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City Approves Visual Overhaul for Old Town Gas Stations

A few months after telling a pair of local companies to pump the brakes on plans to renovate three Washington Street gas stations, the Board of Architectural Review has approved changes to the facades.

The stations in question are the Shell station at 801 N. Washington Street and a pair of Exxon stations at 703 N. Washington Street and 501 S. Washington Street. There are assorted changes with the stations themselves, but the biggest changes for anyone driving down Washington Street will be the price signs that currently are manually set will be replaced by LED signs that can update as prices change.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20, the BAR unanimously approved the visual overhauls for the three gas stations on Washington Street.

The companies that own the stations had pushed for bigger and more visible signage at a June 5 BAR meeting, but after discussions with staff, the applicants came back with scaled-down plans.

“Fortunately I was in Italy, but I hear things did not go well,” said David Houston, a lawyer representing applicants NOVA Petroleum Realty and Mount Vernon Petroleum Realty, about the June meeting.

The large, plastic Shell sign will be replaced by a smaller 4’x4′ sign with LED lighting on a brick pedestal. The current 14 and 17-foot signs at the Exxon stations will also be replaced by smaller LED-lit signs.

The Exxon stations will continue to have the company logo prominently displayed, but in response to criticism from staff, other parts of the signage was scaled back. The applicants had also originally requested that the sign be illuminated by external lighting, but later adhered to the BAR request that the signs be illuminated only from the LEDs in the sign.

“I want to thank the applicant for coming back and fully integrating all of the comments,” said Christine Roberts, a BAR member. “They managed to come back and make it 100 times better than what it was.”

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