Hess won’t confirm parking lot

Community leaders are piling onto the Hess parking lot bandwagon. They want the Hess Corporation to convert a stalled construction site into a parking lot for neighborhood use.

Hess plans to build a new gas station and mini-mart at 3349 E. Tremont Avenue. But for months, Waterbury-LaSalle residents have batted around the idea of a temporary parking lot.

Because the lot will need to be paved post-construction and because the gas station project is in limbo, the site would make sense as a parking lot. Although it is currently boarded up, neighbors still consider the site an eyesore.

“If there is going to be any further delay, they have to be good neighbors and not make us look at boards for months and months,” Mary Jane Musano of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association said. “I would prefer it if it was a parking lot or anything else. It is vacant right now. They might go for the idea of a parking lot because they’ll have to pave over the site anyway [when they build the new gas station].”

Senator Jeff Klein wrote a letter to Hess in January and called 3349 E. Tremont Avenue “a gaping hole in the Waterbury-LaSalle Community.” Klein requested that the site be opened for parking if construction were not to begin soon.

Hess has offered no details on its plans for the site, other than that it intends to build a Hess Express gas station and 2,000 square foot mini-mart at some point in the future.

“We have received [Senator Klein’s] letter and are reviewing it,” Hess spokeswoman Lorrie Hecker said. Hecker offered no further comment.

Hess acquired a lease for the site in late 2007. For many years, the lot hosted a Shell gas station and repair shop. Hess initially planned to build a new gas station and mini-mart in 2008. Apparently, the economic recession has slowed the project.

The Buildings Department has issued permits for the replacement of two 4,000-gallon underground gas storage tanks with a 10,000-gallon tank. The DOB issued demolition permits for the lot in August; demolition work on the Shell gas pump canopy began in September. The canopy was gone by 2010.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or at procchio@cnglocal.com

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