Costco opens gas station in Colchester while competitor’s attorney says it lacks permits

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Correction: Maplefields was selling gas at $1.79 per gallon as of Tuesday afternoon. This article has been updated.

Costco began selling gas on Tuesday after years of legal delays battling Maplefields owner Skip Vallee. Maplefields has a gas station close to Costco in Colchester.

Vallee’s attorney, A.J. LaRosa, issued a statement Tuesday saying Costco had opened its gas station without the necessary permits from the Town of Colchester or the Environmental Division of Vermont Superior Court, commonly called the environmental court. LaRosa called for the court to stop Costco from selling gas.

“To get its Colchester permits approved, Costco stood before the Environmental Court and promised that it would not sell gas until necessary safety improvements were made to Lower Mountain View Drive,” the statement said. “Costco is now thumbing its nose at safe traffic and its promise.”

Burlington attorney Mark Hall, who represents Costco, said Tuesday the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Costco confirmed Tuesday the gas station is open for limited hours, according to employee Brenda McGrath. The station is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday the station is open 7-10 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. On Sunday, the station is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

McGrath said the hours are designed to avoid traffic problems. LaRosa, however, said in his statement that the “current traffic mess,” is a direct result of Costco’s “arrogance.” He accused the company of “using its COVID profits to subsidize a below cost gas price.”

WCAX-TV first reported the Costco gas station was open. 

Costco was offering gas at $1.59 per gallon Tuesday. The nearby Maplefields displayed a price of $1.79 that afternoon, during the period when Costco’s station was closed.

“Costco is operating in violation of its promise to the Court without getting a valid local permit even though it applied for one at next month’s Colchester DRB hearing,” LaRosa said in his statement.

Costco is scheduled to appear before Colchester’s Development Review Board on June 10.

Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or ddambrosio@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Sign up today for a digital subscription. 

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