MONROE, CT — Zoning commissioners approved a special permit application allowing a new gas station and convenience store to open at 126 Main St. The project includes widening a section of Route 25 to add a left turn lane for south bound traffic, and to restrict drivers leaving the business to right turns only.
The nearly one-acre property, once used as an automotive retail distributer, has a dilapidated building, which will be renovated.
“This is an opportunity to widen Route 25 and a benefit with the cleaning up of this property, which is now an eyesore,” said Ryan Condon, secretary of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The commission approved the plan by a vote of 4 to 1 Thursday night, with the lone dissenter being Vice Chairman Bruno Maini, who had expressed concerns over traffic during the hearing.
Prior to the vote, Town Planner Rick Schultz said the developer listened to Commissioner Leon Ambrosey’s concerns over the close proximity of the fuel tank to the gas pumps, which were moved a bit in the plan to make it easier for trucks to get in and out of the site.
“My safety concerns are better now with this, because traffic is going to flow one way,” Ambrosey said of the changes.
Ambrosey also said bollards must be put in to prevent vehicles from crashing into the gas pumps. Schultz told him decorative bollards will be part of the plan.
Joining Condon and Ambrosey in voting yes were Chairman Michael O’Reilly and Robert Westlund.
Ambrosey had also wanted to make sure the drainage system will have stormwater subsurface separators and could handle enough gallons to protect the Pequonnock River in back of the property from runoff with contaminants.
Schultz said Connecticut requires a municipal stormwater permit called an MS4, which ensures all of those issues are being addressed.
He said the plan includes removing asphalt from the back of the property, which is an existing violation. That area will be replaced by natural vegetation.
During the hearing, some residents expressed concerns over traffic on Main Street, especially because the gas station is close to the four-way intersection with Old Newtown and Judd roads.
The intersection includes Duchess, Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins and 196 apartments are planned for the Pond View property across the street from 126 Main St.
The applicant, Haque LLC, will renovate an existing building for the store and six-pump gas station, which will be run by Shiraz Choudhary, principal of Haque LLC.
Choudhary has experience running gas station/convenience stores with locations on Black Rock Turnpike and Brooklawn Parkway in Fairfield, in Bridgeport and Old Saybrook, according to his attorney, William Fitzpatrick, of Russo & Rizio LLC.
Fitzpatrick said the application is only for a gas station and convenience store, adding no auto repairs would be done on the site.
The rendering of a sign for the 4,880-square-foot building says “Swift Fresh Market.” The hours of the business will be from 5 a.m. to midnight.
The building will be renovated with Heritage Cream colored vinyl siding.
During the hearing, Ambrosey, who used to own a gas station in town, said he believed there was not enough room for a truck delivering gas to the station to back up and turn around in the parking lot, with the tank’s close proximity to pump six.
The applicant said gas deliveries will be made after hours, when the station is closed, between midnight and 4 a.m., so no other vehicles will be in the parking lot.
Peter Zelken, president of Mystic Oil Company Inc., wrote two letters to the commission confirming their agreement on delivery hours.
“We have reviewed the site plan and sweep path and are confident that the tankers we use will be able to easily enter and exit the premises,” Zelken wrote in a letter dated Feb. 27.
The building will be served by public water and plans were submitted to the Monroe Health Department to construct a new private, onsite subsurface sewage disposal system.
The health department found the plan is in compliance with Connecticut Public Health codes, and approved it. The department also said a food establishment plan review and food license may be required for the convenience store.
Fitzpatrick said the proposed use of the property at 126 Main St. is in harmony with other uses in the Business-2 Zone, is consistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, will add to the tax rolls and will not discourage other development. He also said it does not add any fiscal burden to the town.
Stephen Santacroce, a professional engineer with Rose Tisio & Co. LLC, said trucks will be able to move well through the site and the dilapidated building will be improved.
He also noted the approval from the Inland Wetlands Commission for the stormwater management plan. Santacroce talked about the soil erosion plan and said there would be “zero light levels” in the wetlands to the rear of the site.
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