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McDonald's Plans for New Town Restaurant Still Mired in Court

A lawsuit by neighbors' was dismissed, but their lawyer is seeking a review of that decision in appellate court.

Superior Court Judge Dale Ratcliff recently dismissed an appeal of the Planning & Zoning Commission's approval of a McDonald's at 579 Main Street, but one shouldn't expect to see cars filling the parking lot and lining up at the drive-thru window of a new fast food restaurant any time soon.

Attorney Kevin Gumpper filed a petition for a certification to appeal, which will be reviewed and decided upon by the appellate court — a process that Monroe Town Attorney Jack Fracassini said may take over a month.

On April 2, Judge Ratcliff had dismissed Gumpper's appeal of the P&Z's approval of Real Time Investments LLC's two applications needed for construction of a McDonald's, claiming there was a lack of notice about the hearing and an inaccurate description of the property in the Town Clerk's Office. 

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During the P&Z hearing, Gumpper had represented Lou Berkowitz, owner of Duchess restaurant, which has a location in Monroe. But during the court appeal, he said he is only representing Donna MacKenzie, David W. Santarsiero and Colleen M. Santarsiero, who all own abutting property on Dingley Dell Road.

After reviewing Gumpper's assertion that there was insufficient public notice for the P&Z hearing on Real Time Investments' application for 79 Main Street, Judge Ratcliff determined, "The claim is without merit."

As for the description of the property, Ratcliff wrote, "The plaintiffs further claim that the property description utilized by Real Time is inadequate because it fails to account for 'jogs' in the property line. This argument is equally unavailing."

On March 17, the Planning & Zoning Commission approved Real Time Investments' applications for a zone change on a portion of the four-acre-property from a Residential and Farming District to a Design Business 1 District, as well as a special exception permit and site plan for a McDonald's.

"The decisions of the commission are supported by substantial evidence in the record," Ratcliff wrote in his dismissal of the neighbors' appeal.

Gumpper declined to comment on the decision and would only confirm that he has filed a certification to appeal.

Fracassini, who is representing the Planning & Zoning Commission, said, "I thought Judge Ratcliff's decision was concise. I thought he had a valid basis for his rulings. It upheld the town's position in this matter."

"These people had the right to bring the appeal," he added. "They were aggrieved. The basis of the appeal was not sufficient to overturn substantial evidence supporting what the Planning & Zoning Commission did and the commission had the discretion to modify its own regulations."

Real Time Investments is being represented by Attorney Peter Gelderman, who was unavailable to comment on this story.

jim laguardia May 14, 2012 at 03:17 PM
i am confused is this a different place that the meineke wants to reopen? and speaking of P&Z who on earth gave the ok for the new union building?? when business are told they have to look colonial, or that the siding is the wrong size??
live_here May 14, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Talk to the folks at the Architectural Review Board. From Town records, it was approved a long time ago. It was designed by Antinozzi Associates from Bridgeport.
jim laguardia May 14, 2012 at 03:38 PM
whoever it was, in my eye it is uuuuuuuugly
Steve Kirsch May 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Jim, yes Macdonalds is on the same side of the street, just South of where Meineke will rebuild.
QWERTY May 14, 2012 at 04:42 PM
In others news, a nice new slew of outlets stores, including a new gym, will be going up on 111 in Trumbull...right over the border. Owners and developers probably had an easy time with that project. A new McDonald's shouldn't involve court rooms. Only in Monroe.
jim laguardia May 14, 2012 at 04:45 PM
thanks
Greg Bruno May 14, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Probably designed by the same firm that handled the Bart Center
John hills May 14, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Really a new gym? Do you have any more info? I hope it's a nice one unlike the store front one. If you have any additional info please share! Thanks
John F. May 14, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I had heard that Edge Fitness would be opening in the Home Depot lot where they are building out that development.
QWERTY May 14, 2012 at 06:27 PM
http://trumbull.patch.com/articles/ground-broken-for-new-shopping-center-in-trumbull
John hills May 14, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Thanks!
Annie N May 14, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Not just in Monroe. From the article you posted below , "Last year residents of the nearby Woodland Hills condominium complex reportedly sued Trumbull's Planning & Zoning Commission to overturn its approval of the development." Nobody wants new construction in their backyard.
QWERTY May 14, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I understand that, but we're comparing a stand alone fast foot restaurant to a 45,000 square-foot shopping center.
Christine E. May 14, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Can't wait, so much closer than me having to keep driving to shelton!!
Rob August 09, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Anyone ever notice that when Trumbull allows something to be built it is on the perimeter of the town... as in, almost NOT in Trumbull? It seems that the taxpayers in Monroe have borne most of the impact of the new Home Depot store (and the plethora of other buildings along Rt. 111). Trumbull's approach actually makes a bit more sense than arguing over the "colonial ambience" of a new bank building.
christine August 09, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I hope the gym classes are less crowded than the one in Shelton. You really get what you pay for, I couldn't tolerate shoulder-to-shoulder classes.
Alex August 09, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I understand that new construction can be a pain, but an abandoned building / lot is an eye sore, especially on a main road like 25. The new Diner is literally 200 feet away and I feel like that construction has had a minimum affect on the traffic on 25, how would this be different?

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