After a decade of court challenges, Costco in Colchester opened its gas pumps Tuesday, and drivers said they were happy to finally see some the competition.
Costco’s posted price Tuesday was $1.59 a gallon. The Maplefield’s on Route 7, owned by R.L. Vallee, also posted a lower price.
“The prices are really good,” Sara Lestage from Colchester says. “I see up the road he has already dropped his prices down. So I am excited that Costco is doing this.”
Costco presented its plan to add gas pumps to its Colchester store ten years ago, but it has been challenged in court by R.L. “Skip” Vallee, owner of Maplefield; Timberlake Associates LLP; and the Conservation Law Foundation over its impact on a nearby stream. The pumps were installed in 2017, but were never used.
According to the town of Colchester, Costco received its final certificate of occupancy last Thursday. Costco was told it couldn’t open for gas until completion of an $8 million VTrans project off Interstate 89’s Exit 16. But under a revised agreement with the state, Costco can operate the station with limited hours until the project is finished.
In a statement Tuesday, Vallee said: “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 development review board hearing.”
But for now, drivers like Jason Soter from Fairfax were happy to see the lower prices.
“It is very nice to see not as much taken out of my pocket as the other place,” he said.