MONROE, CT — A developer envisions a gas station/convenience store with a drive-thru and two tenants in a newly constructed building at 846 Main St. that will not have a significant impact on traffic at the corner of the busy intersection of Route 25 and Pepper Street.
On Thursday night, Joseph Voves, president of Church Hill Classics, which is behind the site, told the Planning and Zoning Commission he believes the applicant for the special exception permit made a “flowery” presentation full of “candy canes and bubble gum.”
“I just foresee this as some pie in the sky dreaming here,” Voves said. “‘Oh your employees will love to get a cup of coffee on the way to work.’ I just see this as a traffic problem at the intersection.”
He also noted how many residents, already frustrated by years of construction on Pepper Street, would have to put up with yet another disruption if the gas station/convenience store is built on the vacant property at the corner of the intersection — near Tollgate Plaza.
Luke Mauro, senior project manager of Solli Engineering, which is representing the applicant, Three D Realty LLC, said they submitted a traffic study to the Connecticut Department of Transportation as part of their analysis.
While there would be queueing during the busiest hours, Mauro said there would be no significant difference in how the intersection at Main (Route 25) and Pepper streets operates.
“We don’t expect much of an impact from traffic,” he said. “This is subject to review from DOT. I’m sure they will go over everything with a fine tooth comb.”
Matt Baldino, assistant project manager with Solli Engineering, pointed out that most drivers stop at a gas station while on their way to another destination. “Usually that traffic is already in the road network. It’s just stopping here,” he said.
The site at 846 Main St. would have driveways from Pepper Street and Route 25.
Leon Ambrosey, a commissioner, asked if drivers could enter and exit from the driveway on Route 25. Baldino said there would be a left and a right turn lane.
“I have concerns about it being both ways, especially since it’s so close to the traffic light,” Ambrosey said.
He also asked about the turn radius for tanker trucks delivering fuel to the gas station. Baldino said that information is included in the engineering report.
Commissioner Robert Westlund asked if the gas station would sell diesel and was told it would. He said traffic backs up at stations with diesel due to the demand, so offering it at a new gas station too would be a plus.
From the front of the 2,844-square-foot building, a tenant with a drive-thru would occupy space on the left and the convenience store would take up space to the right. The hours of the businesses would be 5 a.m. to midnight.
While the two building tenants have yet to be determined, The RoadRunners would operate the gas station with 12 fueling positions. Hussnain Gondal, managing director at The RoadRunners, said the company has gas stations in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
During the public comment period, Voves asked if there should be environmental concerns for his 9.1-acre-property due to its close proximity with the underground fuel tank that is proposed.
Gondal said their gas stations have double wall fiber glass tanks. If gasoline leaks from the first wall, an alarm between that and the second wall goes off, he said, and if the second wall is breached, the owner would know by the end of the day due to daily monitoring.
While he could not say it never happened before, Gondal told the commission these tanks are “considered foolproof” and he is unaware of any spills from this kind of fuel tank over the past 15 years.
Gondal said The RoadRunners follows Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection standards and the site’s stormwater drainage system would include catch basins and a well water separator.
If there was a spill, Ambrosey asked how many gallons the tank holds. Mauro said he did not know, but added there is a shutoff valve, so a spill would not be “gallons and gallons and gallons.”
The applicant is not proposing any outdoor storage on the site.
Nicole Lupo, a commission alternate, asked if there was any thought to having a crosswalk leading to Tollgate Plaza next door. Lupo said she could see girls from the dance school there crossing the street to buy something from the convenience store.
Mauro said allowing a crosswalk would be at the discretion of the DOT, because Route 25 is a state road.
Baldino said his client is currently not proposing sidewalks, but Secretary Ryan Condon said sidewalks may be a good idea with the bike path nearby.
During the hearing, Baldino said there is no wetlands on the property, so only Planning and Zoning Commission approval is needed from the town.
He said his client is willing to have stone-wrapped columns for the canopy over the fueling pumps and is open to town engineering comments being included as conditions of approval.
Rick Schultz, the planning and zoning administrator, recommended that the hearing be continued to June 1, so town staff can talk to the fire marshal, the police department and Voves.
The commission agreed to continue the hearing.
All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.
I don’t recommend this project be allowed. There will definitely be an impact to traffic. It difficult now trying to make a left turn out of Duchess parking lot on main street. This will worsen when the housing units are built across from Duchess and empty their traffic on Main Street. My suggestion is they’re an option to purchase the shuttered convince and fuel station just north a couple of blocks.
Have you seen the southbound traffic flow and backup when employees leaving work from the Danbury and Newtown areas moving through Monroe…it’s the worst. Try and make a left turn out of the new Bakery and Verizon parking lot. Most of the time I find making a right turn and quick left turn into the parking lot at the traffic light turning around and exiting the parking lot to make a right turn to head south on Main St…not a good practice.
You have another convince and station project under review at Main and Pepper. If I need to pick one it would be this one.
Another gas station and convenience store a short distance from two others and that does not include the one planned for the Victoria Drive project. Between the debacle that is the Pond View project and this ill conceived project there would need to be another traffic light on Rt 25. Regardless of the impact, every developer says that their project will have minimal impact on the traffic on Rt 25, and maybe there is some truth to that on a stand alone basis but when you aggregate the traffic impact from all of the current and future projects planned for Rt 25 the overall impact will overwhelm the infrastructure regardless of any “road improvements”. Those of us who use Rt 25 know that the current traffic conditions are already terrible. So, for anyone heading north who wants to by-pass Monroe altogether only needs to take Springhill in Trumbull and then Cutlers Farm Rd all the way to the end to Pepper Street and then take Pepper Street north back out to Rt 25 just short of the Monroe/Newtown line and miss about a half dozen traffic lights and a whole lot of traffic.
Ask the developer to put up a 2 year bond. If there is little to no impact, he gets his money back. If there is the bond should be large enough to make the necessary road improvement to fix the problem.
I don’t feel another gas station is required or a convenience store for that matter. This would make 8 gas stations in Monroe alone!!! Oh, plus one closed because Monroe decided to build one on Main Street directly across from another gas station. Now we have an empty convenience store and gas pumps not far see with a tank in the ground. I just see this developer and our town of Monroe elected officials digging and destroying the beauty of nature in Monroe. As, l said before, stop ✋ enough. ! You need to deal with the traffic flow you have created ..
When will officials say “No” to applicants ? We need a moritorium on # of gas stations, hair salons, spas, & pizza & fast food restaurants, condominiums, just to name a few. Development needs to be carefully managed with foresight and planning. Changes to zoning regs. has only allowed out of control growth that will change the character of Monroe forever. So sad…. feeling hopeless…..
Monroe really doesn’t need another gas station and convenience store, especially on 25. We do need more thoughtful development and perhaps some solutions for the empty properties adjacent to the Monroe Diner, whose owners are just letting the structures deteriorate. The building where Wines Unlimited is located has some material hanging off the roof. Same with the old Taylor Rental building. Would any prospective business look at those locations and think “yeah, that where I want to put my shop”? Those properties are basically contributing to blight in Stepney and should be torn down. Maybe they can be sold to Monroe for a dollar, since God knows no one is ever going to rent them.