Gulf Services Inc. Proposed Special Permit Denied

ZBA Chair John Love convened the meeting.

The ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals) held a public hearing (remotely) Wednesday November 18th to decide the fate of a request for a Special Permit by Gulf Services Inc. to operate a gas/service station at 799 Washington Street in the center of downtown.

The old Gulf station at the corner of Washington and Green Streets.

The property which has been vacant for many years formerly served as a service station and prior to that also had gas for sale.

The board discussed numerous items with the attorney representing Gulf Services Inc. including traffic, roof lines, parking, and the shed to the rear of the building which more recently has housed vagrants.

The shed behind the vacant station.

The Special Permit with conditions would have allowed the site to once again be utilized as a gas/service station.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed new facility as presented by the Gulf Services, Inc attorney seen in the upper right corner of this image.

ZBA member Mark Bush seemed to sum up the feeling of the board. He stated he was very pro-development and business. “We’ve got enough gas stations and sure as hell enough service stations and used car lots”. Bush went on to say, “the village has struggled for and identity for decades” and he felt the site could find a better use.

Board member Jay Peabody voted to approve the Special Permit while the remainder of the board cast nay votes.

Chairman John Love thanked Gulf Services for their time and efforts. The Gulf representative said it’s a tough site, and clearly not made to succeed from the beginning.

The entire hearing can be seen here:

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Bobby Blair


  1. Nancy Karis on November 25, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Thorough coverage. No need to sit thru
    entire hearing. Thanks, Mayor!

  2. Bruce Baldwin on November 25, 2020 at 10:18 am

    Since when is competition a bad thing? From what I read from this report there is nothing that could not be overcome. Mostly what would apply to Gulf must also impact Mobil next door. How many gas stations are there in town? 4? Would one more be so bad?

    • Ted Lansdale on November 25, 2020 at 11:19 pm

      Completely agree with you. Since when is it the government’s job to pick corporate winners? Who’d wager that this lot will remain a brownfield for at least the next five years? If someone wants to risk their capital to develop an eyesore that’s stood vacant for years, we should let them. How many years will it be before we create a commission to study taking over the property after its underground tanks have started leaking, the owners have vanished, the corporate entity is insolvent, and the taxes have gone unpaid?

  3. Norma Kittredge on November 25, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Not a Holliston resident anymore, but I did notice the last time I visited that the downtown area had plenty of traffic turning and entering already. One must really pay attention to the lights, crosswalks, side streets etc. This was most definitely a good decision.

  4. Tina Hein on November 25, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    The Zoning Board was thorough and detailed in their deliberation before this vote. One can disagree or agree with the decision but either way the ZBA did their job, and well! All these meetings are open and public comment is welcome…everyone who took the time to attend and speak up (for or against) was heard.

    Tina Hein
    Vice Chair, Select Board

  5. Mike Congdon on November 25, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    So, I’m glad it won’t be another gas station although the outrageously priced Mobil could use some competition perspective. But now what? Who owns it (Gulf Services?) and who gets to pay for removing the tanks and the environmental protection expenses involved with another use? Will it now just sit again because they can’t turn it into a station? Will nobody buy it because of the expense to convert it?

    • Mary Greendale on November 27, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      There are no gas tanks. The owner let the gas permit lapse five years ago. The tanks came out in 2012. This is a private owner. He has the option to operate the repair garage, which apparently is where gas stations make their profits, not on gas. Maybe that’s the problem for a station like Mobil, which does not do repairs. Could account for their prices. ??

  6. John Adams on November 25, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    Yes it would be.

  7. Joseph Phillips on November 26, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Sure, let’s have this eye sore of a property sit there vacant for more years to come. We have an interested business willing to fix the place, turn it into a useful enterprise performing a needed service but Holliston board is worried about too many car lots, gas stations, and the image. Let’s say Gulf was an adult entertainment club – I get it thumbs down but a gas station? Why would anyone want to take on the substantial investment to convert the place into a going concern beyond a service station? To the leaders of Holliston, hoping for a “better” business is not a plan and keeping a dilapidated structure with underground environmental risk is not a draw for additional going concerns to come over. In the meantime at least the willing vagrants can find shelter from the elements.

  8. Marco Estevam on November 26, 2020 at 9:56 am

    I live 1 mile from the Mobil station. I will never get gas here when it’s 50-70 cents more than Phillips towards Milford and not to mention the many more on my to work. Mobil is a joke. Most towns have gas stations within close proximity and do well. Open up the gas station, create more business, jobs and taxes for the town and especially get rid of the eyesore in our beautiful town center. While you’re at it, fine Mobil for their price gouging which is defined as prices 15% higher or more than the town average. I appreciate all who took the time to read my opinion.

  9. Wendy Bruno on November 29, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Just thinking that the building on the property and the area it’s on is really not big enough to do too much more with… not really able to park too many cars on there to have a store like business. A gas station that works would be better than the empty building eyesore that is there now . Otherwise knock it down, clean up the lot, and make it a parking lot….and use the part closest to the building a handicap entrance ramp and sidewalk are to make the Superette building more handicap friendly and accessible. We could use places to park down town to access more local businesses. I also never use Mobil- too high prices. Bet when Gulf was there the prices were more competitive.

  10. David Dubin on July 31, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    Who is the owner of this building?