Item Coversheet

Town of Arlington, Massachusetts

Article 17
Warrant Article Title:
Warrant Article Text:

To amend the existing bylaw requiring gas station owners to have an attendant pump gasoline to a self service gas station operation without the need for a gas station attendant to do so; or take any action related thereto.

Requested by:

(Inserted at the request of Elias Elkhaouli and ten registered voters)

Report Excerpt:

The Select Board recommends termination of Arlington’s prohibition on self-serve gasoline with interest in Town Meeting’s collective perspective. Arlington is the only community in the area which prohibits self-serve gasoline service (gas stations may continue as full-service under the proposed revision), which poses a variety of challenges for Arlington station operators, including maintaining adequate staffing, providing security for all potential staff, and providing competitive operating hours. The proponent of the article noted that attracting and retaining attendants has been a persistent challenge.

In the past, the primary concerns expressed by Town Meeting were pump operation safety, expansion of the number of pumps (or “service bays”) at gas stations and sufficient access for disabled and elderly customers. With respect to safety concerns, the Board is satisfied that a common sense assessment of the current state of gas pump technology renders stations far safer than they were in 1975 when the prohibition passed. With regard to the number of pumps, gasoline stations on Massachusetts Ave and Broadway typically operate under special permits which limit the number of service bays and place further conditions on operation. Similarly, special permits can provide an avenue for requiring full-service call buttons and setting hours of operations where attendants must be on site to assist customers, which are also generally required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Board believes that modern technology, in which call buttons are standard on many pumps and pump fail-safes prevent prior safety concerns merits reconsideration of this Town policy, which could expand hours of operation for local stations and ease hiring and retention challenges as well.
Vote Language:

VOTED: That Title 5, Article 5 (“Self-Service Gas Dispensing”), be stricken in its entirety and to note its removal so as to read as follows:



This Article Removed




 Section 1. Restriction on Sale

 No filling station shall allow the pumping of gasoline for retail sale by any person other than an authorized attendant employee of said filling station.


 Section 2. Customer Pumping Prohibited

 No attendant at any gasoline station shall permit any non-employee to pump gasoline or engage in any distribution of gasoline within the station.

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