against it. Wagner said he would be in favor of that measure but thought that it should be instituted in the zoning bylaws, not the town bylaws, along with other specifications.
Curro noted that self-service-only stations are required to accommodate disabled drivers who cannot pump their own gas.
In Massachusetts, Weymouth, Milford and Upton also prohibit self-service gasoline, according to a recent Boston Globe report, while Holbrook and Mendon both recently removed bans, according to Wagner. At the state level, New Jersey and Oregon prohibit self-service.
What do you think? Should self-service gasoline be allowed in Arlington? And would you like to see full-service a mandatory option at every station? Let us know by posting a comment below, or submit a Letter to the Editor.